Vagina Tests Doctors Recommend Most

In This Post: 

  • What is the wet mount procedure?

  • Yeast infection (vaginal)

  • Decoding the Vaginal Microbiome

What is the wet mount procedure?

Medical News Today – A vaginal wet mount test, or vaginal smear, is a gynecological exam.

The doctor takes a sample of discharge and sends it for testing. Results can show whether a person has vaginitis, which is a term for a range of infections and other issues.

A doctor may recommend a wet mount test if a person reports vaginal symptoms, including:

  • itching
  • odor
  • pain
  • unusual discharge

In this article, we explore the wet mount procedure and the issues it can help to diagnose.

We also describe how to prepare, what to expect during the test, and what results can show.

Finally, we look at treating and preventing various types of vaginitis.

Why is vaginal wet mount testing done?

If vaginitis is suspected, then a wet mount test may be used.
A doctor will use this test when they suspect that a person has vaginitis.

Healthcare professionals also use the test when screening for some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and collecting evidence related to sexual assault.

Authors of a study from 2015 found wet mount testing to be more effective at diagnosing vaginosis than simpler and quicker methods, such as pH and standard culture testing.

The authors also concluded that results of vaginal fluid mount microscopy were better able to determine the best course of treatment and prevent recurrent infections.

Symptoms of vaginitis

Vaginitis causes inflammation of the vagina. This is often the result of infection or an imbalance of vaginal bacteria … Read more. 

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Yeast infection (vaginal)

Jul 16, 2019

Mayo Clinic – To diagnose a yeast infection, your doctor may:

  • Ask questions about your medical history. This might include gathering information about past vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections.
  • Perform a pelvic exam. Your doctor examines your external genitals for signs of infection. Next, your doctor places an instrument (speculum) into your vagina to hold the vaginal walls open to examine the vagina and cervix — the lower, narrower part of your uterus.
  • Test vaginal secretions. Your doctor may send a sample of vaginal fluid for testing to determine the type of fungus causing the yeast infection. Identifying the fungus can help your doctor prescribe more effective treatment for recurrent yeast infections.

For mild to moderate symptoms and infrequent episodes, your doctor might recommend:

  • Short-course vaginal therapy. Taking an antifungal medication … READ MORE. 

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Decoding the Vaginal Microbiome

Feb 28, 2020

Scientific American – Mention the term microbiome, and most people will quickly think of the gut, probiotics and maybe even fecal microbial transplantation.

But it actually refers to the all of the genetic material found in the microbes that live on and in the human body, including yeasts, bacteria and viruses.

The vagina has a microbiome, too—even if research on it is lagging behind that done on the microbiomes of other parts of the body.

Progress in this area may soon speed up, however, because on Wednesday, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced a new tool that maps the vaginal microbiome with unprecedented resolution.

Named VIRGO (which stands for Human Vaginal Non-redundant Gene Catalog), it is the culmination of data collected from many different studies conducted over the past decade.

The tool includes the sequences of roughly one million genes in bacteria, viruses and fungi that are active in the vagina.

“The effort will be important for accelerating discoveries into new diagnostic tests and treatments [for vaginal health conditions],” says Jennifer Fettweis, a microbiologist and director of the Vaginal Human Microbiome Project at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Fettweis, who was not involved with the new study, explains that the publicly available VIRGO database will help accelerate progress in the field. “I think what [the paper’s authors have] done here is really important on that front,” she says.

Research efforts over the past decade, including the Human Microbiome Project, have illuminated the extent to which microbes inhabit our bodies.

Current estimates show that there are roughly the same number of bacterial cells in the body as human cells.

And these bacterial cells are not just passively sitting around. In the gut, microbes are involved in a variety of essential operations, such as digestion, immune system function and even the production of vitamins. Read more. 

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