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An at-home BV test can reveal whether you have a bacterial infection and help inform your next steps. Here are five test kits to consider.
- Best affordable: Natureland Vaginal pH Test | Skip to review
- Best for complete testing and accuracy: myLAB Box V-Box | Skip to review
- Best for one-step results: FloriSense Vaginal Health Test | Skip to review
- Best drugstore test: CVS Health Feminine Screening Kit for Vaginal Health | Skip to review
- Best with telehealth support: LetsGetChecked Vaginitis Test | Skip to review
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common but often uncomfortable vaginal infection. The good news is that once it’s diagnosed, BV is easily treatable. The first step is determining whether you have it.
Read on to learn more about BV test kits to use at home and what to consider as possible next steps.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection that develops from an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. Multiple things can disrupt the bacterial balance.
- sexual activity
- wearing sweaty clothing for long periods
- using scented soap, bubble baths, or vaginal deodorants
- using an IUD
You might suspect you have BV if you’re experiencing symptoms like:
- burning sensation while urinating
- gray or white discharge
- fishy smelling discharge
- itching and pain in the vulva
While uncomfortable, BV is usually not serious for healthy people.
But complications can occur, including an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’re pregnant, BV may lead to preterm birth or a low birth weight.
Symptoms of BV may also mimic those of other vaginal infections, such as yeast infections and trichomoniasis (trich), a common STI, so getting an accurate diagnosis is important for developing an appropriate treatment plan.
Monte Swarup, MD, FACOG, a board certified OB-GYN in Chandler, Arizona, points out that no over-the-counter (OTC) product is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for treating BV at this time.
“BV usually requires prescription medicine such as antibiotic tablets, gels, or creams,” he said.
If you’re also experiencing fever or chills or you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional for a thorough examination.
At-home BV tests generally use a testing swab that’s inserted into the vagina to collect a sample to measure your pH. Some tests may require you to supply your own cotton swab and then dab the swab on a test strip.
Results are revealed within seconds for some BV test kits, or within a few days if the test requires sending your sample to a lab.
Tests that send your sample to a lab are considered more accurate than tests that offer results in seconds at home. Tests that send your sample to a lab may also test for additional bacteria and certain STIs.
Depending on the company, you may also be able to receive treatment via a telehealth appointment, but this option varies by U.S. state.
If you’ve had BV before and are familiar with the symptoms, an at-home BV test kit might support what you already suspect is going on. And using a testing service with the option for treatment via telehealth might save you a trip to the doctor.
But most BV test kits, especially the more affordable ones that skip the labs, only measure the level of pH present, which can indicate the presence of an infection. They may not provide enough information to determine the type of infection. This distinction could matter for treatment.
In this way, it’s best to think of these tests as a possible first step but not a conclusive diagnosis.
Most test kits, especially the ones that skip the labs, only measure the level of pH present. They may not provide enough information to determine the type of infection.
In this way, it’s best to think of these tests as a possible first step but not a conclusive diagnosis.
BV home test kits can range in price from $8.99–$199.
Tests $30 and under generally only test pH levels for irregularities but without verified laboratory results.
Tests that send samples to labs come at a higher cost but can offer more information and, in some cases, can come with a telehealth chat with a healthcare professional for next steps and possible treatment options — though this service varies depending on where you live.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25–$100
- $$$ = over $100
- Price: $
- Results in: 20 seconds
Testing for BV and other vaginal conditions, Natureland’s pH test strips are one of the least expensive options on our list.
We like that the results are easy to read and that the box, depending on your count preferences, comes with 10–120 individually wrapped packages.
We also appreciate that you get your results in under a minute.
Natureland is an established dietary supplement and personal care company aiming to improve vaginal health and well-being.
These vaginal health pH strips test the pH levels in the vagina to identify any irregularities. Wrapped and sealed in aluminum pouches, each test returns results in approximately 20 seconds.
To use these tests, you take a sample of your vaginal discharge with a cotton swab (which does not come with the kit), then apply the swab to one of the color pads on one of the strips. The pad color will change depending on the pH levels in the vagina in about 10–20 seconds.
