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To examine for clue cells, Trichomonas, and sperm.


Aqueous sodium chloride, glass microscope slide, and coverslip.


  1. Place a drop of saline onto the middle of the glass slide. (Alternative method: Place several drops of saline in a small glass test tube and place the swab in the tube. The swab can then be wiped onto a slide at a later time.)

  2. Mix a small amount of vaginal fluid to be examined into the saline drop.

  3. Overlay a coverslip.

  4. Examine directly through microscope at ×40 and ×100 (oil immersion).

FIGURE 25.16

Clue Cells. “Glitter cell” or “clue cell”: Epithelial cell covered with adherent bacteria in a wet mount of a vaginal specimen from a patient with Gardnerella vaginalis (also known as nonspecific vaginitis or bacterial vaginosis). Note the refractile appearance, indistinct borders, and ragged edges of the epithelial clue cell. (Photo contributor: Curatek Pharmaceuticals.)


Trichomonas. Saline wet mount demonstrating oval-bodied, flagellated trichomonads. They are similar in size to leukocytes and can be distinguished from them by their motility and presence of flagella. (Photo contributor: H. Hunter Handsfield, MD. From Handsfield HH (ed). Atlas of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2011.)


Trichomonas. Saline wet mount demonstrating a single trichomonad. Its flagella are not easily seen in this photograph. See Video 25.1 to see flagellating movement. (Photo contributor: Lawrence B. Stack, MD.)

Vedio Graphic Jump Location
Video 25-01: Trichomonas

Saline wet mount demonstrating Brownian movement of two oval-bodied trichomonads from a patient with vaginitis.

Play Video
FIGURE 25.18

Spermatozoa. Spermatozoa may be motile or immotile. (Reproduced with permission, from Strasinger SK, Di Lorenzo MS. Urinalysis and Body Fluids. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company; 2008, p. 102.)

Vedio Graphic Jump Location
Video 25-02: Motile Spermatozoa

Normal spermatozoa motility is observed in this specimen.

Play Video

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