Which lab tests are performed in the diagnosis of urethritis?

Updated: Dec 12, 2018
  • Author: Martha K Terris, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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All patients with urethritis should be tested for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis. Laboratory studies may include the following:

  • Gram stain

  • Endourethral and/or endocervical culture for N gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis

  • Urinalysis: Not useful test in urethritis, except to help exclude cystitis or pyelonephritis

  • Nucleic acid–based tests: For C trachomatis and N gonorrhoeae (urine specimens) and other Chlamydia species (endourethral samples)

  • Nucleic acid amplification tests (eg, PCR for N gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia species)

  • KOH preparation: to evaluate for fungal organisms

  • Wet mount preparation: To detect the movement/presence of Trichomonas

  • STD testing for syphilis serology (VDRL) and HIV serology

  • Nasopharyngeal and/or rectal swabs: For gonorrhea screening in men who have sex with men

  • Pregnancy testing: In women who have had unprotected intercourse

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