Using the scale on the bottle indicating a normal and abnormal pH balance, you then match your color pad result to the matching color on the scale. The instruction manual provides a table to help you identify whether you may have BV versus a yeast infection or trichomoniasis.
This test is an excellent value for the price point and speedy results, but it can’t provide an exact cause behind the pH levels it indicates via the color scale.
The supplied manual helps guide you in the right direction based on whether you’re experiencing specific symptoms and which color result you receive. You have to provide your own cotton swabs for your sample, which may factor into the lower price point.
- The test includes more than 40 pH strips in each packet.
- Each test is individually packaged.
- Users will receive their results within 20 seconds.
- It only tests for vaginal pH. This means it won’t specifically test for BV but will inform if there’s a bacterial imbalance in the vagina that could be BV.
- The test kit doesn’t provide cotton swabs.
Best for complete testing and accuracy
- Price: $$$
- Results in: 1–5 days
MyLAB Box aims to offer the most accurate, complete testing for BV and other vaginal conditions at home.
The brand works with CAP and CLIA certified labs in the United States for accuracy, so unlike tests that only measure for abnormal pH, this test offers specific results.
Along with testing for BV, yeast infections, and trich, like some of its competitors, it also tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, making it the most thorough at-home vaginal test option.
It takes approximately 5 minutes for sample collection via the swab method.
Within 2–5 days of returning your sample, myLAB Box sends your results digitally.
You’ll also receive a free doctor consultation to discuss results if they’re positive for BV.
MyLAB Box also sends its tests as discreetly as possible. You can order the test online, and once it’s received in the mail, the test can be done and sent back with the prepaid shipping label.
- Labs are CAP and CLIA certified.
- Health experts work to decipher test results.
- Tests for BV, yeast infections, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
- Free physician telemedicine consultations are available if test results are positive.
- Flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) are accepted.
- The testing packaging is discreet.
- The return postage is paid.
- You won’t receive test results immediately.
- There’s only one test in the kit.
- It’s pricier in comparison with other options.
- Currently unavailable in New York.
Best for one-step results
- Price: $$
- Results in: 10 seconds
The FloriSense Vaginal Health Test analyzes the pH in a person’s vagina to identify whether there’s an infection. Results are provided within 10 seconds of taking the test.
It uses a swab to test for BV and only requires one step for results, unlike tests that require a swab and a strip.
If the swab changes color, it indicates whether you have certain infections, such as trich or BV.
The box contains two swabs and detailed information and instructions.
- The results are quick.
- The test is affordable.
- The test is easy to use.
- There’s no specific diagnosis.
- It can present a false reading. The company says the test is 90% accurate, but there’s the possibility of a false positive.
Best drugstore test
- Price: $
- Results in: within seconds
This option from CVS Health is an affordable and easy way to help diagnose common vaginal infections. It’s recommended for people experiencing typical symptoms, such as abnormal discharge, itching, and burning.
Each package comes with two tests, detailed instructions on how to use them, and an explanation of what the results mean.
The sample is a vaginal swab. If the entire swab turns yellow, your pH level is normal. If only the tip turns yellow, you may have an infection.
This accessible pick is a good choice if you can’t wait for a test kit to be shipped or if you are traveling.
- Found easily at CVS drugstores.
- The sample collection is simple.
- The test is affordable.
- Results are fast.
- Box includes two tests.
- It only provides information about pH levels.
- The test can’t be used for people who have premenopause symptoms or have gone through menopause.
- The test should not be used 1 day before your period and 5 days after.
Best with telehealth support
- Price: $$$
- Results in: 2–5 days
LetsGetChecked is a popular health and diagnostics company offering a multitude of at-home tests, including this Vaginitis Test kit, which tests for BV, candida vaginitis, and trich.
The vaginal swab test arrives in discreet packaging and comes with a prepaid shipping label.
Results from CLIA certified and ISO accredited laboratories are ready in just 2–5 days.
