Testing for Vaginitis (Yeast Infections, Trichomonas, and Gardnerella)

What is the test?

Vaginitis is inflammation or an infection of the vagina; symptoms usually include itchiness or irritation, abnormal discharge, and an unpleasant odor. Diagnosing the cause of vaginitis involves a simple examination of the vaginal fluid under a microscope or sending the sample to a laboratory for a culture.

How do I prepare for the test?

Because douches or vaginal creams can make it hard for the doctor to interpret test results, don't use these products before the test. No other preparation is necessary.

What happens when the test is performed?

You'll have a pelvic examination. The doctor uses a cotton swab to collect a sample of the fluid that moistens the lining of the vagina. This swab is rubbed against two glass slides, and a small drop of fluid is placed on each slide to mix with the vaginal fluid. If your doctor is testing for infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia, he or she might use a second cotton swab to take a sample of mucus from the middle of the cervix.

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