Health care providers usually use three laboratory tests to diagnose gonorrhea.
Staining samples directly for the bacteria
Detecting bacterial genes or DNA in urine
Growing the bacteria in laboratory cultures
Many providers prefer to use more than one test to increase the chance of an accurate diagnosis.
You usually can get the staining test results while in your doctor's office or in a clinic. This test is quite accurate for men but not so in women. Only one in two women with gonorrhea has a positive stain.
More often, health care providers use urine or cervical swabs for a new test that detects the genes of the bacteria. These tests are more accurate than culturing the bacteria.
The laboratory culture test involves placing a sample of the discharge onto a culture plate. The health care provider also can take a culture to detect gonorrhea in the throat. Culture also allows testing for drug-resistant bacteria.