Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the characteristics of normal vaginal fluid?

Answer:

Vaginal fluid can be described in terms of its microscopic and chemical features and its normal microbial flora. Normal vaginal fluid is white and generally not malodorous.
The normal pH is around 4.0. Microscopically it contains squamous epithelial cells and bacteria, but no white blood cells or red blood cells. The principal organisms are lactobacilli. Lactobacilli (also called Döderlein’s bacilli) are aerobic gram-variable rods. The vagina also contains gram-negative bacteria as well as anaerobes. Vaginitis is caused by alterations in the normal flora (bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis) or by an outside organism (trichomoniasis).

Reference: Stenchever MA, Droegemueller W, Herbst AL, Mishell DR (eds): Comprehensive Gynecology, 4th ed. St. Louis, Mosby, 2001.

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