Microbiology Test

Genital culture

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Apr 11, 2014
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Test : Genital culture

Indications : A genital culture is done to find out the cause of -

Vaginal inflammation
Pelvic pain
Unusual vaginal discharge
Other signs of infection

A cotton swab is used to take a vaginal sample which includes mucus and cells from the endocervix (an area near the mouth of the uterus). The sample is then transferred to a culture dish containing a special media that enables the organisms present in the samples to grow in numbers, and thereby facilitate their identification.

Make sure you do not douche or use creams or medicines in the vagina two days before the procedure is carried out. Also, empty your bladder and bowel prior to the test.

Physiology : Genital culture is a laboratory test that is carried out to detect infections of the female genital tract.

The vagina is non- sterile and is a hot bed of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and a few fungi. Under normal conditions, the ratio of these organisms is found in balance. When any one organism gains dominance over the rest, it could lead to a clinical or subclinical condition.

Vaginal infection is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Gardnerella vaginalis, Candida sp., Staphylococcus sp, Treponema pallidum, Trichomonas vaginalis, Mobiluncus sp, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Chlamydia trachomatis, Herpes simplex virus, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Enterobius vermicularis, Giardia lamblia, and a few other anaerobic bacteria.

Other organisms that are involved in genital tract infections in females include Streptococcus, E. coli and Proteus.

Normal Range : sterile fluid (no microorganisms in culture)

Interpretation : Normal

Micro organisms that make up the normal vaginal flora will be present in expected numbers.

Abnormal

Abnormal numbers of infectious organisms (mentioned above) will be seen in the culture. This indicates the presence of a urinary or genital tract infection such as -

Urethritis
Vulvovaginitis
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Further tests may have to be conducted to identify the causative organism and to enable the best treatment.

The genital culture cannot help to identify chlamydia and gonorrhea - causing bacteria as both these require some other special media to be employed.

Sample : Swab of vagina, cervix, discharge, aspirated endocervical, endometrial, prostatic fluid or urethral discharge.

Test Method : Aerobic culture

Related Tests : Chlamydia trachomatis, Genital culture, RPR, VDRL

References : +



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