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Home > Health Library > Gonorrhea Test
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 HIV.
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.
Current as ofSeptember 11, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of:
September 11, 2018
Medical Review:Sarah A. 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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