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1.  Candidiasis (vulvovaginal) 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0815.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis is estimated to be the second most common cause of vaginitis after bacterial vaginosis. Candida albicans accounts for 85% to 90% of cases.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of drug treatments for acute vulvovaginal candidiasis in non-pregnant symptomatic women? What are the effects of alternative or complementary treatments for acute vulvovaginal candidiasis in non-pregnant symptomatic women? What are the effects of treating a male sexual partner to resolve symptoms and prevent recurrence in non-pregnant women with symptomatic acute vulvovaginal candidiasis? What are the effects of alternative or complementary treatments for symptomatic recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in non-pregnant women? What are the effects of treating a male sexual partner in non-pregnant women with symptomatic recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis? What are the effects of treating asymptomatic non-pregnant women with a positive swab for candidiasis? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to March 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 61 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: alternative or complementary treatments; douching; drug treatments; garlic; intravaginal preparations (boric acid, nystatin, imidazoles, tea tree oil); oral fluconazole; oral itraconazole; treating a male sexual partner; and yoghurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus (oral or vaginal).
Key Points
Vulvovaginal candidiasis is characterised by vulval itching and abnormal "cheese-like" or watery vaginal discharge. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is estimated to be the second most common cause of vaginitis after bacterial vaginosis. Candida albicans accounts for 85% to 90% of cases.Risk factors include pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, and systemic antibiotics. Incidence increases with the onset of sexual activity, but associations with different types of contraceptives are unclear.Recurrent symptoms are common, but are caused by candidiasis in only one third of cases.
Intravaginal imidazoles reduce symptoms of acute vulvovaginal candidiasis in non-pregnant women. Intravaginal imidazoles (butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole) reduce symptoms compared with placebo and all seem to have similar efficacy compared with each other. RCTs suggest that single-dose regimens may be as effective as multiple-dose regimens.Intravaginal imidazoles and oral fluconazole or itraconazole seem equally effective in treating acute attacks.
Intravaginal nystatin reduces symptoms compared with placebo, but we don't know how it compares with intravaginal imidazoles or oral fluconazole or itraconazole.
The benefits of other intravaginal treatments, to treat acute attacks or prevent recurrence, remain unclear, and some may be associated with serious adverse effects. We found no RCT evidence assessing intravaginal boric acid or tea tree oil.We found no RCT evidence assessing garlic or yoghurt, used intravaginally or orally.We found no RCT evidence on efficacy of douching, but it is associated with serious adverse effects such as PID and infections, endometritis, and ectopic pregnancy. Oral fluconazole and itraconazole are likely to be beneficial in preventing recurrence of infection. Treating the woman's male sexual partner does not reduce symptoms or prevent recurrence in the woman.
PMCID: PMC2907618  PMID: 21718579
2.  Accuracy of the Clinical Diagnosis of Vaginitis Compared to a DNA Probe Laboratory Standard 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2009;113(1):89-95.
To estimate the accuracy of the clinical diagnosis of the three most common causes of acute vulvovaginal symptoms (bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis vaginitis, and trichomoniasis vaginalis) using a traditional, standardized clinical diagnostic protocol compared to a DNA probe laboratory standard.
This prospective clinical comparative study had a sample of 535 active duty United States military women presenting with vulovaginal symptoms. Clinical diagnoses were made by research staff using a standardized protocol of history, physical examination including pelvic examination, determination of vaginal pH, vaginal fluid amines test, and wet-prep microscopy. Vaginal fluid samples were obtained for DNA analysis. The research clinicians were blinded to the DNA results.
The participants described a presenting symptom of abnormal discharge (50%), itching/irritation (33%), malodor (10%), burning (4%), or others such as vulvar pain and vaginal discomfort. According to laboratory standard, there were 225 cases (42%) of bacterial vaginosis 76 cases (14%) of candidiasis vaginitis, 8 cases (1.5%) of trichomoniasis vaginalis, 87 cases of mixed infections (16%), and 139 negative cases (26%). For each single infection, the clinical diagnosis had a sensitivity and specificity of 80.8% and 70.0% for bacterial vaginosis; 83.8% and 84.8% for candidiasis vaginitis; and 84.6% and 99.6% for trichomoniasis vaginalis when compared to the DNA probe standard.
