One of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Gonorrhoea, caused by the bacterium, is most often transmitted during sexual activity, including oral and anal sex. An infected woman may also transmit the disease to her baby during childbirth. Gonorrhoea has an incubation period of 2–10 days. In men, symptoms include a discharge from the urethra and pain on passing urine. Many infected women have no symptoms; if symptoms are present, they usually consist of vaginal discharge or a burning sensation on passing urine. Infection acquired by anal sex can cause gonococcal proctitis. Oral sex with an infected person may lead to gonococcal pharyngitis. A baby exposed to infection during its birth may acquire the eye infection gonococcal ophthalmia. Untreated gonorrhoea may spread to other parts of the body. In men, it may cause prostatitis or epididymo-orchitis, affecting fertility. In women, untreated gonorrhoea results in pelvic inflammatory disease, causing damage to the fallopian tubes. This increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and may lead to infertility. Gonococcal bacteria in the bloodstream may result in septicaemia or septic arthritis. Tests are performed on a sample of discharge or on swabs taken from the urethra, cervix, or rectum in order to confirm the diagnosis. Gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotic drugs.


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