August 19, 2023

What Does a Cervical Culture Test For?

If you have abnormal vaginal discharge that has changed in colour, odour or quantity, pelvic pain or sores on the genital area, you may need a cervical culture test to figure out what is causing these symptoms. A cervical culture test is a laboratory analysis that helps your doctor decide how best to treat the infection.

A bacterial vaginitis test can be done by swabbing your endocervical canal with a cotton swab. A healthcare provider inserts a tool called a speculum into your vagina, which may be covered with lubricant to make it easier to swab. This is not painful, but you might feel some pressure or a sensation of coldness during the swabbing. The swab is then sent to the lab, and the bacteria are grown in a dish to see what they are.

The most common bacterial infections that can be tested for with the swab are trichomonas vaginalis, Group A streptococcus and candida. The swab can also be tested with the NAMP test for Neisseria gonorrhoea and chlamydia. A gram stain of the endocervical mucous can also be helpful. However, it is insensitive and should not replace a culture and sensitivity test.

A PET scan or an MRI scan can help your doctor find out whether cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes. For a PET scan, a slightly radioactive form of sugar collects in cancer cells and shows up on the scan. Often a PET scan is combined with a CT scan to get a more detailed picture. Intravenous urography, an X-ray of the urinary tract taken after a dye is injected into a vein, can help your doctor see the changes caused by cancer spreading to your kidneys and ureters.


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