Compared to a DNA probe standard, clinical diagnosis is 81-85% sensitive and 70- 99% specific for bacterial vaginosis, candida vaginitis, and trichomoniasis. Even under research conditions that provided clinicians with sufficient time and materials to conduct a thorough and standardized clinical evaluation, the diagnosis and therefore, subsequent treatment of these common vaginal problems remains difficult.
PMCID: PMC2745984  PMID: 19104364
3.  Evaluation of two clinical protocols for the management of women with vaginal discharge in southern Thailand 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  1998;74(3):194-201.
OBJECTIVES: (1) To compare the effectiveness of two clinical protocols for the management of vaginal discharge in the situations where no laboratory facilities are available but speculum examination is possible and where basic laboratory facilities are available. (2) To determine clinical and simple laboratory indicators for diagnosis of patients with vaginal discharge in the local setting. DESIGN: Alternate allocation of subjects to one of two management protocols. SUBJECTS: Women presenting to university gynaecology outpatients department with a complaint of vaginal discharge. METHODS: Subjects were alternately allocated management according to one of two protocols: one without (group A) and one with (group B) immediate access to results of basic laboratory tests. Full clinical assessment including speculum examination and microbiological assessment for infection with gonorrhoea, chlamydia, candida, trichomonas, and bacterial vaginosis was performed on all women. Follow up assessment of clinical and microbiological response was performed 1-2 weeks later. RESULTS: At initial assessment, both groups were similar in all respects except that more group B women had inflammation of the vulva. The prevalences of various conditions were: candidiasis 22%, bacterial vaginosis 38%, trichomoniasis 4%, chlamydia 4%, gonorrhoea 0.4%. There was no association between any demographic characteristic and diagnosis of cause of the discharge. Both protocols resulted in clinically and statistically significant improvements for women with candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis. There were no clinically important differences in outcomes between the two protocols. The sensitivities and specificities of various indicators were: curd-like vaginal discharge for candidiasis, 72% and 100%; homogeneous vaginal discharge for bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, 94% and 88%; absent or scanty lactobacilli for bacterial vaginosis, 99% and 68%; > 20% clue cells for bacterial vaginosis, 81% and 99%; visible endocervical mucopus for chlamydia or gonorrhoea, 36% and 86%; microscopic endocervical mucopus for chlamydia or gonorrhoea, 64% and 69%. CONCLUSIONS: Both protocols were equally effective in managing women with abnormal vaginal discharge. Simple clinical indicators for candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomonas as in protocol A are sufficiently sensitive and specific for use in situations with no laboratory support. A modification to protocol A could increase detection of bacterial vaginosis at basic health service level. Further work is needed to identify appropriate indicators for infection with chlamydia or gonorrhoea. 

PMCID: PMC1758115  PMID: 9849555
4.  Prevalence and Risk Factors for Bacterial Vaginosis and Other Vulvovaginitis in a Population of Sexually Active Adolescents from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil 
Bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and genital candidiasis are considered the main etiologies of vulvovaginitis. Few studies estimate the prevalence of vulvovaginitis among adolescents, especially in Brazil. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and main risk factors associated with bacterial vaginosis and genital infection by C. albicans and Trichomonas vaginalis among a group of adolescents from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. One hundred sexually active adolescents followed at an adolescent gynecology clinic were included. Endocervical and vaginal samples were obtained during gynecological examination. Nugent criteria were applied for the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis. For Candida albicans and Trichomonas vaginalis detection, culture in Sabouraud agar plates and Papanicolaou cytology were used, respectively. The mean age of participants was 16.6 ± 1.6 years. The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis was 20% (95% CI 12–28) and of genital infection by Candida was 22% (95% CI 14–30). Vaginal cytology detected Trichomonas vaginalis in one patient. Alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use (P = 0.02) and multiple lifetime partners were statistically related to bacterial vaginosis (P = 0.01). The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis and genital candidiasis was similar to other studies carried out among adolescents worldwide.
