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Alternative Names Return to topVaginal culture; Female genital tract culture; Culture - cervix; Endocervical culture
Definition Return to top
Endocervical culture is a laboratory test that examines samples from the endocervix (opening to the uterus) to isolate and identify infection-causing organisms in the female genital tract.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
During a vaginal examination, the health care provider takes a scraping of mucus and cells from the endocervix (the opening of the uterus). Smears are placed on slides or culture media (or both) depending on the suspected cause of infection.
The specimens are observed for growth and examined under a microscope. Special stains or other substances may be used to identify specific bacteria or other organisms.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
To prepare for a vaginal examination:
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
You will feel some pressure from the speculum, an instrument inserted into the vagina to hold the area open so that the health care provider can look at the cervix and collect the specimen. There may be a slight cramping sensation when the swab touches the cervix.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
The test may be performed to determine the cause of vaginitis, an unusual vaginal discharge, or other signs of infection. It is also used to screen for sexually transmitted diseases.
Normal Results Return to top
Organisms that are usually present in the vagina are there in the expected amounts.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal results indicate the presence of an infection in the female genital tract.
Culture can detect:
Other conditions under which the test may be done:
Risks Return to top
There are no risks.Update Date: 11/12/2007 Updated by: Arnold L. Lentnek, M.D., Division of Infectious Disease, Kennestone Hospital, Marietta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.