Laboratory microscopic examination characterizing the microflora of the vagina, cervix and urethra is a smear on the flora. This test is also called bacterioscopy, a vaginal swab, or just a general swab. The gynecologist applies the resulting biomaterial to glass and stains with special solutions. In the laboratory, white blood cells, red blood cells, the composition of the microflora are studied.
With the help of analysis, the doctor can detect lactobacilli, trichomonads, fungus and gonococci. A smear on diseases of the urogenital sphere is an informative diagnostic method, thanks to which it is possible to identify not only inflammatory processes, but also prevent oncology.
Types of vaginal smears
Doctors distinguish three types of smears that are taken from the vagina: a smear on the flora of oncocytology and latent infections. The most common analysis is bacterioscopy, because with its help a gynecologist can determine the "purity" of the vagina, detect serious gynecological diseases (thrush, cervicitis, vaginosis, vaginitis) and pathological changes. Using a smear on the flora, you can diagnose diseases that are transmitted during intimacy, for example, trichomoniasis and gonorrhea.
The essence of the analysis is that various microorganisms can undergo staining due to exposure to antibiotics and other drugs. As a result of a change in the color of the biomaterial, the specialist identifies gram-negative (practically insensitive to medicines) and gram-positive (characterized by a strong sensitivity to drugs) microorganisms. Gram-negative organisms are considered the most dangerous because they cause gynecological diseases in women.
The laboratory assistant examines the samples taken under a microscope and calculates the number of identically stained microorganisms, red blood cells, white blood cells, and bacteria. The specialist indicates the parameters, shape and location of bacteria and other indicators. Together with a common smear, women are sown on microflora (it can be used to determine the type and genus of bacteria).
Pap test or smear for oncocytology is performed to detect benign and malignant tumors in the uterus. Thanks to this analysis, it is possible to determine inflammatory processes, pathological neoplasms and dysplasia of the inner layer of the uterus. Gynecologists recommend that women take a pap test at least 1 time per year.
If you suspect inflammation of the cervical canal, menstrual irregularities, diabetes mellitus, infertility, obesity, the doctor must prescribe an oncocytological examination. If a woman plans to become pregnant or takes drugs that include hormones, it is also advisable to take a smear for oncocytology. If there are papilloma viruses (condylomas) and genital herpes in the human body, the gynecologist immediately sends the patient to a pap test.
The analysis of latent infectious diseases in modern gynecology is considered to be very informative, since it immediately identifies the infectious agent. Based on the results of this smear, the doctor can accurately diagnose and begin immediate complex treatment. Asymptomatic latent diseases are the most dangerous, since they can occur in the female body for several months, and then dramatically cause serious complications. If you do not treat hidden infections, then a woman can become infertile.
Indications for the procedure (smear on the flora)
Indications for the delivery of a general smear are:
- planning the conception of a child;
- pregnancy of a woman;
- scheduled examination by a doctor;
- therapy with hormones, antibiotics, cytostatics, corticosteroids, antitumor drugs for a long period of time;
- pain in the lower abdomen;
- unpleasant vaginal discharge;
- itching during intercourse.
Gynecologists recommend taking a smear on the flora when changing a sexual partner and pain during intimacy with a man. Analysis is needed in order to diagnose gynecological diseases of the genital area and to detect inflammatory processes in the early stages. It is advisable to visit the doctor every six months to conduct a routine examination and pass the most important tests.
Preparation for the procedure
A smear on the flora is given taking into account the menstrual cycle: it is recommended to take the biomaterial several days before the start of menstruation or 3-4 days after their end. Before manipulation, the use of vaginal suppositories, ointments, gels and tampons is prohibited. A woman should stop douching for several days.
If the patient has inflammation, which is accompanied by strong discharge from the uterus, you must first recover and only then come for bacterioscopy. 2-3 days before the day of taking a smear on the flora, you need to refrain from intimate intimacy with a man. It is not recommended to use means for intimate hygiene 1 day before the manipulation. It is undesirable to empty the bladder before the procedure. It is not required to switch to dietary food and to refrain from playing sports from the patient.
Features of putting a smear on the flora
Before the general smear is taken, a woman should undergo a checkup by a gynecologist, during which the doctor visually assesses the vaginal walls and scrapes the biomaterial from the external opening of the urinary canal, vagina and cervix with a sterile spatula. The doctor evenly distributes the resulting sample over the glass. The specialist must smear the material obtained on the glass surface so that the laboratory technician can properly examine the sample.
Biomaterial from different sites should be located on the glass separately from each other. On the other side of the glass, the doctor makes special notes about where the material was taken from. After the glass has dried, health workers take it to the laboratory for further research.
During the manipulation, the patient should not be very painful, but discomfort can be felt.
Duration of taking a smear takes from 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes. The results of the analysis will be ready the next day.
Deciphering the results
Normal indicators of a general smear are: no more than 15 squamous cells (deviation upward indicates inflammation, and to a lesser extent - hormonal failure), no more than 10 white blood cells in the vagina and no more than 30 white blood cells in the cervix, there should be a lot of Dederlein rods , as if there is a deviation from the norm, the doctor will diagnose a violation of the microflora of the vagina.
The smear should have a moderate amount of mucus. Excessive discharge is a sign of inflammation and infection. Fungi and harmful microorganisms in the biomaterial should not be observed, otherwise their presence indicates gynecological diseases. There are also 4 degrees of “purity” of the vagina: the first and second are a normal indicator, and the third and fourth are a sign of genital tract disease.
After obtaining the results of bacterioscopy, the patient is sent to the attending physician. The specialist studies the medical history, the results and, if necessary, sends them to additional studies. The gynecologist makes an accurate diagnosis and prescribes a course of therapy. After treatment, it is recommended to come to the doctor again for examination and pass a second smear on the flora.