PMCID: PMC3485513  PMID: 23133306
5.  Reversible Deficiency of Antimicrobial Polypeptides in Bacterial Vaginosis  
Infection and Immunity  2006;74(10):5693-5702.
Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition associated with increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus infections. In contrast, vulvovaginal candidiasis has a much weaker association with sexually transmitted diseases. We found that vaginal lavage fluid from women with bacterial vaginosis is deficient in antimicrobial polypeptides and antimicrobial activity compared to fluid from healthy women or women with vulvovaginal candidiasis. Effective treatment normalized the concentrations of antimicrobial polypeptides in both bacterial vaginosis and in vulvovaginal candidiasis, suggesting that the abnormalities were a result of the diseases. Unlike in vulvovaginal candidiasis, the neutrophil attractant chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) was not increased in bacterial vaginosis, accounting for low concentrations of neutrophil-derived defensins in vaginal fluid. In organotypic cultures of human vaginal epithelium containing dendritic cells, treatment with Lactobacillus jensenii, a typical vaginal resident, induced the synthesis of IL-8 mRNA and the epithelial human β-defensin-2 mRNA, but a typical bacterial vaginosis pathogen, Gardnerella vaginalis, had no effect. When the two bacteria were combined, Gardnerella vaginalis did not interfere with the immunostimulatory effect of Lactobacillus jensenii. The loss of normal immunostimulatory flora in bacterial vaginosis is thus associated with a local deficiency of multiple innate immune factors, and this deficiency could predispose individuals to sexually transmitted diseases.
PMCID: PMC1594936  PMID: 16988245
6.  Prevalence of vulvovaginal candidiasis, trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis among pregnant women receiving antenatal care in Southwestern Nigeria 
Vaginal infections in pregnancy are associated with considerable discomfort and adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm delivery, low birth weight and increased infant mortality and also predisposition to HIV/AIDS. This study evaluated the prevalence and factors associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis, trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis among women attending antenatal clinic at a hospital in Nigeria. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered and high vaginal swab samples were obtained from consenting pregnant women. The samples were processed following standard protocols. The prevalence of vulvovaginal candidiasis was 36%, while those of trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis were 2% and 38%, respectively. Infections were higher in the third trimester and many women admitted to practices that increase risk of these infections. Significant association was found between recent intake of antibiotics and vaginal candidiasis, same association was also found with bacterial vaginosis. Adequate investigation and prompt treatment will reduce the morbidity and attendant effects of these prevalent infections on mother and fetus.
PMCID: PMC4271815  PMID: 25544891
bacterial vaginosis; pregnancy; trichomoniasis; vaginal infections; vulvovaginal candidiasis
7.  Prevalence of Bacterial Vaginosis and Impact of Genital Hygiene Practices in Non-Pregnant Women in Zanjan, Iran 
Oman Medical Journal  2009;24(4):288-293.
Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common causes of reproductive tract infection (RTI), it’s prevalence is influenced by many factors. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of bacterial vaginosis and impact of sexual and genital hygienie practices and socio-demographic characteristics in non pregnant women of Zanjan province in Iran.
500 non-pregnant, married women were randomly selected for this study. This is a descriptive-analytic study conducted among non-pregnant referred to primry healthcare centres in Zanjan between May to August 2006. Following gynecological examination and vaginal sample collection by physicians, bacterial vaginosis was confirmed by Nugent criteria, tricomoniasis by direct microscopy and candidiasis by direct microscopic observation and evaluation of presenting clinical signs of vulvovaginitis.
The prevalence of RTI was 27.6%. Out of which 16.2% was devoted to bacterial vaginosis (BV), 6.6% to trichomoniasis and 4.8% to Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). In contrast to coital hygiene, there was a significant correlation between menstrual and individual vaginal hygiene and BV (p<0.01 and p<0.001) respectively. There was a significant correlation between BV and education (p<0.025), number of pregnancy (p<0.05) and method of contraception (p<0.005). No significant correlation was observed between age, age of marriage and abortion.
