Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Your health care practitioner will ask about your symptoms
and perform a physical exam. Urine tests and samples of any discharge will likely be done.
You may be asked questions including the following:
When did this condition begin? Has the discharge been the same throughout the month?
What does the discharge look like? What color and consistency? Is there an odor?
Do you have pain, itching, or burning?
Does your sexual partner, if you have one, have discharge from his penis?
Do you have many sexual partners?
Do you use condoms?
What helps relieve the discharge? Do you take frequent baths? Have you tried over-the-counter medications? Douching?
What other symptoms do you have?
What medications do you take for all conditions?
Have you changed detergents or soaps you use?
Do you often wear tight underwear or pants/jeans?
During the pelvic examination, the doctor will inspect
your vagina and cervix for any discharge or sores. During the pelvic
examination, the doctor will determine the size and location of the uterus and
cervix. The doctor will assess if you have pain or tenderness on movement of
the cervix and uterus, or in the areas next to the uterus, which correspond to
the Fallopian tubes and
During the vaginal examination, a speculum is
introduced into the vagina to see the cervix. Swabs will be taken of
any discharge to determine if the infection is fungal (yeast), protozoan
(trichomoniasis), or bacterial (bacterial vaginosis). Your health care
provider can examine a sample of vaginal discharge under a microscope to detect the presence of the organisms associated with
In some cases, a Pap test will be performed to exclude the possibility of
This test is sent to the laboratory, and results are usually
obtained within one week.
A colposcopy or biopsy might be recommended if your cervix appears
abnormal. Colposcopy uses a lighted microscope to get a magnified view of the
surface of the cervix. In a biopsy, a tissue sample is taken for testing.
Certain blood tests can detect antibodies to the yeast-infection causing
Candida albicans. This test is not very reliable and is only useful in people
who have an infection that affects their whole body.
If trichomonas is present, and confirmed by laboratory tests, your doctor
may do more tests for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).