Good and poor flora
The microflora of the vagina is a collection of microorganisms that inhabit it. Each woman has her own, so someone else's hygiene items are strictly forbidden (this has been taught to us since childhood). But the laws of nature for all act the same, and that's what they're talking about.
Normally, the woman's vagina (as well as the cervix and urethra) colonize lactobacilli that produce lactic acid. Acidic medium is unfavorable for the reproduction and life of other (pathogenic) microorganisms and is a natural protection against such undesirable factors. Lactobacillus is also called Doderlein chopsticks, lactobacilli or lactomorphs, and in analysis (smear on the flora) they are defined simply as sticks. However, in our flora they are not alone.
In each vagina there is also a conditionally pathogenic flora. These are potentially dangerous microorganisms that are activated only under certain circumstances: stress, a decrease in the immune functions of the body, the intake of certain medications (antibacterial drugs, contraceptive pills), changes in the hormonal background of women (in pregnancy, diabetes or infectious diseases) and others. To the conditionally pathogenic flora are various Kokki (Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Peptococcus, Peptostreptococcus), Gardnerelli (cause bacterial vaginosis), Candida fungi (cause candidiasis, or thrush), Enterobacteria, Bacteroides, Dipheteroid, Fusobacteria and others.
But the most dangerous for a woman, especially during pregnancy, are pathogens that enter the vagina from the outside (most often due to infection during intercourse) and begin to multiply rapidly here. The most famous of such hostile bacteria are Trichomonas (cause the development of trichomoniasis), Gonococci (provoke gonorrhea), human papillomavirus, herpes and other viruses. And that's exactly what they are looking for first (and also check the number of conditionally pathogenic microorganisms) when they take a smear on the flora during pregnancy. It helps to determine the type and quantity of bacteria, which is the decisive factor in the treatment.
By the way, mycoplasmas, ureaplasma and chlamydia can be determined only by sowing on hidden infections. A smear on the flora during pregnancy does not reveal these diseases. And in general, it is a preliminary study, after which, in case of detection of pathogenic flora, it is necessary to sow crops.
Why is it so important?
A smear on the flora during pregnancy is mandatory, at least twice for the entire period of gestation of the baby. The first time - when the pregnant woman was registered in a women's consultation, to make sure of its "purity". And the point here is not only that the future mother should be as healthy as possible in all senses in order to produce a strong offspring. Vaginal infections and diseases often cause miscarriage and provoke premature birth. In the case of preservation, the fetus can be susceptible to the pathogenic effects of microbes and viruses, that is, its intrauterine infection occurs. And during the passage of the birth canal - get a sore from the mother. The woman herself is at high risk during pregnancy and after childbirth. Therefore, in the third trimester (usually, on the 30th week) a smear on the flora during pregnancy is taken repeatedly.
If a pregnant woman experiences discomfort and pain in the genital area (burning, itching, swelling, redness), observing "suspicious" vaginal discharge or fever, and also experiencing unpleasant sensations in the lower abdomen, then a smear on the flora during pregnancy should be urgently handed over unscheduled.
How is the analysis done?
If you know (and now you know) that a gynecologist will take a smear in your flora, you should prepare for the analysis. To do this is very simple: you just refrain from sex for two days before giving up the smear and do not use any means in this area at that time: candles, tablets, ointments, creams, alkaline detergents (very foaming gels for washing).
Also remember that it is better to refrain from urinating 2 hours before taking the smear, but with a full bladder, go to the gynecologist's examination also is not worth it.
During the examination, the doctor will remove the scraping of vaginal mucus with a sterile stick (Volkmann spoon) and apply it to a so-called slide glass. Then, in the laboratory, after complete drying of the secret, it will be covered with special dyes and examined under a microscope. This procedure allows you to see the flora of your vagina and assess its purity.
Degree of purity
How normal is your microflora, microbiologists make conclusions, indicating the state of the biocenosis or "the degree of purity of the vagina" - from the first to the fourth.
The first says about an almost ideal vaginal environment, in which, as it should be, useful lactobacilli live. Such an analysis will detect in the smear only sticks, epithelial cells in small amounts and, possibly, single white blood cells.
At the second degree some gram-negative (conditionally pathogenic) bacteria are detected in small amounts. At the third degree, pathogenic bacteria predominate over natural fermented milk. And at the fourth degree the flora of the vagina consists only of pathogenic microorganisms and a large number of leukocytes - the inflammatory process is in full swing.
As the transition from the first to the fourth degree of purity of the vagina changes its environment - from acidic to alkaline. This indicates a decrease in the number of beneficial lactobacilli.
Do not be confused by the detection of single leukocytes in the smear: they are normally present in mucus in a small amount (up to 15 white blood cells in the field of vision, or up to 10 - in the vaginal mucus and up to 30 - in the cervical). The cause for concern should be an increase in their level, Since white blood cells always rush into the lesion to fight infection. That is, the increase in the number of leukocytes in the smear on the flora during pregnancy speaks of the course of the inflammatory process.
Another proof of this is the presence of a large amount of flat epithelium, because with infections the cells die faster than usual.
The so-called "key cells" that are formed during the development of STDs will also tell about infection.
The filaments of the mycelium in the smear speak of the development of thrush. But the final diagnosis of a gynecologist will be delivered to you only after receiving the results of additional research - sowing.
If a smear on the flora during pregnancy has detected pathogenic microorganisms, they will have to be exterminated, and it is possible that with the help of antibiotics. In this case, the doctor will refer you to additional studies - sowing on the definition of sensitivity to antibacterial drugs.
Of course, treatment will not necessarily be so aggressive - it all depends on the type of disease and the stage of its development. But nevertheless, it should be passed in any case, since the risks with untreated sexual infections during pregnancy are very high.