Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may:

  • Ask questions about your medical history. Specifically, 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 external genitalia for signs of vaginal infection and inserts two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen with the other hand to check your pelvic organs for unusual characteristics 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. Your doctor may also check the acidity of your vaginal environment by placing a pH test strip in your vagina. A vaginal pH of 4.5 or higher is another sign of bacterial vaginosis.
April 20, 2013