The data obtained suggests that the prevalence rate of BV is relatively high and could be affected by hygiene behaviors and certain socio-demographic characteristics, which indicate the need for comprehensive, scheduled programs of healthcare educations, aimed at reducing BV prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3243866  PMID: 22216382
8.  The Classic Approach to Diagnosis of Vulvovaginitis: A Critical Analysis 
Objective: To correlate the symptoms, signs and clinical diagnosis in women with vaginal discharge, based on the combined weight of the character of the vaginal discharge and bedside tests, with the laboratory diagnosis.
Methods: Women presenting consecutively to the women's health center with vaginal discharge were interviewed and examined for assessment of the quantity and color of the discharge. One drop of the material was then examined for pH and the whiff test was done; a wet mount in saline and in 10% KOH was examined microscopically. The clinical diagnosis was based on the results of these assessments. Gram stain and cultures of the discharge were sent to the microbiology laboratory.
Results: One hundred and fifty-threewomen with vaginal discharge with a clinical diagnosis of vulvovaginitis participated in the study. Fifty-five (35.9%) had normal flora and the other 98 (64.1%) had true infectious vulvovaginitis (k agreement = 18%). According to the laboratory, the principal infectious micro-organism causing the vulvovaginitis was Candida species. Candida infection was associated with pH levels of less than 4.5 (p < 0.0001, odds ratio = 4.74, 95% confidence interval: 2.35–9.5, positive predictive value 68.4%). The whiff test was positive in only a small percentage of bacterial vaginosis (BV) (p = not significant (NS)). Clue cells were documented in 53.3% of patients with a laboratory diagnosis of BV (p < 0.02, positive predictive value 26.7%).
Conclusions: The current approach to the diagnosis of vulvovaginitis should be further studied. The classical and time-consuming assessments were shown not to be reliable diagnostic measures.
PMCID: PMC1784643  PMID: 11495550
9.  Chronic vulvovaginal candidiasis: characteristics of women with Candida albicans, C glabrata and no candida. 
Genitourinary Medicine  1995;71(5):304-307.
INTRODUCTION--Although as many as 5% of all women complain of chronic vulvovaginitis, little is known about these women. They may often be misdiagnosed and the role of vaginal yeast culture in diagnosing vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) among them has not been clearly defined. METHODS--To address these deficiencies, we tabulated initial diagnoses among new patients and conducted a medical record-based, unmatched case-control study among women reporting a history of chronic vulvovaginitis (four or more episodes in the past year) at a vulvovaginitis specialty clinic. Clinical presentation and medical history were compared for women who had a positive vaginal yeast culture for either Candida albicans or C glabrata, or who had a negative culture. RESULTS--One-third of the women had no apparent vulvovaginal disease at their initial visit. All women reported similar symptoms, except for an increased prevalence of painful sexual intercourse in women with C albicans (chi 2 p = 0.014 versus women with C glabrata and p < 0.001 versus women with no candida). Women with C glabrata were more likely to be non-white (chi 2 p = 0.071 compared with women with C albicans) and to report an underlying medical condition (chi 2 p < or = 0.001 versus both women with C albicans and women with no candida). Physical examination was normal only in women with no candida. C albicans cases were more likely to have positive potassium hydroxide microscopy (chi 2 p = 0.016) and a pH < or = 4.5 (chi 2 p = 0.011) than were C glabrata cases. CONCLUSIONS--These results suggest that reliance on symptoms and signs alone will result in significant misdiagnosis of chronic vulvovaginitis. Among women with VVC, subtle differences in clinical presentation do not reliably distinguish women with C albicans from those with C glabrata. Our study also indicates that vaginal yeast cultures, while not necessary for every patient, are valuable in confirming negative diagnoses, detecting microscopy false-negatives, and identifying non-C albicans isolates.
PMCID: PMC1195546  PMID: 7490047
10.  Phenotypic Characterization and Antifungal Susceptibility Pattern to Fluconazole in Candida species Isolated from Vulvovaginal Candidiasis in a Tertiary Care Hospital 
Background: Vaginal candidiasis is a common gynecological finding among women worldwide. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) along with speciation of Candida with special reference to its antifungal susceptibility pattern to fluconazole and also to evaluate the risk factors responsible for VVC in patients attending our tertiary care hospital in Puducherry, India.
