Laboratory tests like gram stain, culture tests or DNA tests are available to diagnose gonorrhea.
Several laboratory tests are available to diagnose gonorrhea.
A health care provider can obtain a sample of tissue or fluid from the infected mucus membrane (cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat) and send the specimen to a laboratory for analysis. In the laboratory, this smear is stained with a dye and the bacteria are viewed through the microscope. Although this test is quick, it is not very reliable.
The culture test involves placing a sample of the discharge onto a culture plate and incubating it up to two to three days to allow the bacteria to multiply. This test provides absolute proof of infection. Cultures can provide a preliminary diagnosis within 24 hours and a confirmed diagnosis within 72 hours.
The samples for this test may be obtained from the cervix of women, urethra of men, throat, rectum, joint fluid or blood, depending on the likely site of infection.
Detection of Bacterial Genes
Frequently, doctors use urine or cervical swabs for a new test that detects the genes of the bacteria.