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Female reproductive anatomy
Female reproductive anatomy


The wet mount vaginitis test
The wet mount vaginitis test


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Uterus


Pap smear
Pap smear


Definition:

The vaginitis wet mount test is a test to detect an infection of the vagina that does not involve the urinary tract.

See also: Vaginitis



Alternative Names:

Wet prep



How the test is performed:

You will be asked to lie on your back with your feet in the stirrups. The health care provider will perform a pelvic examination and then insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina. The speculum is slightly opened. This holds the vagina open and allows the health care provider to see inside.

The health care provider inserts a sterile, moist cotton swab into the vagina to take a sample of discharge. The swab and speculum are removed. The discharge is placed onto a slide and placed under a microscope so that it can be checked for signs of infection.



How to prepare for the test:

Do not douche for 24 hours before the test.



How the test will feel:

There may be slight discomfort with the pelvic examination and when the speculum is inserted.



Why the test is performed:

The test looks for the cause of vaginal irritation and discharge.



Normal Values:

A normal test result means there are no signs of an infection.



What abnormal results mean:

Abnormal results mean there is an infection. The most common infections are due to one or a combination of the following:

  • Bacterial vaginosis -- bacteria that normally live in the vagina overgrow, causing a heavy, white, fishy-smelling discharge and possibly a rash, painful intercourse, or odor after intercourse
  • Trichomoniasis -- a sexually transmitted disease
  • Vaginal yeast infection

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:



What the risks are:

There are no risks associated with this test.



Special considerations:

For information on treatment and prevention, please see the article on vaginitis .



References:

Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap. 22.




Review Date: 5/2/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine; Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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