A sexually transmitted disease is an infection that passes between people during sex. They don't survive for long outside the body, but they are very efficient in sexual fluids; they range in seriousness though most of them can be treated, avoiding significant health problems.
Gonorrhoea is an example of a sexually transmitted infection that benefits from an effective treatment.
It's a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics like other STDs. Once the antibiotics are administered, the symptoms of the disease die off within a few days, and most of the pain and discomfort is gone in two weeks.
But how do you know if you have gonorrhoea in the first place?
This can be difficult, especially since gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection with very mild symptoms or none at all. The answer is understanding your health history and testing.
So, if you're searching for information on gonorrhoea testing, you've come to the right place. We'll give you all the information you need on the symptoms, testing process, and more for both men and women.
You also find out how long you have to wait for results and your options for testing - including home testing.
Gonorrhoea infection symptoms are diverse. There are slight variations between men and women, but on the whole, there are more similarities than differences.
Although there are some clear indications that you might have contracted a gonorrhoea infection and need to be tested, some will experience very minimal symptoms.
If you are male, you might experience some green discharge from the urethra or anal discharge - the opening of the penis. This can be green, white, or yellow. You may also experience some painful urination. Rectal infections can also develop, as well as testicle pain, but this is rare.
If you are female, you may also experience unusual vaginal discharge and pain when urinating. This is accompanied by increased period bleeding and bleeding between periods. There might also be some pelvic pain or abdominal pain along with painful bowel movements.
Often there are no signs or symptoms of gonorrhoea, which is why you should get tested regularly for the disease, especially if you have unprotected vaginal sex with your sex partner or you have sexual contact with multiple partners.
You can have an annual STI test at a clinic or use a home testing kit, but any signs of gonorrhoea should be treated as soon as they develop.
If you have the symptoms of a gonorrhoea infection, you need to take a test. This can be carried out at a medical clinic or by using a home testing kit.
A home testing kit can give you your results in as little as three working days. They're great if you have reservations about going into a clinic and would rather test from the comfort and privacy of your home.
If you choose to attend a clinic for your test, a healthcare professional will take some samples. These are usually samples from the urethra in the form of a swab test or a urine sample. If you've had anal sex or oral sex, swabs can also be taken from these areas.
You will be asked not to urinate for around two hours before the sample is taken on the test day. This is because urinating washes away the gonorrhoea bacteria and influences the results of the test. This is the same with home testing.
When you're testing for gonorrhoea, it's important that you avoid contact with your sex partner. Gonorrhoea spreads very easily, and even after you've been given antibiotics, there is still a high risk of transmitting the infection.
Women have similar symptoms to men; testing for gonorrhoea is similar, but the disease can lead to more serious complications.
Testing involved swabs and samples of the vaginal infection. You can choose between a home testing kit or a clinical test, both of these might be advisable, especially if you have mild symptoms.
When you attend a doctor's surgery or a GUM clinic, the health care provider might carry out an internal exam and take a swab from the vagina or the cervix. It's unlikely they will ask for a urine sample because these are less accurate in women.
A health care provider will take samples from either the cervix or vagina - they may also take samples from the throat if you have some pain or discomfort there, or your eyes if they are red or inflamed. The test results will usually be available for you to view in two weeks, though some clinics may offer rapid testing.
Women must abstain from sexual activity during gonorrhoea testing. If the results are positive, you will be administered an antibacterial injection. However, there is still a high chance of transmitting the disease even after this, so it's best to wait seven days after treatment to resume sexual activity.
Some people like to test for gonorrhoea at home; this offers several advantages.
First, it removes any embarrassment someone might feel at contacting a GUM clinic or discussing the issue with a doctor. It also allows people to test themselves if they suspect they have mild symptoms instead of booking an appointment and travelling to a clinic.
Many people prefer home testing for STIs because it eliminates the embarrassment of contacting a GP or GUM clinic. It is also more convenient. But are home testing kits as reliable as testing in a clinic with a qualified professional? Depending on the test, it can make very little difference.
When you attend a clinic for a gonorrhoea test, the doctor will take a urine sample, a swab, or a blood sample. This data is then analysed in the clinic lab, and the results are ascertained.
It's the same process with a home test; the test results are still ascertained in a lab, but a doctor might take better samples.
If you think you have gonorrhoea, you don't want to wait too long for the results to come back - you want to start your treatment right away and eliminate the bacteria from your system. Unfortunately, the results for gonorrhoea testing can take some time, depending on the testing lab.
The first step is to deliver your samples to the clinic. These are usually urine samples, swabs, and blood samples that can be taken by a doctor or yourself with a home testing kit. As mentioned previously, you may be able to get a rapid test - if not, you'll have to wait about 2 weeks for results.
In the lab, technicians search for evidence of gonorrhoea in several ways; they use a NAAT test, a Gram Stain, Gonococcal Culture, or a Rapid Gonorrhoea Test. A NAAT test detects the DNA or gonorrhoea, a gram strain looks for gonorrhoea cells, and culture tests attempt to grow gonorrhoea from swab cells.
The time it takes for your results to come back depends on the lab used and the type of testing carried out for the bacteria. If you tested positive, your samples are sent away; you can expect your results to take weeks, but that time might be shorter if a rapid test is undertaken.
Many health care providers will be able to test you for gonorrhoea - if not, they will be able to point you in the direction of the nearest clinic that does, or will collect a sample from you and send it off to a lab for tests.
While many healthcare professionals won't have a testing lab on-site, they might refer you to a GUM clinic if your condition requires treatment; these clinics often have labs on site that can deliver your results on the same day.
Instead of contacting your doctor about gonorrhoea, it might be better to contact your local GUM clinic directly to avoid any setbacks.
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that can be easily treated with an antibiotic injection and vaginal creams. Following these injections, your symptoms will lift in seven days and be gone completely in two weeks.
However, if left untreated, gonorrhoea can be extremely dangerous -especially to women - and cause infertility.
When gonorrhoea is left untreated, it spreads to the womb, cervix and fallopian tubes. It causes scarring on the fallopian tubes, increasing the chances of ectopic pregnancy - which can be fatal - and causes infertility.
In men, it progresses into the testicles and affects the sperm gland causing infertility.
Gonorrhoea is very easy to treat with antibiotics. The most common antibiotics for treating the disease are ceftriaxone, an injection, or oral azithromycin (Zithromax), taken as a tablet.
You might also be given gemifloxacin (Factive) if you're allergic to ceftriaxone. If you get a negative result, no action is required.
Once the antibiotic is administered, the majority of your symptoms should disappear within a few days. Still, it will take around two weeks for the pain and mild discomfort in your pelvis or testicles to disappear completely.
Wait seven days after finishing your course before having vaginal, anal, or oral sex again.
Gonorrhoea is transmitted through sexual activity, and it spreads very easily.
If you have symptoms of the disease and are sexually active, there is a high chance your sexually active partner or partners will also have the gonorrhoea infection - especially if you engage in unprotected sex. Notify your sexual partner(s) to prevent any further spread.
Your sex partners also have to undergo a test for gonorrhoea and contact any of their partners to avoid health complications.
You shouldn't engage in any sexual activity during treatment; the infection can still be contagious even after the antibiotics are administered.