A vaginal health test is used to help your doctor evaluate whether you have a bacterial or yeast infection. A bacterial infection happens when the normal balance of bacteria in your vagina is disrupted, allowing more “bad” bacteria to grow than “good” bacteria. It isn’t common, but it can be serious. Untreated BV can increase your risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like HIV, chlamydia, or herpes.
How to Use an At-Home Vaginal pH Test
Bacterial vaginosis testing involves collecting a sample of your discharge, then looking at it under a microscope. A healthcare provider uses a special tool called a speculum to gently widen your vagina and collect a sample of discharge.
The sample is then looked at under a microscope for signs of infection, including bacteria, white blood cells, and clue cells. If the white cells or clue cells are fuzzy, this indicates a bacterial infection. If the sample smells fishy, this is another indicator of a bacterial infection.
Yeast infections, or vaginal candidiasis, are caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. This fungus normally lives in your body and doesn’t cause problems, but when the environment inside your vagina changes, it can get out of control and cause an infection.
There are two different types of tests you can have to diagnose a bacterial or yeast infection: a wet mount and a whiff test. In a wet mount, your discharge is placed on a glass slide and mixed with a salt solution, then examined under a microscope to look for signs of infection.