How Are Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Tested?

May 16, 2023

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that often occur together but are caused by two different types of bacteria.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia?

Symptoms of gonorrhea vary, and some people have no symptoms at all, which is why this disease is spread to so many people without their knowledge. If symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Burning pain with urination
  • White, yellow, or greenish penile discharge
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Anal itching, soreness, or painful bowel movements
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Tender testicles
  • Lower abdominal pain

Symptoms of chlamydia are very similar to gonorrhea. Often patients are without any symptoms, but when they do have symptoms, they commonly experience:

  • Painful urination
  • Painful sex
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Yellowish vaginal discharge with odor
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Watery or whitish penile discharge
  • Swollen or tender testicles

How do you test for gonorrhea and chlamydia?

Although blood and swab tests are available, urine tests are usually preferred for detection of both diseases due to the ease of performing the test. Generally, these two tests are combined into one lab order, and patients provide a urine sample in a specimen cup. Labs can look for the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea, in one of two ways:

  • Perform a nucleic acid amplification test, which can find molecules unique to this bacterial species within a few days
  • Grow a bacterial culture and look for N. gonorrhoeae growth

The same urine specimen can be used to look for Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. Nucleic acid amplification tests are used to find this species.

Where can I get a chlamydia/gonorrhea test done?

Many patients have problems getting timely appointments with doctors. You may go to your local public health clinic for an appointment or walk-in.

You can also order your own chlamydia/gonorrhea test through QuickMD, without a doctor’s appointment. The specimen can be collected at any LabCorp location, and one of the QuickMD physicians will contact you with the results.

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