Endocervical Gram stain is a method to detect bacteria on tissue from the cervix. This is done using a special series of stains.
Gram stain of cervix; Gram stain of cervical secretions
How the Test is Performed
This test requires a sample of secretions from the lining of the cervical canal (the opening to the uterus).
You lie on your back with your feet in stirrups. The health care provider will insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina. This instrument is used during regular female pelvic exams. It opens the vagina to better view certain pelvic structures.
The swab is removed and sent to a laboratory, where it will be smeared on a slide. A series of stains called a Gram stain is applied to the sample. A laboratory technician looks at the stained smear under the microscope for the presence of bacteria. The color, size, and shape of the cells help identify the type of bacteria.
How to Prepare for the Test
DO NOT douche for 24 hours before the procedure.
How the Test will Feel
You may feel minor discomfort during specimen collection. This procedure feels very much like a routine
Why the Test is Performed
This test is used to detect and identify abnormal bacteria in the cervix area. If you develop signs of an infection or think that you have a sexually transmitted disease (such as gonorrhea), this test can help confirm the diagnosis. It can also identify the germ that is causing the infection.
This test is rarely done because it has been replaced with more accurate ones.
A normal result means no abnormal bacteria are seen in the sample.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal result may indicate:
- Bacterial vaginosis
Chlamydia Gonorrhea Yeast infection
The test may also be performed for
There is virtually no risk.
If you have gonorrhea or another sexually transmitted disease, it is very important that all of your sexual partners also receive treatment, even if they have no symptoms.
Marrazzo JM, Apicella MA. Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 214.
McCormack WM, Augenbraun MH. Vulvovaginitis and cervicitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 110.
Swygard H, Cohen MS. Approach to the patient with a sexually transmitted infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 285.
Review Date: 08/10/2018
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright ©2019 A.D.A.M., Inc., as modified by University of California San Francisco. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Information developed by A.D.A.M., Inc. regarding tests and test results may not directly correspond with information provided by UCSF Health. Please discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.