As far as STDs go, gonorrhea is probably one of the least devastating of the lot. A trip to the doctor, a short round of antibiotics, and some awkward conversations with your partner(s) are the biggest concerns as people don't usually die from gonorrhea. However, around one percent of people who do contract this disease end up with symptoms that can quickly become life threatening - and the results aren't pretty. If you are easily grossed out, be warned, some of the content in this article is graphic.
Death from gonorrhea generally only happens when someone who has it doesn't seek medical treatment. And, considering that the majority of people who get this disease are highly symptomatic, it's not as if they don't know they have it. Sure, there's a stigma attached to it and it's sometimes hard to admit when something is wrong, but if you suspect you have it, go get help while you still can.
So, if you're still wondering if you can die from gonorrhea, rest assured that you definitely can. The decline is slow and messy, and by the end of this article, you'll probably be thinking to yourself that safe sex is the only sex you want to have from now on.
It's Going To Hurt To Pee
Another thing you'll notice is that when you urinate it's going to hurt - like really, really, hurt. It can be a sharp or dull burning sensation and is accompanied by either a frequent need to urinate or incomplete urination that makes you pee in short bursts. This is also a common symptom of yeast or bladder infections, particularly in women, so it's easy to mistake gonorrhea for some other illness rather than the STD that it is.
Couple that with the fact that for women the symptoms tend to be less severe, and you've got one sneaky infection. The infection generally stays localized to your genitalia at least, so that's where you're going to find the most pain and grossness.
Your Glands Are Going To Swell Up
When your body senses that it has an infection, it's going to do its very best to fight the foreign attackers off by sending white blood cells out to the source of the infection, triggering to your immune system that it's time to pick up the pace. When this happens, the lymph nodes and glands all over your body are probably going to start to swell.
This means that the glands around your jaw, neck, and ears are going to get bigger, and they may even feel sore or warm to the touch. The same thing happens when you have an infection like strep throat or another bacteria in your body. Your immune system isn't really powerful enough to fight off gonorrhea all on its own, but it's certainly going to try and you're certainly going to feel it.
You Could Become Infertile
So, let's assume that you didn't get treatment. Maybe you tried to ignore some of the more extreme symptoms or somehow remained totally oblivious. What's the worst that could happen? Well, for starters, the infection is going to start spreading out from the point where it was first contracted, which is most commonly around the genetalia. For women, the infection can spread up into the uterus, and even into the fallopian tubes and ovaries. When this happens, women can develop something called pelvic inflammatory disease, which leaves essential tissues scarred, can cause pregnancy complications, and can even lead to infertility. Without immediate care from a physician, PID can get serious very quickly.
For men, it's not really that much better - they may begin to notice open sores or wounds around the tip of the penis that can lead to permanent scarring and difficulty with urination. The infection can also spread to a tube near the rear portion of the testicles where sperm is passed through the body, in a condition called Epididymitis. Though treatable, this condition can lead to infertility if left unchecked.
The Disease Can Spread Into Your Blood
While a gonorrhea infection generally stays localized, it can start to spread throughout the body if left unchecked. The first place it is going to go is into the bloodstream as the bacterium breaks through the walls of the penis, testicles, uterus, or vagina. Once this happens, the infection can spread pretty much everywhere.
It can infect the valves of the heart, the area around the spinal column, the limbs, and even the lining around the brain. When the infection reaches these areas, it also causes inflammation, making the heart beat irregularly, or the brain swell. This is when things can get serious and even deadly.