Role of Papanicolaou Smear in the Diagnosis of Pathologic Flora in Asymptomatic Patients in Rural Health Care Set-Up
Dr. Siona Sabu,
Old Chandrasekhar Hostel, Manipal University, Manipal-576104, Karnataka, India.
Introduction: The infections of female genital tract, especially the cervix are asymptomatic in presentation and pose a diagnostic challenge. Vaginal infections can lead to cytoplasmic and nuclear abnormalities in the epithelial cells. Additionally, these infections could augur an inflammatory response of varying nature. The most common flora include Candida albicans, Gardnerella vaginalis, Trichomonas vaginalis, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Human Herpes Virus (HHV) and Actinomyces sp.
Aim: This study seeks to measure the role of Papanicolaou smear in detection of pathologic flora: Candida albicans, Gardnerella vaginalis, Trichomonas vaginalis, HPV, HHV and Actinomyces; in a rural health care set up amongst women in the reproductive and menopausal age group.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective study of cervical smears by Papanicolaou method, over a 14 month period was carried out in a tertiary care centre including a total number of 150 patients.
Results: Of the total of 150 samples examined, Candida species was the most frequently detected (8.7%) followed by Trichomonas vaginalis (5.3%) and Gardnerella vaginalis species (4.7%). HPV-induced changes were noted in a mere 2% of cases. Actinomyces species was noted in less than 1% of cases.
Conclusion: The Papanicolaou test for examining cervical smear has definite uses in detecting vaginal microorganisms. Apart from detection of the usual pathogenic flora, the test has utility in defining the degree of inflammation and additional reparative changes.