Materials and Methods: This study was carried out in the tertiary care hospital in Puducherry during the period of August 2010 to September 2012.The study group consisted of 180 women between the age group of 15 to 56 years with the complaints of excessive vaginal discharge, pruritis and pain. Materials used for this study consisted of high vaginal swabs from patients with relevant history, attending Obstetrics & Gynecology department. High vaginal swabs were subjected to direct 10% KOH wet mount microscopy, Gram stain, culture onto Sabouraud’s dextrose agar (SDA) & 5% sheep blood agar and susceptibility testing to fluconazole was performed using E-test.
Results: Candida was isolated in 40 (22.2 %) women & these consisted of C. albicans 26 (65%), C. glabrata 9 (22.5%), C.tropicalis 3 (7.5%) & C. parapsilosis 2 (5%). Susceptibility test carried out on the 40 isolates revealed that 35 (87.5%) Candida isolates were sensitive to fluconazole, 3 (7.5%) were moderately sensitive and 2 (2.5%) were resistant. Thirty one percent patients had itching as the presenting complaints followed by vaginal discharge (29.4%).
Conclusion: The high frequency with which C. albicans was recovered in our study and its susceptibility to fluconazole supports the continued use of azole agents for empirical therapy of uncomplicated candidal vulvovaginitis in the community.
PMCID: PMC4079993  PMID: 24995172
Candidiasis; Vulvovaginitis; Candida; Vulvovaginal candidiasis
11.  Syndromic management of vaginal discharge among women in a reproductive health clinic in India 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2000;76(4):303-306.
Objectives: To examine the performance of the syndromic approach in the management of vaginal discharge among women attending a reproductive health clinic in New Delhi, India.
Methods: Women who sought services from the clinic and who had a complaint of vaginal discharge were interviewed, underwent a pelvic examination, and provided samples for laboratory investigations of bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections. Data analysis focused on the prevalence of infection and on the performance of the algorithm recommended by the national authorities for the management of vaginal discharge.
Results: The most common infection among 319 women was bacterial vaginosis (26%). At least one sexually transmitted infection was detected in 21.9% of women. The prevalence of C trachomatis infection was 12.2%; trichomoniasis 10%; syphilis 2.2%; N gonorrhoeae was not isolated. An algorithm based on risk assessment and speculum assisted clinical evaluation was not helpful in predicting cervical infections associated with C trachomatis (sensitivity 5% and PPV 9%). This algorithm was sensitive (95%) though not specific (22%) in selecting women for metronidazole therapy effective against bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, and overtreatment was a problem (PPV 38%). The sensitivity, specificity, and PPV of this algorithm for the treatment of candidiasis were 46%, 98%, and 88% respectively. The cost per case assessed using the algorithm was $2 and the cost per infection correctly treated was $4.25.
Conclusions: The prevalence of cervical infection associated with C trachomatis was high among these "low risk" women. The syndromic approach is not an efficient tool for detecting this condition, and alternative approaches to evaluation and intervention are required. The syndromic management of vaginal discharge among women seeking family planning and other reproductive health services should focus on vaginal infections, thus enhancing quality of care and addressing women's concerns about their health.
Key Words: syndromic approach; vaginal discharge; Chlamydia trachomatis; reproductive health; India
PMCID: PMC1744180  PMID: 11026889
12.  Determinants of incident vulvovaginal candidiasis in human immunodeficiency virus-positive women. 
OBJECTIVE: Mucosal infections including vulvovaginal candidiasis are a common problem for women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Our objective was to determine which factors predict the development of symptomatic disease among HIV-infected women. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a prospective study from 1991 to 1995, 205 HIV-positive women were evaluated every 6 months for occurrences of vulvovaginal candidiasis. Included in the study were all initially asymptomatic women, whether they were fungal-culture-positive or -negative at baseline. Excluded from the study were all women with symptomatic vulvovaginal candidiasis at the initial visit, those who developed trichomonas vaginitis at any visit, and those who used any antifungal agents. RESULTS: The risk of the development of vulvovaginal candidiasis did not differ between women who were asymptomatically colonized at baseline and those who were fungal-culture-negative. However, the risk of developing vulvovaginal candidiasis was increased 6.8 times for women with CD4 counts less than 200 cells/mm3 at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Fungal culture is not predictive of the development of symptomatic vulvovaginal candidiasis. Women infected with HIV who have CD4 counts below 200 cells/mm3 should be monitored more carefully for vulvovaginal candidiasis.
