Tests for Bacterial Vaginosis
How To Prepare
Do not douche, have sex, or use vaginal
medicines for 24 hours before having a bacterial vaginosis test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for
the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To
help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
You will take off your clothes below the
waist. You will have a gown to drape around your waist. You will then lie on
your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by
stirrups. This is similar to having a pelvic examination or Pap test.
Your doctor will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, allowing your doctor to see the inside of the vagina and the cervix.
Samples of fluid inside the vagina
are then collected with a swab or wooden stick.
How It Feels
You may feel some discomfort when the
speculum is put in, especially if your vagina is irritated and tender.
There is little or no risk in having a bacterial
bacterial vaginosis take samples of fluid and cells
from the vagina to see if signs of infection are present.
high vaginal pH, clue cells, and a fishy odor are some signs that
bacterial vaginosis is present.
Tests for bacterial vaginosis
vaginal discharge is present on vaginal
A wet mount does not show
large numbers of bacteria, such as Gardnerella, that
cause bacterial vaginosis.
Few or no clue cells are
No fishy odor is present when
a potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution is added to a sample of vaginal
pH is in the normal range of 3.8 to 4.5.
A bacterial vaginosis
infection is present.
- A thin, grayish white vaginal discharge
is present on vaginal exam. The discharge often looks shiny and has small
- A fishy odor is made when a KOH solution is added to a
sample of vaginal discharge.
- Large numbers of the types of bacteria
that cause bacterial vaginosis (such as Gardnerella),
clue cells, or both are present on wet mount.
- Vaginal pH is greater