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Endocervical culture

Vaginal culture; Female genital tract culture; Culture - cervix

 

Endocervical culture is a laboratory test that helps identify infection in the female genital tract.

How the Test is Performed

 

During a vaginal examination, the health care provider uses a swab to take samples of mucus and cells from the endocervix. This is the area around the opening of the uterus. The samples are sent to a lab. There, they are placed in a special dish (culture). They are then watched to see if bacteria, virus, or fungus grow. Further tests may be done to identify the specific organism and determine the best treatment.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

In the 2 days before the procedure:

  • Do NOT use creams or other medicines in the vagina.
  • Do NOT douche. (You should never douche. Douching can cause infection of the vagina or uterus.)
  • Empty your bladder and bowel.
  • At your provider’s office, follow instructions for preparing for the vaginal exam.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

You will feel some pressure from the speculum. This is an instrument inserted into the vagina to hold the area open so that the provider can view the cervix and collect the samples. There may be a slight cramping when the swab touches the cervix.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

The test may be done to determine the cause of vaginitis, pelvic pain, an unusual vaginal discharge, or other signs of infection.

 

Normal Results

 

Organisms that are usually present in the vagina are there in the expected amounts.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

Abnormal results indicate the presence of an infection in the genital tract or urinary tract in women, such as:

  • Genital herpes
  • Chronic swelling and irritation of the urethra (urethritis)
  • Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Pelvic inflammatory disaese (PID)

 

Risks

 

There may be slight bleeding or spotting after the test. This is normal.

 

 

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Genital, Neisseria gonorrhoeae - culture. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:575-576.

Gardella C, Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Genital tract infections: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.

Text only

 
  • Female reproductive anatomy

    Female reproductive anatomy - illustration

    External structures of the female reproductive anatomy include the labium minora and majora, the vagina and the clitoris. Internal structures include the uterus, ovaries, and cervix.

    Female reproductive anatomy

    illustration

  • Uterus

    Uterus - illustration

    The uterus is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the bladder and rectum. The ovaries produce the eggs that travel through the fallopian tubes. Once the egg has left the ovary it can be fertilized and implant itself in the lining of the uterus. The main function of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus prior to birth.

    Uterus

    illustration

    • Female reproductive anatomy

      Female reproductive anatomy - illustration

      External structures of the female reproductive anatomy include the labium minora and majora, the vagina and the clitoris. Internal structures include the uterus, ovaries, and cervix.

      Female reproductive anatomy

      illustration

    • Uterus

      Uterus - illustration

      The uterus is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the bladder and rectum. The ovaries produce the eggs that travel through the fallopian tubes. Once the egg has left the ovary it can be fertilized and implant itself in the lining of the uterus. The main function of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus prior to birth.

      Uterus

      illustration

    Self Care

     

      Tests for Endocervical culture

       
       

      Review Date: 7/17/2017

      Reviewed By: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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