Women with chronic vaginal symptoms such as pain, burning, itching, and abnormal discharge sometimes struggle to find relief because getting an accurate diagnosis is often challenging. However, Dr. R. Stuart Fowler, board-certified gynecologist of Fowler GYN International (FGI), has developed an advanced diagnostic tool known as the VFA test to help in this regard. But what are the benefits of a VFA test?
What Is a VFA Test?
The vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test is an advanced diagnostic tool used to detect the presence of an altered vaginal microflora pattern. The VFA test provides a quantitative analysis of the constituents of the vaginal fluid.
Altered Vaginal Microflora Pattern
An altered vaginal microflora has characteristics that differ from the known flora patterns. Normal flora patterns maintain the balance of the vaginal microflora and keep the vagina in a healthy state.
The vaginal ecosystem is healthy when good bacteria or lactobacilli dominate the system. An altered vaginal microflora indicates that there has been a shift in the balance of the microflora. This is usually the result of a decline in lactobacilli.
What’s Involved in the VFA Test?
Patients provide a small sample of vaginal fluid to which chemicals and stains are added to expose specific characteristics. The resultant fluids are injected into micro-plastic grids, after which the slides are analyzed with a phase-contrast microscope with high power objectives.
Benefits of a VFA Test
The VFA test provides the comprehensive analysis needed to verify if the vaginal microflora is in a healthy or abnormal pattern.
Vulvovaginal issues such as vulvodynia and recurrent bacterial infections have traditionally been diagnosed using a wet-prep pelvic exam. However, the wet-prep exam is not the best option as it does not identify the underlying cause of these conditions, which is an altered vaginal microflora pattern.
The VFA test analyses the vaginal fluid to identify the following:
- Quantity and concentration of good bacteria (lactobacilli)
- The concentration of harmful bacteria
- Maturation stage of the squamous cells present
- Concentration levels of squamous cells
- Type and percentage of white blood cells present (if any)
- The relative concentration of yeast present (if any)
The VFA test provides a deeper understanding of the changes in the constituents of the vaginal microflora. The results of the test help to determine the medications to include in the treatment protocol.
FGI uses vaginal rejuvenate therapy to treat vulvovaginal conditions caused by an altered vaginal microflora pattern. The treatment protocol is designed to correct the imbalance in the vaginal ecosystem.
Vaginal rejuvenate therapy is a customized combination of medications and hypocontactant skincare products.
Hypocontactant skincare products are free of irritating preservatives, dyes, and fragrances that often irritate the vestibular tissues. These products are helpful for women with vulvovaginal symptoms, as they often have sensitive external genital tissues.
Unfortunately, most gynecologists do not have the diagnostic equipment or the advanced skill set needed to diagnose and treat chronic vulvovaginal conditions. As a result, many women fail to get a correct diagnosis, as doctors treat the symptoms being experienced rather than the underlying cause. Because of this, patients may receive only temporary relief from their vulvovaginal symptoms.
The VFA test plays a pivotal role in establishing the underlying etiology of chronic vulvovaginal conditions. Therefore, it is an important tool in the treatment of vaginitis.