Diagnosis of BV requires a vaginal exam by a qualified healthcare provider and the laboratory testing of fluid collected from the vagina.1,2,3
An examination to diagnose BV is similar to a regular gynecological checkup. While performing the examination, your healthcare provider will visually examine your vagina for signs of BV, which include increased vaginal discharge that has a white or gray color.
Your healthcare provider will also collect a small amount of your vaginal fluid with a wooden spatula or cotton-tipped applicator. The sample will be tested in a laboratory for the diagnosis of BV.
An accurate diagnosis of BV is important because it will help the provider determine whether you have BV or some other infection, such as a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia.
To ensure an accurate diagnosis, healthcare providers usually ask that you:
- Do not douche for 24 hours before your exam.
- Do not use anything that might irritate your vagina, like vaginal sprays.
- Do not have sex during the 24 hours before your exam.
- Do not put anything in your vagina, including a tampon, before seeing the health care provider.
- Do not schedule your examination while you are menstruating.