Evaluation of vaginal pH for detection of bacterial vaginosis.

The Indian journal of medical research

PubMedID: 24135180

Hemalatha R, Ramalaxmi BA, Swetha E, Balakrishna N, Mastromarino P. Evaluation of vaginal pH for detection of bacterial vaginosis. Indian J Med Res. 2013;138(3):354-9.
Background & objectives : Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is highly prevalent among women in reproductive age group. Little information exists on routine vaginal p H measurement in women with BV. We undertook this study to assess the utility of vaginal p H determination for initial evaluation of bacterial vaginosis. Methods : In this cross-sectional study vaginal swabs were collected from women with complaints of white discharge, back ache and pain abdomen attending a government hospital and a community health clinic, and subjected to vaginal p H determination, Gram stain, wet mount and whiff test. Nugent score and Amsel criteria were used for BV confirmation. Results : Of the 270 women included in the analysis, 154 had BV based on Nugents' score. The mean vaginal p H in women with BV measured by p H strips and p H glove was 5 and 4.9, respectively. The vaginal p H was significantly higher in women with BV. Vaginal discharge was prevalent in 84.8 per cent women, however, only 56.8 per cent of these actually had BV by Nugent score (NS). Presence of clue cells and positive whiff test were significant for BV. Vaginal p H >4.5 by p H strips and p H Glove had a sensitivity of 72 and 79 per cent and specificity of 60 and 53 per cent, respectively to detect BV. Among the combination criteria, clue cells and glove p H >4.5 had highest sensitivity and specificity to detect BV. Interpretation & conclusions : Vaginal p H determination is relatively sensitive, but less specific in detecting women with BV. Inclusion of whiff test along with p H test reduced the sensitivity, but improved specificity. Both, the p H strip and p H glove are equally suitable for screening women with BV on outpatient basis.