What is Gonorrhoea?
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What does Gonorrhoea do to you?

Women | Men


In approximately 10-20% of women the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes. Inflammation of the tubes, called “salpingitis” often becomes apparent after the first menstrual period following infection, and may be accompanied by lower abdominal pain of varying severity. Salpingitis is a form of PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease).(1)

Women who have had PID need to be especially careful not to come in contact with gonorrhoea (gonorrhea) as the risk of infertility increases greatly with renewed inflammation. (2)

Female STD diagram
female STD Diagram

What is PID?

PID presents itself as inflammation of the fallopian tubes. In the worst cases the tubes can become blocked through scarring. (3)

Symptoms of PID

  • Longer and/or heavier periods;
  • More cramping during periods;
  • Abnormal mucus discharge;
  • Pain in lower abdomen;
  • Tiredness, weakness;
  • Fever;
  • Vomiting;
  • Pain during vaginal intercourse; and
  • Pain during pelvic exam. (4)

What does PID do to you?

PID can lead to infertility. Many people who develop PID from gonorrhoea do not experience any symptoms of gonorrhoea before PID developed.

  • 20% of those with PID may become infertile
  • 10% may of those suffering PID have an ectopic pregnancy (5)

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilised egg (ovum) lodges in the fallopian tube and is unable to reach the uterus (where it should be for the baby to grow). PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes as can other tubal infections or tubal surgery.

Ectopic pregnancies cannot go full term. Thus, the removal of developing cells is necessary to save the life of the mother. (6)


Gonorrhoea can also cause infertility in men. Inflammation of the epididymis (the thin tube leading from the testes to the vas deferens where the sperm mature – see anatomy diagram) may develop causing it to become painful and swollen. This can lead to infertility if left untreated. (7)

Male STD Diagram
Male STD Diagram

Men and Women

In about 1% of gonorrhoea cases, the infection enters the blood stream and causes fever, chills, loss of appetite, blisters on the skin or arthritis in the joints – usually the hands. (8)

It can also infect other internal organs (9) including the heart (10).

Foot Notes:
1. Femail.com.au
2. As Above
3. STD Handbook
4. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc
5. Victorian Government Health Information
6. Medline Plus Health Information
7. Family Planning WA
8. Healthy S.A: Department of Human Services South Australia
9. New South Wales Health Department
10. Healthy S.A: Department of Human Services South Australia

*Gonorrhoea - Also spelt Gonorrhea

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