To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may:

  • Ask questions about your medical history. 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 vagina for signs of infection, and inserts two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen with the other hand to check your pelvic organs for signs 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.
  • Test your vaginal pH. Your doctor may check the acidity of your vagina by placing a pH test strip in your vagina. A vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher is a sign of bacterial vaginosis.
April 27, 2016
  1. CDC fact sheet: Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  2. Bacterial vaginosis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/bacterialvaginosis/pages/default.aspx. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  3. Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Jan. 13, 2016.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Jan. 12, 2016.
  6. STD treatment guidelines 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  7. Sobel JD. Bacterial vaginosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  8. Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Womenshealth.gov. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/bacterial-vaginosis.cfm. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  9. Flagyl (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2010. http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=570. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  10. Cleocin (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2005. http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=627. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  11. Tindamax (prescribing information). San Antonio, Texas: Mission Pharma; 2004. http://www.missionpharmacal.com/Global_Content/Package_Inserts/Tindamax.pdf. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.