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Gonorrhea (Urine)

Does this test have other names?

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, N. gonorrhoeae

What is this test?

This urine test helps find out whether you are infected with gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Symptoms of gonorrhea may be mild at first, but the infection can be serious if not treated. It can damage organs, cause infertility in women and some men, and even lead to a life-threatening bacterial infection.

Cases of gonorrhea have declined in the U.S. in recent years. But it remains a concern because some bacteria have become resistant to common antibiotics. Risk factors for gonorrhea include having unprotected oral sex, rectal sex, or sex with a partner who has gonorrhea. Other risks include having multiple sexual partners, a new sexual partner, or a gonorrhea infection in the past. 

Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics. A one-time dose generally cures the infection in both men and women. 

Why do I need this test?

You may have this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have gonorrhea. The symptoms of gonorrhea depend on where you have the infection. In both men and women, gonorrhea can occur in the urethra, where urine comes out. Or it can occur in the rectum or in the throat.

Gonorrhea is easily cured, but it can be dangerous and even life-threatening if not treated. Among other things, it can cause a potentially fatal blood infection in women and men. It often causes pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. In men the infection often affects the prostate. It also often affects the epididymis, the ducts attached to the testicles. It can also cause infertility in men.

In women, symptoms of gonorrhea include:

  • Increased vaginal discharge

  • Burning sensation when urinating

  • Bleeding or spotting between periods

  • Pelvic pain

In men, symptoms of gonorrhea include:

  • Green, white, or yellow discharge from the penis

  • Burning sensation when urinating

  • Painful or swollen testicles

In both men and women, symptoms of anal gonorrhea include anal itching, soreness, bleeding, and painful bowel movements. Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild. They can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all.  

If you're pregnant, you may have this test as part of routine prenatal testing. A pregnant woman who has gonorrhea can pass the infection to her baby during delivery. This may cause blindness or a potentially fatal blood infection. Finding and treating gonorrhea prevents such problems. 

What other tests might I have along with this test?

You may also be tested for other STDs, including:

  • Chlamydia

  • Hepatitis B

  • HIV

  • Syphilis

  • Trichomoniasis 

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider. 

How is this test done?

This test requires a urine sample. The sample is usually collected by urinating in a specimen cup at your healthcare provider's office. 

Does this test pose any risks?

This test poses no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

If you use genital lubricants or disinfectants before the test, your results might not be accurate.

How do I get ready for this test?

Ask your healthcare provider how to prepare for this test. In addition, be sure your provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use. 

Medical Reviewers:

  • Taylor, Wanda L, RN, PhD
  • Ziegler, Olivia Walton, MS, PA-C