Though it costs an additional $39, a virtual consultation appointment for treatment options is available.
This test is available on Amazon, but some reviewers say their Amazon-bought test kit arrived expired.
At this time, the company says it cannot prescribe treatments via its telehealth consultations in the following states:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- Telehealth support and prescriptions are available in many states.
- Uses CLIA certified and ISO accredited labs.
- Discreet, unmarked packaging.
- Can also detect candida vaginitis and trichomoniasis.
- FSA/HSA accepted.
- Available on Amazon.
- Virtual medical consultation is an additional $39.
- Prescriptions via telehealth consultation are not available nationwide.
- Cannot use this test while pregnant or menstruating.
- Will not detect most STIs, besides trich.
|Natureland Vaginal pH Test||affordability||$||20 seconds|
|myLAB Box V-Box||complete testing and accuracy||$$$||2–5 days|
|FloriSense Vaginal Health Test||one-step results||$$||10 seconds|
|CVS Health Feminine Screening Kit for Vaginal Health||drugstore test||$||within seconds|
|LetsGetChecked Vaginitis Test||telehealth support||$$$||2–5 days|
To select some of the best at-home BV tests, we researched the types of tests people can use at home. It was important for us to consider certain factors, such as:
- the price of the tests
- how discreet the packaging is
- how quickly you receive results
- customer reviews and ratings
We also chose a mixture of generic at-home BV tests and lab-tested at-home BV tests.
Some tests won’t tell you if you have BV specifically but will rather indicate whether the pH levels in your vagina are not balanced.
If you have reason to think you may have BV or another infection after taking a test, it’s best to seek additional consultation from a qualified healthcare professional.
After you’ve taken your BV test and the results indicate an abnormal pH, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a healthcare professional to receive proper treatment and to ensure it’s really BV that you’re dealing with.
If your test results don’t indicate any abnormal pH but you keep having symptoms, still make an appointment with a healthcare professional to learn what’s going on. They can perform a pelvic exam and collect a swab sample for complete testing to determine whether you have BV or another vaginal condition.
Though vaginal conditions with similar symptoms, like yeast infections, do not require a prescription for treatment, BV generally requires antibiotics to clear up, according to Swarup.
While you can browse a slew of OTC products marketed toward BV symptoms, none of these can treat BV, as there are no FDA approved OTC products for BV treatment. Using OTC products or remedies to address BV is not a good idea.
If your test kit offers a telehealth appointment, this call can lead to prescription treatment, but be sure to check guidelines for where you live, which vary depending on the company.
If your healthcare professional determines you have BV, they may prescribe an antibiotic like clindamycin, metronidazole, or tinidazole.
After being treated, BV typically clears up within 5–7 days. Talk with a healthcare professional if you are taking medication and the infection continues.
To try to prevent BV from returning, you can consider some small but helpful habits like:
Due to similar symptoms like vaginal itching and painful urination, BV can be mistaken as a yeast infection.
According to Monte Swarup, MD, FACOG, BV can be mistaken for other infections, including trichomoniasis, a common STI.
He added this is why he recommends a pelvic exam from a healthcare professional to rule out other possibilities and receive the proper treatment right away.
Swarup told Healthline that BV symptoms can include having a high pH, abnormal vaginal discharge, itching, or odor.
However, he points out there are also times when you may have no symptoms but still have BV. This is why it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional when you have concerns.
Yes. First void urine (FVU) — a person’s first urination of the day, which is the most concentrated urine sample — is the only urine from which BV can be diagnosed.
BV is a common and easily treatable vaginal infection. If you think you may have BV, an at-home BV test may help determine whether you have abnormal pH, which is one indicator of BV.
Some tests require sending your sample to a lab, which can offer accurate results and a possible telehealth visit to receive treatment, usually an antibiotic.
Should your at-home test results (those without lab and telehealth support) indicate that your pH levels are abnormal or you have a vaginal infection, talk with a healthcare professional.
Additionally, if you’re experiencing general discomfort or itching, burning, or unusual discharge, visit a healthcare professional.