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Gonorrhea tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for the bacterium, or germ, that causes gonorrhea. Testing is done on
body fluid or urine samples.
Gonorrhea is a
sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual contact. It does not always cause symptoms.
Tests used to find a gonorrhea infection include:
If a gonorrhea infection is suspected, don't have sex until the test results have come back. If the test shows that you have gonorrhea, don't have sex for 7 days after the start of
treatment. Your sex partner must also be treated for gonorrhea to
avoid passing the infection back to you or to others.
If you have gonorrhea, all of your sex partners from the last 60 days
should be tested and treated. And you may need to have
tests for other sexually transmitted infections, including
Tests for gonorrhea are done to:
In some cases, the test is done to see how well treatment is working. This isn't usually needed unless gonorrhea has occurred during pregnancy or a sex
partner was not treated.
Do not urinate for 2 hours before a urine sample is collected.
Women should not douche or use vaginal creams or
medicines for at least 24 hours before having a gonorrhea test.
In a direct smear, a sample of body
fluid is taken from the area where gonorrhea is suspected. In adults, this may include the
urethra, the cervix, the rectum, or the eye.
If you have a urine test, do not urinate
for 2 hours before the test. Do not wipe the genital area clean before
you urinate. Collect the first part of your urine stream, just as you
begin to urinate.
There are home test kits you can use to collect a swab or urine sample and bring it to the lab for testing.
Collecting a sample of fluid from the
urethra, the anus, or the rectum may cause mild discomfort or pain.
Collecting a sample from the cervix may cause mild discomfort. Most women
find that the procedure feels similar to a Pap test or pelvic examination. Some
women feel slight cramping while the speculum is inside the vagina.
Collecting a sample from the eye is usually painless unless the eyelids
have sores on them.
Collecting a urine sample does not normally
cause any discomfort.
There is very little risk of serious
problems from having a sample of fluid collected from the cervix, the urethra, the
anus, the eye, or the throat. Women may have a small amount of bleeding from the vagina
if a sample is collected from the cervix.
In rare cases, a person
may have sudden dizziness or fainting (called vasovagal syncope)
because of fear or pain when the swab is inserted into the urethra.
There are no risks linked with collecting a urine sample.
No signs of gonorrhea
bacteria are found. If a culture is done, no gonorrhea
bacteria grow in the culture. More testing for other sexually transmitted
infections may be needed to find the cause of any symptoms.
Signs of gonorrhea bacteria are found. If a culture is
done, gonorrhea bacteria grow in the culture.
You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:
To learn more about testing for sexually transmitted infections, see:
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2014). Chlamydia and gonorrhea screening: Final recommendation statement. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/chlamydia-and-gonorrhea-screening. Accessed October 14, 2014.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 20, 2017
Current as of:
March 20, 2017
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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