How Do You Know You Have Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) caused by a bacterial infection. It is also informally unknown as “the clap” or “the drip.” This infection is more common among young adults and teens. In case the diagnosis is not made early enough, the patient is at risk of developing serious health complications.

How Do You Know You Have Gonorrhea?

How Does A Person Contract Gonorrhea?

You may contract gonorrhea if you have unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex. The pathogen is transmitted via the genital fluids like semen (including the pre-ejaculation semen secretions) and vaginal fluids. The infection can spread to your genital organs (vagina, cervix, penis, urethra, and anus), throat or even in rare cases your eyes. However, it is important to note that this infection does not spread through casual physical contact. So, the activities such as sharing meals, hugging, kissing, sneezing etc with the infected person are safe and will not increase the risk of you catching the infection.

Most patients infected with gonorrhea do not experience physical symptoms, so they are not aware they are infected and this increases the likelihood of passing on the infection to their sexual partners.

When Should One Be Tested For Gonorrhea?

If you are a sexually active young women, it is recommended for you to get tested every year for this infection. For males who are homosexual or bisexual, it is also recommended that they get tested annually for this infection. If you are at increased risk of getting the infection, you should be tested more frequently. Women should are trying to get pregnant should be tested and pregnant women should also be tested in their first trimester. If any of your sexual partners has been diagnosed with this infection, then you need to be tested as well.

How Do You Know You Have Gonorrhea?

Typically, if you have gonorrhea there are no outward physical symptoms and so this makes it difficult to diagnose this infection during your routine physical examination.

You doctor will need to conduct laboratory tests to get an accurate diagnosis of this condition. In this test, the doctor is trying to determine if your infection is a result of the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Generally, as most of the symptoms seen during gonorrhea are also seen in a chlamydia infection, the doctor will also simultaneously test you for Chlamydia trachomatis.

What Should You Tell Your Physician Before Your Lab Test?

Be sure to inform your doctor about any medications you took 24 hours before your lab samples are collected. For women, this also includes the use of any vaginal creams or douches. This is because the presence of these in your system may affect the test results and your physician needs to be aware of these factors before ordering the test.

When Will You Get Your Test Results?

The time taken to get your results depends on the kind of test used by the pathology lab. If you were tested using nucleic acid amplification (NAT) method, it takes a few days to get back the results. If you were tested, using the culture method than these typically take longer and you should receive your results within 3 to 5 days. In case a male patient was tested using the gram stain method, you will receive your results on the same day in the clinic, but these tests are not very reliable compared to the other tests described above.

What Do Your Tests Results Mean?

Your results will be either positive or negative. If your result is positive it means that, you have the gonorrhea infection and you need to be started on an antibiotic treatment plan. You also need to inform all your sexual partners so they can also get tested.

If your result is negative it means that there is no sign of the gonorrhea infection at the time of the test.

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