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Gonorrhea tests involve testing a
sample of body fluid or urine to see if gonorrhea bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) are present and may be the cause of an
infection. These tests are used to screen for or confirm a
Gonorrhea is a
sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is usually
spread during sexual contact. It does not always cause symptoms.
Several types of tests can be used to detect a gonorrhea infection. Most
tests use a sample of body fluid from the affected area.
Tests for gonorrhea are done to:
Treating a pregnant woman who has a gonorrhea infection
can prevent an infection in her newborn. Screening may be done at the first
prenatal visit. Another test may be done during the last 3 months of
In some cases, gonorrhea tests may be done to determine
if a recently treated infection has been successfully treated. This is not
routinely needed unless gonorrhea has occurred during pregnancy or your sex
partner was not treated.
Gonorrhea testing is done on:
In a direct smear, a sample of body
fluid is taken from the affected area. In adults, these areas may include the
urethra, cervix, rectum, or eye.
If a urine sample is collected for
nucleic acid amplification testing (such as PCR or LCR testing), do not urinate
for 2 hours before the test. Do not wipe the genital area clean before
urinating. Collect the first part of your urine stream, immediately as you
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, anus, or 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
complications from having a sample of fluid collected from the cervix, urethra,
anus, eye, or 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 experience a 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.
Gonorrhea tests involve testing a sample
of body fluid or urine to see if
gonorrhea bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) are present and may be the cause of an infection.
DNA are found. If a culture is done, no gonorrhea
bacteria grow in the culture. More testing for other sexually transmitted
infections (STIs) may be needed to determine the cause of any symptoms.
Gonorrhea antigens or DNA are found. If a culture is
done, gonorrhea bacteria grow in the culture.
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
To learn more about the treatment for a gonorrhea infection, see the topic
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2005). Screening for gonorrhea. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicetaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsgono.htm.
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.
March 26, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
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