Like many STDs, if gonorrhea is left untreated it can cause irreversible damage. Though the infection itself can be cured typically with antibiotics, any damage that has been done to the reproductive tract up to that point cannot usually be reversed and for many this can result in fertility problems.
If gonorrhea is not treated right away, a pregnant woman can pass the infection on to her child during delivery, as the baby must pass through the infected birth canal. This can lead to blindness, joint infection or a blood infection that can be life-threatening.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Though there are a variety of factors that can lead to PID in women, one of the leading causes is gonorrhea. In fact, one million women each year in the United States develop PID. According to CureResearch.com an estimated 10-40% of all untreated gonorrhea cases in women result in PID. Infertility, fallopian tube damage and ectopic pregnancy are just a few conditions associated with the disease.
Increased Risk of HIV
Those infected with gonorrhea are more likely to contract HIV.
In both men and women, the damage caused to the reproductive organs can be so severe that infertility may result.
Epidiymitis is a painful condition in men affecting the ducts attached to the testicles. This too may result in infertility.
Spreading to the joints and blood
When the infection spreads to the joints and blood supply in the body, gonorrhea becomes a life-threatening condition. While this is not terribly common, it is still a potential complication associated with gonorrhea.