Even when gonorrhea causes no initial symptoms, an untreated infection can lead to complications in both men and women. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about the potential complications of gonorrhea?
Definitely, Dr. Mayzik. In women, gonorrhea can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes, causing a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. PID can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system, which can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy.
In men, an untreated infection can spread to the epididymis and the prostate. In some cases, epididymitis, or inflammation of the epididymis, can cause infertility. Prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, can cause problems with urination.
In both men and women, untreated gonorrhea can spread to the blood and cause a life-threatening condition called disseminated gonococcal infection, or DGI. DGI can cause arthritis, multiple skin lesions, and tenosynovitis, which is painful inflammation of tendons and tendon sheaths. The condition may become life-threatening if the infection spreads to the inner lining of the heart or the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges.