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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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Gonorrhea Test


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.


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 test

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.

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:

  • You urinate 2 hours or less before collecting a urine sample.
  • A sample from the rectum is contaminated with stool.
  • You are a woman and you douche or use vaginal cream or spray within 24 hours before the test.
  • You take antibiotics before the test.

What To Think About

  • 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.
  • A gonorrhea culture may be done after a positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) if your doctor or nurse is concerned that you may have antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea.
  • In the United States, your doctor or nurse must report to the state health department that you have gonorrhea.

To learn more about testing for sexually transmitted infections, see:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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