PMCID: PMC1784689  PMID: 10968602
13.  Antifungal Activities of Two New Azasordarins, GW471552 and GW471558, in Experimental Models of Oral and Vulvovaginal Candidiasis in Immunosuppressed Rats 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2001;45(12):3304-3309.
Sordarins constitute a new class of antifungal agents with a novel mechanism of action involving the selective inhibition of fungal protein synthesis. A further evolution of this class of antifungals has led to a new family of sordarin derivatives called azasordarins. The therapeutic efficacies of two new azasordarins, GW471552 and GW471558, were studied in experimental models of oral and vulvovaginal candidiasis in immunosuppressed rats. In all cases rats were immunosuppressed with dexamethasone in the drinking water. Oral candidiasis was established by inoculating 0.1 ml of a yeast suspension containing 5 × 108 cells of Candida albicans 4711E with a cotton swab on three alternate days. Vulvovaginal candidiasis was established in ovariectomized and estrus-induced rats by intravaginal inoculation of 107 CFU of C. albicans 4711E in 0.1 ml of saline. GW471552 and GW471558 were administered at 1, 5, and 10 mg/kg of body weight via the subcutaneous route. In oral candidiasis, azasordarins were administered each 8 h for 7 consecutive days, while in vaginal candidiasis the compounds were given each 4 h for 3 consecutive days. Antifungal activity of azasordarins was assessed by colony counts and by histological examination 1 day after treatment. In the oral infection model, GW471552 and GW471558 administered at 5 mg/kg significantly reduced (P < 0.05) the number of CFU of C. albicans compared with untreated controls. In addition, GW471552 and GW471558 given at 10 mg/kg eradicated C. albicans from the oral cavities of 100% of infected animals. Against vulvovaginal infection, both compounds showed significant therapeutic efficacy. GW471552 was able to eradicate the vaginal fungal burden at a dose of 10 mg/kg, and it significantly reduced the number of CFU of C. albicans in vaginas of rats treated with a dose of 5 mg/kg (P < 0.05). GW471558 showed greater efficacy, eradicating the fungal burden of 100% of infected rats at a dose of 5 mg/kg and significantly reducing (P < 0.05) the C. albicans vaginal counts even at a dose of 1 mg/kg. In both therapeutic efficacy studies, the histological findings confirmed the microbiological results. The experimental results presented show that the tested azasordarins are effective against oral and vulvovaginal candidiasis in immunosuppressed rats and could be promising antifungal agents for use in humans.
PMCID: PMC90830  PMID: 11709301
14.  Lower genital tract infections in HIV-seropositive women in India 
The presence of STD facilitates shedding of HIV and increases HIV-1 disease progression, possibly by increasing plasma viremia. Our aim was to study the presence of various associated Sexually transmitted disease/Reproductory tract infections in HIV-seropositive women in India.
Materials and Methods:
The study included 40 HIV-seropositive women attending the antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinic at Lok Nayak Hospital. An informed consent was taken from all subjects. All cases were subjected to detailed gynecological examination and two types of swabs, i.e., a vaginal swab and a cervical swab were taken for STD/RTIs evaluation. The vaginal swabs were used for preparation of wet mount and KOH mount for diagnosis of trichomoniasis and candidiasis; to make a vaginal smear for Gram staining to diagnose bacterial vaginosis (BV) as per Nugent's criteria; for culture of aerobic bacteria and Candida spp. The cervical swab was used for isolation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae by culture and for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis antigen by Chlamydia microplate enzyme immunoassay kit (BIORAD). All data were analyzed using appropriate statistical tests.
