Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may:
- Ask questions about your medical history. Specifically, your doctor may ask about any previous vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections.
- Perform a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor visually examines your external genitalia for signs of vaginal infection and inserts two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen with the other hand to check your pelvic organs for unusual characteristics that may indicate disease.
- Take a sample of vaginal secretions. This may be done to check for an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in your vaginal flora. Your doctor may examine the vaginal secretions under a microscope, looking for "clue cells," vaginal cells covered with bacteria that are a sign of bacterial vaginosis. Your doctor may also check the acidity of your vaginal environment by placing a pH test strip in your vagina. A vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher is another sign of bacterial vaginosis.
- CDC fact sheet: Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Bacterial vaginosis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/bacterialvaginosis/pages/default.aspx. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Bacterial vaginosis (BV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/default.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Gynecology. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 72. Vaginitis. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2006;107:1195. Reaffirmed 2011.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ028. Vaginitis. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq028.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130319T1944039856. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- STD treatment guidelines 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Sobel JD. Bacterial vaginosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Womenshealth.gov. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/bacterial-vaginosis.cfm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Flagyl (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2010. http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=570. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Cleocin (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2005. http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=627. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Tindamax (prescribing information). San Antonio, Texas: Mission Pharma; 2004.http://www.missionpharmacal.com/Global_Content/Package_Inserts/Tindamax.pdf. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 26, 2013.
- Thielen JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2013.