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Gonococcal arthritis is a type of inflammatory joint disease caused by a gonorrhea infection. The condition can result in symptoms such as joint pain, rashes, a fever and pain in the hands. It sometimes affects a single joint, but it more commonly affects multiple joints in the body. Once the condition has been diagnosed, treatment usually begins immediately and is nearly always successful at eliminating joint pain.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that spreads through unprotected sex. When this type of bacterium enters the body, it may cause an infection in a joint. The bacterium sometimes infects a single joint, because the infection is carried in the blood. In this situation, the person may experience pain and swelling in only one joint. More commonly, however, the infection results in rashes over multiple joints, such as the ankles and knees.
There are a number of symptoms of gonococcal arthritis. These include pain in the joints, which is usually present for several days before diagnosis, and a fever. Other potential symptoms include a rash or sores over the joints, pain in the abdomen and pain while urinating. Tendons in the wrists and hands sometimes become inflamed, which results in pain and stiffness. Joint pain can be caused by a number of different conditions, so other symptoms must be carefully analyzed by a doctor before a diagnosis is made.
Diagnosis of gonococcal arthritis is achieved by testing for a gonorrhea infection. This may involve analyzing stool samples, fluid from the joints or a small piece of tissue. Once the substance has been taken from the body, it is usually sent to a laboratory for testing.
Treatment for gonococcal arthritis is the same as for treating a gonorrhea infection. It is essential to treat the condition to prevent the bacterium from remaining in the body. Once treatment begins, symptoms usually begin to improve within a day or two, and nearly all patients fully recover from the infection. If the condition is left untreated, however, then the joint pain will often continue.
An important part of treatment for any sort of sexually transmitted disease is contacting and testing any recent sexual partners of the patient. This helps prevent the disease from spreading. To prevent gonococcal arthritis, a person should always wear a condom during sexual intercourse and try to maintain a monogamous relationship with someone who has no sexually transmitted infections or diseases.