|Description:||This 1970 photograph revealed the presence of what was determined to be a gonococcal infection involving the cervix of a patient who presented with a case of gonorrhea. Note that there is a purulent discharge emanating from the cervical os, and pooling in the vagina.|
What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), caused by N. gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
How is gonorrhea diagnosed?
Several laboratory tests are available to diagnose gonorrhea. A doctor or nurse can obtain a sample for testing from the parts of the body likely to be infected, which may be the cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat, and send the sample to a laboratory for analysis. N. gonorrhoeae organisms that are present in the cervix or urethra can be diagnosed in a laboratory by testing a urine sample. A quick laboratory test for gonorrhea that can be done in some clinics, or doctor’s offices is a Gram-stain. A Gram-stain of a sample from a urethra or a cervix allows the doctor to see the N. gonorrhoeae bacterium under a microscope. This test works better for men than for women.