Gonorrhea in Pregnancy: Effects, Signs and Treatments

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhea. It is transmitted through genital, oral and anal sex. During prenatal care, pregnant women test for gonorrhea as it can be transmitted from the mother to the baby during pregnancy. What to do when diagnosed with gonorrhea in pregnancy?

How Can Gonorrhea Affect Your Pregnancy and Your Baby?

If you are diagnosed with gonorrhea while pregnant, you will have a greater risk for

  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm premature rupture of membranes
  • Preterm birth
  • Infection of the amniotic sac and amniotic fluid, etc.

When diagnosed and treated on time, the risk for the above-mentioned complications is greatly reduced. If gonorrhea infection is left untreated it will increase your risk for other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as for HIV.

If you have gonorrhea while giving birth to your child, there is a great possibility that your newborn will get infected. In newborns, gonorrhea usually affects the eyes. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the treatment of newborn babies with eye drops and ointments soon after birth.

Regardless of these preventive measures, if your baby develops an eye infection due to gonorrhea, systemic antibiotics will be needed. If not diagnosed and treated on time, a gonorrhea infection of the newborn eyes can lead to blindness, and the infection can spread to other body parts, causing various signs and symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea in Pregnancy?

Often women, even though infected with gonorrhea, have no signs and symptoms at all. Regular testing, especially testing during prenatal visits, will help reveal the infection.

Sometimes, symptoms are present which vary, depending on the location of the infection.

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, burning sensation while urinating, painful urination, painful sexual intercourse or even spotting are common if the infection affects the urethra, vagina, and cervix.
  • Painful bowel movements, anal itchiness, and anal discharge are common in cases of an anal infection with gonorrhea.
  • Gonorrhea infection of the mouth and throat is possible during oral sex. Redness and soreness of the mouth and throat are characteristic in this case.
  • An eye infection, accompanied by eye redness, itchiness, and eye discharge are possible in cases when the gonorrhea infection affects the eyes.

Will My Partner Have Symptoms?

Yes, gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, so your partner will probably get the infection and start having symptoms. Unlike women, men who do get infected with gonorrhea experience the following symptoms:

  • Penis discharge
  • Testicle tenderness
  • Swelling of the testicles
  • Painful urination
  • A burning sensation while urinating, etc.

If your partner has symptoms too, both of you need to get tested and treated as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is very important not to have sexual intercourse, until the treatment course is completed and you are both cured.

How Is Gonorrhea Treated in Pregnancy?

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, meaning that antibiotics are required. As you are pregnant, it is only allowed to take antibiotics which are pregnancy-safe. As mentioned, your partner should be treated as well, while sex-abstaining is also needed.

In many cases, women who are diagnosed with gonorrhea have other sexually transmitted diseases as well, such as chlamydia. This just complicates and prolongs the treatment.

How to Prevent Gonorrhea

Practicing safe sex is the best way to prevent gonorrhea and any other sexually transmitted disease. Using condoms will prevent you from sexually transmitted diseases as well as from an unwanted pregnancy.

Also, having a monogamous relationship with a person who is tested negative to gonorrhea will help you prevent this infection. Changing sexual partners too often and having one-night stands with unknown partners will increase your risk for sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea. Having multiple partners at the same time is also not recommended.

Natural Remedies That May Accelerate the Treatment

The following natural remedies can help you recover faster from an infection with gonorrhea in pregnancy:

1. Onions and Garlic

Both onions and garlic have antibacterial properties which prevent the bacteria of gonorrhea surviving in the human’s body. Onions and garlic contain antiviral properties as well. Consume onions and garlic daily for the treatment of gonorrhea.

2. Herbs

Herbs are also recommended for the treatment of gonorrhea in a pregnant woman. But consult your doctor before trying any herbs.

  • Thyme is the most recommended herb as it slows down the development of the bacteria of gonorrhea.
  • Cat’s claw is another herb found to be very beneficial during the gonorrhea treatment as it enhances the immunity system and the capability of the body to fight a disease.
  • Echinacea helps eradicate the bacteria of gonorrhea completely. Echinacea also boosts the immune system.
  • Rosemary is another herb used for the treatment of gonorrhea while pregnant.

3. Vitamin C

Lemons, oranges, kiwi, papaya, broccoli and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C. They help boost immunity and get rid of gonorrhea.

4. Vitamin A

Apricots, carrots, paprika, melons, sweet potato and many other foods are rich in vitamin A. They should be part of a daily diet when pregnant as vitamin A helps boost the immune system, fighting gonorrhea.

5. Mangosteen

Mangosteen is a fruit with great antibacterial properties, which is recommended for women diagnosed with gonorrhea in pregnancy.

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