No yeast, bacteria,
clue cells are found on the slide. White blood cells
are not present or very low in number.
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.
Adding potassium hydroxide
(KOH) solution to vaginal discharge does not cause a fishy odor.
A fishy odor made by the whiff
test means bacterial vaginosis is present.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Having your period.
Using a vaginal
medicine, such as a nonprescription vaginal yeast medicine, 2 to 3 days before
Having sex within 24 hours before the test, which can affect
the vaginal pH.
What To Think About
Some causes of vaginitis are not found by a
vaginal wet mount, including
atrophic vaginitis and some STIs, such as
herpes simplex. Atrophic vaginitis can be found on a
vaginal smear when dye is added to the vaginal discharge on the slide. The
slide is looked at under a microscope for cell changes that show atrophic
Sometimes a sample of the vaginal discharge is put in a
special cup to see if bacteria, yeast, or trichomonads will grow. This is
called a vaginal culture.
The sex partners of women with
trichomoniasis are generally treated for the infection so they do not reinfect
their partners after treatment. Some doctors recommend treating the sex
partners of women with bacterial vaginosis, but most do not. Partners of women
who have vaginal yeast infections are not generally treated for yeast
infections. To learn more, see the topic
Tests for Bacterial Vaginosis.
A vaginal yeast infection can
occur after a woman is treated with antibiotics or in a woman whose
diabetes is poorly controlled. Recurring yeast
infections may be seen when a woman's
immune system is weakened. The immune system can be
weakened by old age, infections such as
AIDS, or treatment for cancer.