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Complications of gonorrhoea

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Complications of gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea which is also known as "the clap" or "the drip" is the oldest known STI. It is a bacterial infection that is transmitted from an infected person to another through any type of unprotected intercourse. On exposure to gonococcus, the signs and symptoms or clinical manifestations of the infection begins to appear between 2 to 10 days after first exposure.

Causes
Gonorrhoea is an infection caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea or Neisseria gonococcus as it is popularly called. This gonococcus bacterium infect and damages the moist mucous membranes of the genital tracts, rectum, throat, and the eyes of both men and women. Gonorrhoea is the second most common or rampant STIs.  In most persons, gonococcal infection does not present any noticeable signs and symptoms or clinical manifestations. This therefore increases the risk of spreading the Infection.

Complications of gonorrhoea

Complications are diseases or medical conditions which may have aroused during or in the course of or as a consequence of another disease. Therefore, complications of gonorrhoeal infection is a conditions that may have risen and/ or coexisted with a prolonged contraction of gonorrhoea infection. Generally, women are at greater risk of long-term complications from an untreated gonorrhoeal infection when compared with men. Some of the gonorrhoea specific complications are;

Infertility in women
If a gonorrhoeal infection is left untreated, the gonococcal infection can spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. Here, it could form scars which may lead to the narrowing and eventually blocking of the tubes. In women, this can cause infertility since the occluded tubes will prevent the ovum (egg) from entering the tubes proper during ovulation, or it may prevent the sperm from fertilizing (coming into contact with) the egg thereby causing infertility. Note: should there be fertilization by some miracle, the narrowed or scared tubes might prevent the fertilized egg or ovum (zygote)  from migrating to the uterus thereby implanting itself in the soft tissues on the walls of the fallopian tube, hence causing ectopic pregnancy.

Infertility (sterility) in men
A prolonged and untreated gonorrhoeal infection can also cause infertility or sterility in men. The untreated gonorrhoeal infection can spread to the testicles thereby causing inflammation and scarring, and forming abscess within the epididymis. The scar formed may sometimes occlude or block the sperm ducts, therefore preventing the passage of spermatozoa during ejaculation. Hence causing infertility or sterility in men.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
If a gonorrhoea infection is left untreated, it can spread from the female genital tracts to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can lead to a medical complication called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is estimated to occur in about 10 to 20% of all untreated gonorrhoea cases. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a disease or an infection which basically affects any part of the reproductive system in a woman's lower abdomen. It is normally called pelvic infection. Prolonged infection of gonorrhoea, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The gonococcus bacterium which causes PID often migrates from the infected female genitals through the cervix to the uterus and eventually the fallopian tubes and ovaries. If such infection or disease is left untreated, it will scar, narrowe, damages and occlude the tubes. This will eventually cause severe pain. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) present such signs and symptoms as;
  • pain in the lower  abdomen,
  • illness/ malaise,
  • high fever,
  • odorous discharge,
  • pain and bleeding during or after pareunia, etc.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can cause miscarriage, Pre-term labour, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, etc. It also causes kids to be born with conjunctivitis (ophthalmia neonatorum), that is, inflammation of the eyes.

Blindness in newborn babies
If a gonorrhoea infection is left untreated by a pregnant woman, there is a possibility for the infected mother to pass the gonorrhoeal infection to her child during childbirth. At such unborn children and infant are at risk of developing medical complications. Some women for whatever reasons do not present any clinical manifestations or signs and symptoms for the gonorrhoeal infection, and thereby go about untreated. For some, these infections lingers for a long time and often lead to complications. If a woman has been infected with such condition as gonorrhoea and she leaves such infection untreated for a long time. The infection may be passed to her baby during childbirth. As the baby passes through the cervix and birth canal, the infectious organism (Neisseria gonococcus) may enter the child's eyes and cause blindness of the newborn, it can also lead to infection and soreness of the scalp and eyes. However, this can be prevented so avoid this complication and see your doctor.

Ectopic pregnancy
This is an abnormal medical condition in pregnancy where the fertilized ovum or the zygote is implanted in the soft tissues outside the walls of the uterus. This mainly happens on the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is a major complication of most veneral diseases, including gonorrhoea. When veneral disease such as gonorrhoea is left untreated after exposure, it can lead to complications. This prolonged contracted coital infection; gonorrhoeal infection causes scaring and abscess on the tubes, thereby narrowing or even occluding the tubes which prevents the zygote from passing to the uterus. As a result, the zygote Implants itself in the tissues of the tubes (ectopic pregnancy) causing pain and even death.

Below are more common complications that can arise as a result of prolonged gonorrhoea infection;
  • Scared and narrowed urethra,
  • Inflammation of the prostrate,
  • Testicular or scrotal pain,
  • Miscarriage,
  • Chronic pelvic pain,
  • Inflammation of the bladder,
  • Joint pain (arthritis),
  • Increased risk of contracting HIV/ AIDS,
  • Heart infection (endocarditis),
  • Inflammation of the brain lining (meningitis),
  • Epididymitis,
  • Inflammation of the seminal vesicles (vesiculitus),
  • Abscess in the ovaries,
  • Endometritis,
  • Skin infection (cellulitis),
  • Pre-term labour,
  • Conjunctivitis,
  • Inflammation of joints and tendons, etc.


Prevention

Gonorrhoeal infection can be prevented by:
  1. Abstinence, abstaining totally or completely from any form of pareunia activities is the best and safest way to preventing gonorrhoeal infection.
  2. Use of protection properly and consistently will help to reduce and/ or prevent gonorrhoeal infection.
  3. Maintaining a single partner who is not infected is one of the safest prevention method of gonorrhoeal infection. Each time you have a new partner, you are exposed and you put your partner(s) at risk.
  4. If you and/ or your partner(s) are/ is experiencing an unusual symptoms, get tested. And if already infected, avoid (stop) coition until treatment is complete for you and your partner(s).
  5. Have your partner(s) tested, always endeavour to find out whether your partner(s) has been tested for STIs, basically gonorrhoea. If not, ask if he/ she would be willing to get tested and encourage such person(s) to go for Screening before having sex.


See a Doctor

Are you experiencing any or some of the Signs and/ or symptoms for gonorrhoea complications stated above?, then it is time to see a doctor. Are you having lower abdominal pain? Feeling pain or burning sensation during urination? Are you having Odorous discharge? Are you experiencing tiredness? Are you experiencing bleeding during or after pareunia? having any sores around your genitals? Are you experiencing an unusually heavy Menstrual flow? are you feeling malaise, intense itching and irritation around your genitals or feeling this general body weakness for reasons you can not possibly explain. Make an appointment with your doctor get yourself checked, tested and treated. It is time to get well and enjoy a happy and healthy.





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