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Gardnerella is a type of bacteria that is associated with a vaginal infection called bacterial vaginosis. Although many women with a gardnerella infection do not experience any symptoms, those that do often mistakenly believe they have a yeast infection and attempt to treat it with over-the-counter remedies rather than visiting the gynecologist for a diagnosis. If you have these vaginal infection symptoms, visit your doctor. Determining the proper diagnosis is essential for effective vaginal infection treatment.

A doctor trying to speak to a patient and calm her


Odor is one of the most defining characteristics of a gardnerella infection that sets it apart from other vaginal issues. The odor usually described as having a fishy odor. Your gynecologist may screen for this odor using a process called the whiff test. A small amount of vaginal discharge is placed on a slide and combined with a drop of potassium hydroxide. If this creates a fishy odor, gardnerella could be present.


Many type of vaginal infections cause a discharge, so your gynecologist will examine the type of discharge you have closely. Typically, bacterial vaginosis associated with gardnerella is thin and yellowish or white in color. This characteristic helps to distinguish between gardnerella and yeast infections, which usually cause a thicker, clumpier discharge. Gardnerella discharge is not usually accompanied by vaginal irritation, as the discharge caused by yeast infections often is. Your gynecologist may also test the pH of the discharge. Bacterial vaginosis causes a low acidity discharge with a pH higher than 4.5.

White Coating

A white coating frequently appears on the vaginal walls with this type of infection. Your gynecologist can identify this coating during a pelvic exam. Typically, patients are diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis if they have this symptom along with other symptoms, rather than by having this symptom alone.

If you have the symptoms of a vaginal infection, visit a gynecologist in Washington, D.C. at Washington Surgi-Clinic for a fast diagnosis and treatment. We’re committed to providing compassionate care with complete patient confidentiality. Call (202) 659-9403 for more information.