Introduction Although a speculum is generally recommended to aid the taking of swabs for microscopy in women with vaginal discharge, many women dislike this and ask for a blind swab, in which a plastic loop is inserted high into the vagina to take a sample. We have agreed to this for some women and have therefore retrospectively looked at the diagnostic rates for each method.
Methods We looked at 150 consecutive women clinically coded as ‘TS’ (microscopy performed) in 2015 and 2016 and looked at the proportion of women tested by each method and the vaginal-discharge-causing infections diagnosed.
Results In 2015, 129 women had clear documentation of the method used of which 120 (93%) where speculum-taken and 9 (7%) were ‘blind’. In 2016, of 101 women with documentation of the method used 52 (51%) were speculum-taken and 49 (49%) were ‘blind’. The diagnostic rates for each infection are given in the table.
Discussion The blind swab method appears to be accurate in the diagnosis of TV and possible BV, but is clearly inferior in the diagnosis of candida and mixed candida/BV infections.
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