Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both women and men. In women, gonorrhea can infect the cervix, rectum, or throat. In men, the urethra, rectum, or throat be infected.
Gonorrhea is very common, especially among those ages 15-24, although anyone who is sexually active can get the infection. In the US, 75% of cases occur in women and men under age 30.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that sexually active women get tested for gonorrhea every year if they are younger than 25 or 25 and older with risk factors, such as a new sex partner or a sex partner who has an STD.
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria neisseria gonorrhoeae and, if left untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women.
Common symptoms of gonorrhea in women include:
- Pain or burning while urinating
- White or green vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
Common symptoms of gonorrhea in men include:
- Pain or burning while urinating
- A white, yellow, or greet discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles (less common)
If you or your partner has symptoms of gonorrhea, or if your partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea, it is important to be tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
MicroGenDX Test Used in Diagnosing Gonorrhea
A gonorrhea test may be done in the clinic and sent off to a lab, or you can do an at-home test. An evaluation and culture (growing microbes from your sample in a lab) are often used to diagnose gonorrhea. However, standard cultures may come back negative even when you actually do have an infection, and that means your infection won’t be treated.
A MicroGenDX test detects the DNA of all microbes in your sample, along with how much of each is present, and uses that information to identify the bacteria in your infection and the drugs that can best treat it. It is important to know that not all antibiotics work for all bacteria, and some even work differently in different areas of the body. Your doctor should consult the "antimicrobials for consideration" chart on your MicroGenDX report to decide what antibiotic is right for you.
The gonorrhea test is included in the “Basic STI Panel” test and in the “Full STI Panel” test. “STI” stands for “sexually transmitted infection,” which is another name for STD. You can order the tests and get sampling instructions here:
Providing a Sample for the Gonorrhea Test
You will need to provide a urine sample for this test. It’s very important to obtain a proper sample by following the instructions for collecting the sample, as well as when packaging and shipping it.
Everything you need to know about taking a sample is included with your test, and is also available online on the product pages. The instructions contain illustrations that will help you collect a sample without contaminating it. For example, you will need to wash your hands thoroughly, clean your genital area with soap and water, and pay special attention to the sex-specific instructions so that bacteria on the skin aren’t included in your sample.
Medical Specialties Treating Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea can be treated by a primary care physician, OB/GYN, or urologist.
How Gonorrhea is Treated
Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. It is important to complete the full course of medication when it is prescribed, even if symptoms begin to clear up before you are finished.
Some strains of the bacterium that causes this infection can develop resistance to specific antibiotics, so that they cannot be effectively treated with those antibiotics. This is why all MicroGenDX diagnostic tests include detection of antibiotic resistance genes in your sample, and then provide alternative antibiotics for your doctor to consider prescribing to you.