Like many STIs, gonorrhoea can cause serious fertility and pregnancy complications if it’s left untreated. The infection can be passed on to your baby and pose a risk to their health, too.
If you’re pregnant, or trying for a baby, it’s a good idea to get tested for STIs, including gonorrhoea. If you notice symptoms, or you believe you might be at risk, it’s vital to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Our doctors can arrange the appropriate tests for you as soon as possible and help you get fast, effective treatment.
How can gonorrhoea affect your chances of getting pregnant?
Pelvic inflammatory disorder
When it’s left untreated, gonorrhoea can spread to other parts of your body. In between 10-20% of cases, untreated gonorrhea leads to a condition known as pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID).
This can have very serious consequences. The infection causes scarring of your fallopian tubes, which can make it more difficult to conceive. In fact, 10% of PID cases result in infertility.
The symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disorder include:
- Severe pelvic pain
- Discomfort during or after sex
- A burning sensation when you urinate
- Bleeding during or after sex
- Bleeding outside your normal menstrual cycle.
Pelvic inflammatory disorder can also increase your risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This is what happens when a fertilised egg becomes embedded outside the womb, often in the fallopian tubes. Unfortunately, the egg can’t develop outside the womb, so the pregnancy will be lost.
It’s not always obvious that you’re experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. They don’t always cause symptoms, but if they do, you can usually tell between four and 12 weeks after the egg has been fertilised.
- The usual signs of pregnancy, such as a missed period
- Pain in one half of your stomach
- Pain or discomfort when going to the toilet
- Vaginal bleeding
- Discharge from your vagina
- Shoulder pain
It’s very important that an ectopic pregnancy is treated straight away. If it’s not treated, in some cases it can result in a ruptured fallopian tube, which will require emergency surgery.
Fertility issues in men with gonorrhea
Gonorrhea can cause fertility issues in men, too. The infection can spread to the prostate and testicles, which can be quite painful. In a small number of cases, it might also lead to fertility issues as well.
How can gonorrhoea affect your baby
Gonorrhoea can be passed to your baby during birth and cause major health complications. In particular, they may contract conjunctivitis that, even with prompt treatment, can lead to blindness in serious cases.
Gonorrhoea also increases your chances of a premature birth, or a low birth weight. Premature babies have an increased risk of certain health issues, such as breathing problems, low blood sugar and difficulty feeding. They’re also more likely to pick up an infection.
Meanwhile, low birth weight increases the chance of your child being obese in later life, or suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes.
If you have gonorrhoea during your pregnancy, it can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Gonorrhea treatment during pregnancy
Our doctors can prescribe a form of treatment that’s safe for you and your baby during your pregnancy. This can be different from the usual treatment for gonorrhea, but it will be just as effective at getting rid of the infection.
If it’s caught and treated early, your gonorrhea infection should clear up within a couple of weeks and pose no risk to your baby.