Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States, and it is especially amongst teens and people in their 20s, with the CDC estimating 820,000 cases of gonorrhea annually. The good news is that, while the infection is very common, gonorrhea is completely curable—if it’s caught early. However, if it isn’t treated early on, it can lead to serious health issues for both men and women. That’s why getting tested at least once a year for gonorrhea, as well as other STDs, should be part of your regular healthcare routine.
How is Gonorrhea Spread?
Gonorrhea is most commonly spread through sexual activity, whether it is vaginal, oral, or anal. As a result, gonorrhea symptoms can develop on multiple parts of the body. This can include the vagina, penis, eyes, throat, and mouth. Gonorrhea can be transmitted even when ejaculation does not occur or when a penis does not fully penetrate the vagina or anus. The bacteria can be spread simply by touching the infected area with your hand and then touching somewhere else on your or your partner’s body. Semen (cum), pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), and vaginal fluids can all transmit gonorrhea.
The best way to avoid infection is through a variety of safer sex practices. Condoms, dental dams, reducing your number of partners, and even abstinence are all ways of decreasing your risk of exposure. Because those carrying the bacteria frequently show no symptoms, transmission can happen quickly and without either partner being aware. That is why gonorrhea is such a common STD.
Why Should I Order a Gonorrhea Test?
Gonorrhea is most often asymptomatic, meaning you could have the infection and not be experiencing any physical symptoms—and so could your partner. This is why regular STD testing is so important in preventing infection. While you may feel fine, you could have a sexually transmitted infection that could create problems for you and your sexual partners in the future.
When it comes to your sexual health, it’s always better to be proactive, so if you think you might have been exposed to gonorrhea, don’t wait for symptoms to develop before getting tested, because they might not ever show up. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can cause ectopic pregnancies and infertility. In men, gonorrhea can lead to prostate inflammation, an infection of the testicles, scarring of the urethra and sterility. Gonorrhea, when symptoms do present, can often look like chlamydia, so whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not, the only way to know for sure if you’ve contracted the infection is to get tested. If you’ve previously contracted the infection and undergone treatment for it, you’re still at risk to contract it again.
What Are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea?
While symptoms associated with gonorrhea are rare, when symptoms do occur, they can often mistakenly be thought to be related to other issues, or can be so mild that most people don’t even know they’re experiencing them. Gonorrhea symptoms can also be similar to or mistaken for symptoms for other infections, sexually transmitted or otherwise, so trying to use whatever symptoms you may or may not be experiencing as barometer for your sexual health isn’t always the best practice.
When physical symptoms do occur as a result of gonorrhea, they can include:
- Painful or “burning” feelings when urinating.
- Abnormal vaginal or penile discharge
- Pain during sex
- Pain, discharge or bleeding for the rectum
- Anal itching
- Painful bowel movements
- Lower back pain
- Sore throat
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Eye inflammation
- Pain in scrotum or testicles
- Burning and itching around the tip of the penis
How Long Should I Wait Before Getting Tested?
You should wait four days after you suspect you’ve been exposed to gonorrhea to be tested. These first four days are referred to as the “incubation period.” This is the time it can take your body to contract the infection. It can take as few as two days for the infection to incubate, but it’s best to wait the full four days just in case. If you get tested before the incubation period is through, it could cause an inaccurate test result. If your test result is positive, you should abstain from having sex again until a week after you’ve completed treatment. You should also get tested again after completing treatment to make sure the medicine has gotten rid of the infection. If you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to get tested for gonorrhea within your first and third trimesters. Screening for gonorrhea and other STDs isn’t always part of regular gynecological or obstetrician visits, so it’s important to have it done or ask your doctor or nurse to perform a screening.
What Are the Benefits of a Gonorrhea Test?
The clear benefit of gonorrhea testing is knowing for sure whether or not you have the infection and should seek treatment, but at Priority STD Testing, we know that other factors may prevent you from seeking testing, and we’ve tried to remove as many barriers as we can.
It can sometimes be embarrassing or intimidating to talk to your doctor or a healthcare provider about STDs and whether or not you’ve contracted one, but it’s still important. It can also be awkward or difficult to try to find time in your schedule to make the appointment or visit. That’s why, at Priority STD Testing, we strive to make the process as comfortable as possible. You can set up your appointment with a local testing center online or over the phone, go in for your appointment and be on your way in less than 15 minutes. Your results will be processed within a few business days, and you can call Priority STD Testing at any time to know if your results have returned and what they are.
At Priority STD Testing, we want the process of getting tested to be as painless as possible, and that includes financially. Instead of paying to go to a clinic or urgent care center or your doctor’s office, you can pay Priority STD Testing’s flat rate of $89 for gonorrhea testing. Because we value your right to confidentiality, we do not accept any forms of private or federal health insurance so that your testing or results are not reported to your health insurance provider.
Peace of Mind
Waiting to get tested, or not getting tested at all, gets you nowhere. Whether you think you might have been exposed to gonorrhea or not, best sexual health practice dictates that you should get tested. It’s the only way to know for sure and give you the peace of mind of having a clean bill of sexual health.
What Can I Expect When I Get Tested for Gonorrhea?
While many people are intimidated by the thought of getting tested for STDs for a number of reasons, gonorrhea testing through Priority STD Testing is a fairly simple and painless process. Typically all you’ll have to do is show up for your appointment, give a urine sample and go home. Other testing services may require a swab test, in which a doctor or nurse will swab your genital area to test for the presence of gonorrhea bacteria.
When you get tested for gonorrhea, your doctor or the care provider you speak to may recommend that you are also tested for chlamydia at the same time. While not everyone who gets tested for gonorrhea will test positive for chlamydia as well, it is not uncommon for the two infections to be paired. This phenomenon is referred to as “co-infection.” In addition to the two infections commonly appearing together, they also present as very similar infections. As a result, it can be easier to test for both at the same time, as to get the more accurate diagnosis.
How do I get treated for Gonorrhea?
If you do test positive for gonorrhea, a doctor or care provider will prescribe you with a course of antibiotics to cure the infection. This is the only way that gonorrhea can be cured; the infection will not clear up on its own. It’s important that you abstain from sexual activity while undergoing treatment and be sure to finish the full course of antibiotics you’re prescribed. Having sex with someone before you’re completely cured of the infection could cause them to be infected, and not finishing your course of antibiotics could cause the infection to stay in your body.
How Do I Order a Gonorrhea Test?
Ordering gonorrhea testing through Priority STD Testing is quick and simple. Our care counselors are ready to take your call Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST. When speaking to our care counselors, they can answer any questions you might have about the gonorrhea testing process, make testing recommendations and set up an appointment for you at a local testing center. Or, you can order online at any time by selecting a testing center near you and which STD(s) you’re interested in being screened for.Get Tested Now