What happens when gonorrhea is left untreated?

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Sex is good and pleasurable only when it is safely performed and engaged in. There are many unintended negative consequences of an unsafe sex which is usually referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs).

One of the common sexually transmitted diseases is Gonorrhea which is mostly caused by a bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The major parts of the body that are affected by this infection are the urethra, rectum, throat and the cervix.

Both male and female can be infected once in contact with the bacteria. However, it occurs mostly in women with the tendency that pregnant women may transmit these bacteria to their newborns in the process of delivery. Gonorrhea infections in babies typically affect their eyes.

It is an untreated gonorrhea which founds its way into the blood stream and other parts of the body that lead to a serious medical condition known as systemic gonococcal infection.


The symptoms are not easily seen or noticeable in many cases. Generally, here are the common symptoms: painful urination, thick penile discharge, profusing vaginal discharge, inflammed tesicles, intermittent menstrual periods spots, itching in the anus, painful bowel movements.
Other complicated symptoms especially which arise following untreated gonorrhea include: fever or chills, joint pains, inflammation in the joints, wrists or heels tendons pain, skin rash with pink filled with pus.



The main cause of gonorrhea is a bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae which is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. It takes about two weeks of being infected with gonorrhea. Tissues in the body become damaged the moment the bacteria found its way into the bloodstream.

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Risk factors for Gonorrhea

People who engage in unprotected sex, those with multiple sex partners, those who engage sexual business (sex work) and men and women in the mid 20s are highly susceptible to having the infection.


The diagnosis is mostly done using blood, skin lesion, fluid from the joints, throat, anus, cervix and urethra samples. These samples are examined and analyzed in the laboratory to check for the presence of bacteria. Chlamydia test can also be used in diagnosing the infection. It takes approximately 24 hours for the result to be ready.
Possible Complications

Prompt treatment must be received the moment you have gonorrhea to prevent severe complications to your health. Untreated gonorrhea transmits easily to the blood stream and other parts of the body leading to serious and irreversible complications. Some of the possible complications are:
Gonococcal arthritis- rashes and inflammation of the joints
Gonococcal endocarditis-damage of the inner lining of the heart muscle
Gonococcal meningitis- infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord
Infertility- if the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes and uterus in women and lead to epididymitis
Increased the risk of getting and spreading HIV
Blindness and scalp sores in babies.



Medication in the form of antibiotics given intravenously rather than orally has been the main treatment for gonorrhea. This treatment must be used by both sexual partners if one partner has been infected, this will prevent the other partner from contacting the infection.
The identification of the causes of the infection is another way of treating gonorrhea.

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Prevention is generally said to be better than cure. While abstinence from sex remains the major way to preventing this infection. However, for sexually active people, protected sex with the use of condom, limiting sexual partners to one and ensuring he/she is not infected and ensuring that your sexual partners receive effective treatment once infected before engaging in sex.

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