There are three laboratory tests that doctors use when diagnosing gonorrhea. These tests include:
- Gram stain
- Gene detection
- Lab culture.
The staining sample test works better when diagnosing gonorrhea in men than in women, and the gene test is more accurate than culturing the bacteria. Only 1 in 2 women with gonorrhea will have a positive Gram stain.
(Click Diagnosing Gonorrhea for more information.)
How Is It Treated?Antibiotics are generally used to treat gonorrhea. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed for gonorrhea treatment. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the infection.
(Click Gonorrhea Treatment for more information.)
Possible ComplicationsGonorrhea infections that are left untreated can develop into serious life-threatening complications. If left untreated, the bacteria from gonorrhea infections can spread into the reproductive tract or, more rarely, can spread into the bloodstream and infect the joints, heart valves, or the brain.
In women, the opening to the uterus (the cervix) is the first place to be infected by gonorrhea. The disease can then spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID affects more than 1 million women in this country every year and can cause tubal (ectopic) pregnancy and infertility in as many as 10 percent of infected women.
Complications in men can include epididymitis, which is a painful condition of the testicles that can lead to infertility if left untreated.
(Click Gonorrhea and Pregnancy for more information about PID and tubal pregnancies related to this condition. Click Gonorrhea Complications to learn more about the potential complications of untreated gonorrhea.)