Date of Award
Linda Samia PhD, RN
vaginitis, vaginal exam, self-collected swab, diagnostic screening
Vaginitis is the most common gynecological problem seen in primary care. It is estimated to account for 10 million primary care visits each year. The most common causes of vaginitis - responsible for up to 90% of cases - are bacterial vaginosis (BV), vaginal candidiasis (“yeast infections”), and trichomoniasis. The purpose of this evidence-based project was to evaluate whether self-collected vaginal swabs are as accurate as those collected by a provider during a speculum exam in the diagnosis of BV, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis.
In order to appropriately diagnose and treat vaginitis, samples from a vaginal swab are often required. These are most frequently collected by a provider through a speculum exam. However, speculum exams are invasive and may be a barrier to care for some patients. They can be especially problematic for patients with a history of trauma or in younger or non-sexually active patients. However, undiagnosed and untreated some causes of vaginitis may lead to complications such a preterm labor, pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometriosis.
Evidence for diagnostic efficacy of self-collected swabs for BV, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis was appraised using systematic methods. Results suggest that self-swabs for these conditions are equally reliable as provider obtained swabs. Dissemination of these findings may help to reduce barriers to care for our patients while providing equally safe and effective diagnostic screenings.
Chase, Anna, "Accuracy of Self-collected Vaginal Swabs in the Diagnosis of Bacterial Vaginosis, Vaginal Candidiasis, and Trichomoniasis" (2019). Thinking Matters Symposium. 203.