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Healthcare providers usually use three laboratory tests to diagnose gonorrhea.

  • Staining samples directly for the bacteria
  • Detecting bacterial genes or DNA in urine
  • Growing the bacteria in laboratory cultures

Many providers prefer to use more than one test to increase the chance of an accurate diagnosis.

You usually can get the staining test results while in the office or clinic. This test is more accurate in men than in women.

More often, healthcare providers use urine or cervical swabs for a new test that detects the genes of the bacteria. These tests are more accurate than culturing the bacteria.

The laboratory culture test involves placing a sample of the discharge onto a culture plate. A healthcare provider also can take a culture to detect gonorrhea in the throat. Culture also allows testing for bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotics used to treat gonorrhea.

Last Updated January 05, 2011