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Vaginal Wet Mount

Why It Is Done

A vaginal wet mount is done to find the cause of vaginal itching, burning, rash, odor, or discharge.

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.

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.

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