• Dr Peter Chew

Gonorrhea and infertility

Updated: Nov 12, 2018

My previous boyfriend infected me with gonorrhoea for which I have been treated. I am now married and have been trying to have a baby without success. Could the cause of infertility be due to gonorrhoea?

A. Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STD) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It can cause infections in the genitals, anus, and throat through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It is a very common infection and can affect both men and women.

While some men may not have any symptoms, many may complain of:

· Burning sensation while urinating;

· White, yellow, or green discharge from the penis;

· Painful or swollen testicles occasionally

Most women have no symptoms but some may have:

· Painful or burning sensation while urinating;

· Copious yellowish vaginal discharge;

· Lower abdominal discomfort or pain;

· Bleeding between menstrual periods

· Fever

Anal infections may cause symptoms in both men and women . They include:

· Discharge;

· Anal itching;

· Soreness;

· Bleeding;

· Painful bowel movements.

Whether or not you can get pregnant after contracting gonorrhea depends on how well you have been treated. Usually, antibiotics can eradicate the disease quite successfully. But if the bacteria is resistant to the antibiotics or if left untreated, the infection can travel up the genital tract and cause inflammation in and around the fallopian tubes forming scars. This leads to blockage of the tubes preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg. It is this condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that may cause infertility. Another complication that may arise from PID is that the scarred fallopian tube can also prevent the fertilised egg from entering the womb. This may result in an ectopic pregnancy which is non-viable and can cause massive internal bleeding when the tube ruptures. Though you have been treated, your husband should also be assessed and treated if necessary to prevent reinfection.

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