What is a Vaginal Fluid Analysis Test and Do I Need One?

If you are experiencing vaginal problems that doctors have been unable to diagnose, you may want to consider getting a vaginal fluid analysis test.  

What Is A Vaginal Fluid Analysis Test?

The vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test provides a breakdown of the characteristics and quantity of the constituents of the vaginal fluid.  The VFA test is a comprehensive tool that delivers more information than the wet-prep test traditionally used to test for vaginitis.  

The VFA test was developed by board-certified gynecologist Dr. R. Stuart Fowler of Fowler GYN International, formerly of the Mayo Clinic.

The VFA test determines if the vaginal microflora is normal and healthy or is in an altered state. 

Before taking a closer look at the VFA test, it would be helpful to understand the vaginal microflora and find out how it contributes to vaginal health. 

What Is the Vaginal Microflora?

The vaginal microflora or vaginal microbiome refers to species of bacteria that make their home in the vagina.  There are 30+ strains of bacteria and other microorganisms in the vagina.

A healthy vaginal microflora is dominated by a variety of ‘good’ bacteria known as lactobacilli.   Lactobacilli provides a protective defense against infections and produces lactic acid, which keeps the vagina at a mildly acidic level. These functions are essential to vaginal health because bad bacteria and other pathogens flourish when the pH level is more alkaline. 

Problems arise when there is a change in the vaginal milieu, which causes the vaginal pH to shift towards alkaline.   When this happens, yeast, bad bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms that prefer an alkaline environment can multiply, resulting in an abnormal vaginal microflora pattern.  

Changes in the characteristics of the vaginal microbiome also affect the vaginal secretions.  Vaginal secretions that emanate from an altered microflora can irritate the tissues of the vaginal opening and cause various symptoms such as   vulva pain, itching, burning, odor, rawness, urinary urgency, urinary frequency, and chronic discharge. 

What Does The VFA Test Involve?

The VFA test involves taking a small specimen of vaginal fluid and adding chemicals and stains to reveal specific features.  The resulting fluids are injected into micro-plastic grids, and the slides are examined under a phase-contrast microscope.  

The VFA test examines the vaginal constituents and looks at the quantity and concentration of good bacteria, the concentration of bad bacteria, the maturation stage of the squamous cells present, the concentration levels of squamous cells, the type and percentage of white blood cells present (if any, and the relative concentration of yeast present (if any).  The results will confirm if the vaginal microflora is healthy or in an altered state. 

Do You Need A VFA Test?

If you are experiencing recurrent vaginal yeast or bacterial infections or symptoms such as unexplained vulva pain or chronic vaginal discharge or odor, you may need a VFA test.  

A VFA test is recommended for women with vaginal symptoms that they have been unable to get diagnosed.   

These vaginal issues are often associated with the presence of an altered vaginal microflora.  The VFA test will assist with making a proper diagnosis.  Once a diagnosis is made a customized treatment protocol can be implemented.   

FGI treats altered vaginal microflora patterns with vaginal rejuvenate therapy that consists of medications and hypocontactant skincare products.  The treatment protocol is designed to move the vaginal microflora towards normal.   

Take the Next Step

The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ regularly use the VFA test to diagnose and treat conditions caused by an altered vaginal microflora. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board certified gynecologist. 

You can reach them at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001. 

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