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How to test for gonorrhea

Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on December 3, 2019. Written by Jordana White. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Gonorrhea is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you’re able to detect and diagnose gonorrhea, the infection can easily be treated. If, however, gonorrhea goes unnoticed and untreated, the disease can cause a variety of health concerns. If you’re wondering how to test for gonorrhea, there are a variety of options, including the at-home Everlywell Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test.

A gonorrhea test is the only way to know your status for this STI, so testing is an important step. If your gonorrhea urine test results are positive, begin treatment as soon as possible after speaking to your healthcare provider.

How do you get a gonorrhea infection?

Gonorrhea is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, whether it’s vaginal, anal, or oral. The bacterium, Neisseria gonorrheoea, causes an infection. As a result, you can get gonorrhea any time you have unprotected sex with someone who has gonorrhea. It is important to remember that people with gonorrhea do not always have symptoms, so you may have been exposed without you or your partner being aware.

For this reason, it’s important to consider getting tested for gonorrhea and other STIs before beginning a sexual relationship with any new partner or if you’re planning to conceive.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

While it is true that you could have gonorrhea without any symptoms, common symptoms include [1]:

  • Bleeding between your menstrual periods (women)
  • An increase in vaginal discharge (women)
  • Painful urination, accompanied by a burning sensation (women and men)
  • White, yellow, or green discharge from your penis (men)
  • Swollen testicles (men)

If gonorrhea bacteria have caused an infection in your rectum, you may experience these symptoms:

  • Itching in your anus
  • Discharge
  • General pain, and pain when making bowel movements
  • Rectal bleeding

Symptoms of oral gonorrhea may include:

  • Red, sore throat
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes of your neck

If you have had unprotected sex and are experiencing any of these gonorrhea symptoms, you need to be tested right away for this infection. Fortunately, it is very easy to test for gonorrhea using an at-home Everlywell Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test.

How do you test for gonorrhea?

You can be tested for gonorrhea several different ways. Both men and women will typically need a gonorrhea urine test, which analyzes your urine for the presence of gonorrhea bacteria. An oral gonorrhea test uses swab samples from your mouth to determine if any detectable gonorrhea bacteria is present. You may also need to take swab samples from your anus, vagina, or from the opening of your urethra to ensure an infection doesn’t go undetected elsewhere in your body.

Where can you get tested?

If you think you have gonorrhea, you can typically get tested at your healthcare provider’s office, or at a local healthcare clinic. Of course, many people with suspected STIs are looking for testing options that protect their privacy, which is why home tests for gonorrhea are a great option to consider. With any kind of gonorrhea test, both at home or in-office, you should receive your test results in just a few days.

Go here to order your own, at-home gonorrhea test. This option offers complete confidentiality and, if your results are positive, you will have the option of connecting with a network of independent physicians who can walk you through your treatment options.

How can you treat a gonorrhea infection?

If you test positive for gonorrhea, speak with your healthcare provider about treatment options.

What happens if you don't treat a gonorrhea infection?

Untreated gonorrhea can lead to complications with pregnancy [2], and you may also pass the infection to your baby. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider to learn more.

It’s important to know your STI status to protect yourself and your future partners from gonorrhea infections. If you suspect you have gonorrhea or may have been exposed to it, it’s a good idea to get tested as soon as possible.

How can I prevent STIs?

Like all other STIs, there are fairly simple ways to protect yourself. Before beginning a sexual relationship with a new partner, get tested for gonorrhea and other STIs. Use condoms, and while it is not a guarantee, choosing monogamous sexual relationships with partners who have received negative STI test results helps reduce your risk.

Home testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea

Taking an at-home Everlywell test is an easy and private way to know your STI status, so if you're wondering how to test for gonorrhea at home, learn more here.

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STD testing at home