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Genital Culture

A genital culture allows the organisms present in the vagina to grow to levels enabling identification.

The vagina is not sterile, but contains a mixture of aerobic, anaerobic, coliform, and skin bacteria, as well as a few fungi. Normally, these are in balance with no particular predominant organism.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are usually not included in a genital culture as both require special media to detect.

Significant growth of any one organism usually indicates a clinical or subclinical infection. Common types of overgrowth include:

  • Yeast (candida albicans)
  • Streptococcus
  • Gardnerella
  • E. Coli
  • Proteus

Normal Values*

Genital Culture Normal Vaginal Flora

*These are general values taken from a variety of sources. The actual normal values may vary from lab to lab and from one type of testing protocol to another.

Source: Operational Medicine 2001,  Health Care in Military Settings, NAVMED P-5139, May 1, 2001, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Department of the Navy, 2300 E Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20372-5300