Gonorrhea testing is required to detect the bacterium neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is the cause of this infection. This bacterium grows and multiplies with ease in moist, warm areas in the reproductive tract (uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes in women); and in the urethra in men and women. The bacterium also may grow in the anus, eyes, throat, or mouth.
How do you get Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea transmits via contact with the vagina, penis, mouth, or anus. Gonorrhea can be transmitted without ejaculation. It can also spread from a mother to her infant through delivery.
An individual can be re-infected with gonorrhea even after receiving treatment by having sexual contact with another individual infected with gonorrhea. Since Gonorrhea can still be transmitted if an infection is not completely cleared up, your doctor may recommend another round of Gonorrhea testing to make sure that the infection is no longer present.
What are complications from Gonorrhea?
Untreated or undetected gonorrhea can create dire and lasting health issues for both men and women.
Women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Around one million women develop PID in the U.S. each year. Often, these women show no symptoms or signs of even having PID. If symptoms are evident, they may include severe abdominal pain and fever. Complications include internal abscesses, chronic pelvic pain and fallopian tube damage. Fallopian tube damage can cause infertility or even life-threatening ectopic pregnancies (where a fertilized egg develops on the outside of the uterus, most likely in a fallopian tube).
For men, gonorrhea may cause epididymitis. Epididymitis is an extremely painful testicle condition that if left untreated, may lead to infertility.
How Gonorrhea Testing is Performed
A first morning urine test is the preferred test for Gonorrhea. However, a specimen from a client who has not urinated one to two hours prior to the test is also acceptable.
Gonorrhea infection warning signs:
- Some men do not show any symptoms or signs of gonorrhea; however, some men have symptoms or signs appear two to six days following initial infection. Sometimes, symptoms may take a month to show. Symptoms include green, yellow or white penile discharge, and a burning feeling while urinating. Sometimes, men experience swollen or painful testicles with gonorrhea.
- Most women with gonorrhea experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Sometimes, the symptoms may be mistaken as a vaginal or urinary tract infection. Initial signs include spotting between periods, a burning or painful feeling while urinating, or an increase in vaginal discharge. Women can develop serious complications from an untreated gonorrhea infection.
- A gonorrhea infection in the rectum may cause anal itching, bleeding, soreness, discharge, or painful bowel movements in both men and women.
- Gonorrhea infections of the throat might cause a sore throat but typically cause no symptoms.
If you are showing any of these signs or symptoms, or have had questionable contact with anyone who may have been infected, Gonorrhea testing is highly recommended.