Skip to content

Women's Health

Font Size

Vaginal Wet Mount

How To Prepare

Do not douche, use tampons, or use vaginal medicines for 24 hours before the test.

A vaginal wet mount is not done during your menstrual period. Menstrual blood on the slide can change the results.

If you are or might be pregnant, tell your doctor before the vaginal wet mount is done.

How It Is Done

You will take off your clothes below the waist and drape a gown around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by stirrups. This allows your doctor to look at the genital area.

Your doctor will put a smooth, curved speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls, which allows your doctor to see the inside of the vagina and the cervix.

Samples of fluid inside the vagina are taken with a swab or spatula. The sample is put on a slide for testing.

How It Feels

You may feel some discomfort when the speculum is inserted, especially if your vagina is irritated and tender. There may be a small amount of bleeding after this test.

Risks

There are no problems from collecting a sample of vaginal secretions.

Results

A vaginal wet mount (sometimes called a vaginal smear) is a test to find the cause of vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina and the area around the vagina (vulva). Your doctor may talk to you about the results after the test. If the sample needs to be looked at by a lab, the results may be ready in 1 to 2 days.

Vaginal discharge
Normal:

No abnormal vaginal discharge is present. A small amount of discharge is normal.

Abnormal:

A white, lumpy discharge that looks like cottage cheese may mean a vaginal yeast infection is present. A yellow-green, foamy discharge that has a bad odor may mean trichomoniasis is present. A thin, gray-white vaginal discharge with a strong fishy odor may mean bacterial vaginosis is present.

 

Wet mount
Normal:

No yeast, bacteria, trichomoniasis, or clue cells are found on the slide. White blood cells are not present or very low in number.

Abnormal:

High numbers of white blood cells often mean a vaginal infection. Yeast cells found on the wet mount mean a vaginal yeast infection is present. Trichomonads on the wet mount mean trichomoniasis is present. Clue cells means bacterial vaginosis is present. If many Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria are present, this also may mean bacterial vaginosis is present.

 

KOH slide
Normal:

No yeast is found.

Abnormal:

Yeast cells means a yeast infection is present.

 

Vaginal pH1
Normal:

Vaginal pH is 3.8–4.5.

Abnormal:

Vaginal pH is higher than 4.5.

 

Whiff test
Normal:

Adding potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution to vaginal discharge does not cause a fishy odor.

Abnormal:

A fishy odor made by the whiff test means bacterial vaginosis is present.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
Couple with troubles
Article
Bone density illustration
VIDEO
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow