Illness and Conditions - Medical Tests
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 infection.
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.
Why It Is Done
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 pregnancy.
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.
How To Prepare
Gonorrhea testing is done on:
How It Is Done
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.
In rare cases, a throat culture may be done.
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 begin urinating.
How It Feels
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.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
What To Think About
Last Revised: April 15, 2011
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2005). Screening for gonorrhea. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicetaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsgono.htm.
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