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Culture - endocervix
Endocervical culture is a laboratory test that helps identify infection in the female genital tract.
- Alternative Names
Vaginal culture; Female genital tract culture; Culture - cervix; Endocervical culture
- How the test is performed
During a vaginal examination, the health care provider takes a scraping of mucus and cells from the opening of the uterus, an area called the endocervix. The samples are placed on slides or a special dish, called a culture medium, or both, depending on the suspected cause of infection.
The laboratory team checks the slides or dish at different time periods to see if a bacteria, virus, or fungus has grown. Further tests may be done to identify the specific organism and determine the best treatment.
- How to prepare for the test
To prepare for a vaginal examination:
- Do not use any vaginal medication or douche before the exam (douching should always be avoided due to risk for uterine and tubal infections).
- Empty your bladder (an empty bowel is also preferable).
- Take off your clothes from the waist down.
- Place your feet in the stirrups on the examination table.
- Cover your lower body with the drape or sheet provided.
- How the test will feel
- Why the test is performed
- Normal Values
Organisms that are usually present in the vagina are there in the expected amounts.
- What abnormal results mean
- What the risks are
There are no risks.
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.
Review Date: 11/12/2007
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.