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What Are the Complications from Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). More than 800,000 new cases occur each year, but fewer than 600,000 get reported. Complications from gonorrhea include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes or uterus
  • Internal abscesses
  • Ongoing pelvic pain
  • Scar tissue buildup in the fallopian tubes
  • Fallopian tube damage that can result in infertility or higher risk of ectopic pregnancy (when an embryo attaches itself outside the uterus, rather than within)

Discuss with your medical provider whether you should get tested for this STI and others, especially if you have a new sex partner or are unsure of a partner’s STI status. Untreated, gonorrhea can cause lasting health issues and can increase your risk of getting HIV if exposed.

Gonorrhea Complications With Pregnancy

Women who have gonorrhea might pass the infection on to their babies during childbirth. The newborn can come in contact with the infection as it passes through the birth canal. If infected, babies can develop complications such as:

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  • Blood infection
  • Joint infection
  • Blindness

Your healthcare provider might suggest getting tested for STIs such as gonorrhea early in pregnancy. If the results come back positive, you can get the treatment you need to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to your infant during birth.

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