Download the PowerPoint

PowerPoint Contents

Author: Rebecca Buxton​

Citation: Rebecca Buxton. 2007. Examination of gram stains of vaginal secretions.​

Publication Date: February 2007​

Lactobacillus species (Enlarged view)​
Slide 1. Normal vaginal secretions​
This specimen of vaginal fluid contains epithelial cells and many gram-positive bacilli that are Lactobacillus species, a major part of the normal vaginal flora. The lack of neutrophils and the presence of normal epithelial cells suggest that inflammation is absent.​

Gardnerella vaginalis (Enlarged view)​
Slide 2. Bacterial vaginosis​

This epithelial cell is a "clue cell" to which large numbers of Gardnerella vaginalis adhere. The presence of clue cells is an important criterion in diagnosing bacterial vaginosis, apparently a synergistic infection involving G. vaginalis and anaerobic bacteria. Gardnerella vaginalis frequently stains gram-variable, as does Mobiluncus curtisii, an anaerobic bacterium often associated with bacterial vaginosis and visible here as gram-positive curved rods.​

Mobiluncus mulieris (Enlarged view)​
Slide. 3. Bacterial vaginosis​

Several curved gram-negative bacilli are on and near a vaginal epithelial cell to which small gram-positive bacilli also adhere. The gram-negative ​
rods are Mobiluncus mulieris, bacteria often present in the secretions of patients with bacterial vaginosis.​

Trichomonas vaginalis (Enlarged view)​
Slide 4. Trichomonas vaginalis ​

This Gram-stained specimen shows a large oval organism with an axostyle, which is a supporting rod running through the body of a trichomonad and ​
protruding posteriorly. Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan that causes vaginitis, is usually more easily detected on a wet mount than on a Gram stain.​

Trichomonas vaginalis (Enlarged view)​
Slide 5. Trichomonas vaginalis (wet prep)​

In this wet mount, a specimen of discharge was mixed with a drop of 0.9% NaCl and viewed under a coverslip. Several oval organisms with flagella ​
are visible. Trichomonads are often larger than neutrophils (white blood cells) and, on a wet mount, often move with a jerky motion across ​
the microscopic field.

Candida albicans (Enlarged view)​
Slide 6. Candida albicans​

Wet mounts as well as Gram stains can be used to detect yeasts such as Candida albicans, shown here with budding pseudohyphae.​

Contact Information

ASM Education,