All 40 cases were evaluated for the presence of STD/RTIs associated with HIV infection. The women belonged to the reproductive age group (15-45 years) and majority (40%) of them were para 2. Most of the women (14, 35%) were in World Health Organization (WHO) stage I and maximum number (28, 70%) had their CD4 cell count more than 200 cells/ml. There was no significant correlation between WHO stage of HIV-seropositive women and their CD4 cell count (P=0.092). Out of 40 cases, 15 (37.5%) were on ART with maximum cases (53.3%) in WHO stage III. The duration of ART was more than 6 months in 9 (60%) cases. The most common presenting complaint was vaginal discharge in women with WHO stage II and III and 27.5% women showed vaginitis on per speculum examination. Laboratory tests showed high prevalence of BV (30%), mixed infection (30%), and candidiasis (10%) among HIV-seropositive women (P<0.001 in both). Women with BV were mostly in WHO stage I (38.4%) and stage II (36.3%), while those with mixed infection were mainly in WHO stage III (36.3%) and stage IV (40%).Women with candidiasis were mainly in WHO stage III. C. trachomatis antigen was found only in one subject (prevalence 2.5%). Both WHO stage and CD4 cell count had no significant correlation with presence of BV (P=0.056 and 0.063, respectively) and candidiasis (P=0.492 and 0.530, respectively). Maximum number of patients on ART had mixed infection (53.3%), while most of the patients (36%) not on ART had BV. There was no significant association between duration of ART and the presence of vaginal infections.
The prevalence of gynecological symptoms and RTIs in HIV-seropositive women is high enough to warrant routine gynecologic evaluation and RTI screening in these patients. However, larger studies and trials are needed to evaluate the effects of ART on these abnormalities as well as to choose the best screening tool in HIV-seropositive women.
PMCID: PMC3195170  PMID: 22021972
HIV; lower genital tract infections; women
15.  Circulating heat shock proteins in women with a history of recurrent vulvovaginitis. 
OBJECTIVE: Predisposing factors influencing recurrences of bacterial vaginosis (BV) or vaginitis from Candida remain unidentified for most women. As a component of studies to determine host susceptibility factors to genital tract infections in women, we measured expression of the 60-kDa and 70-kDa heat shock proteins (hsp60 and hsp70, respectively) in the circulation of women with or without a history of recurrent BV or candidal vaginitis and with or without a current lower genital tract infection. Heat shock protein expression is associated with a down-regulation of pro-inflammatory immune responses that would inhibit microbial infection. METHOD: The investigators measured hsp60 and hsp70, antibodies to these proteins, the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) in sera by ELISA. The study population consisted of 100 women who attended a gynecology clinic in Campinas, Brazil. Of those, 55 had a history of recurrent vulvovaginitis (RV), while 45 were controls with no such history. Only women who were asymptomatic for at least 1 month were studied. RESULTS: Although all were asymptomatic, clinical and microbiological examination revealed that five of the women with a history of RV and two controls had a current candidal vaginal infection; 16 RV patients and 12 controls had BV; and six RV patients had both BV and candidiasis. Twenty-eight RV patients and 31 controls had no clinical or microbiological detectable vaginal infection. Among the RV patients, hsp60 and hsp70 were more prevalent in those with current BV (40.9% and 50.0%, respectively) or a candidal infection (45.5% and 54.5%) than in women with no current infection (21.4% and 17.9%). In the women with no history of RV, BV was not associated with a high prevalence of hsp60 (8.3%) or hsp70 (8.3%). Interleukin-10 and TNF were not more prevalent in vaginitis patients or controls with a current candidal infection or BV than in uninfected subjects. CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of circulating hsp60 and hsp70 in women with a history of RV and current BV or vaginal candidiasis, but not in women with no history of RV, suggests that differences in heat shock protein induction may be related to susceptibility to recurrent vaginal infections.
PMCID: PMC1784728  PMID: 10371470
16.  Vulvovaginal candida in a young sexually active population: prevalence and association with oro-genital sex and frequent pain at intercourse 
Objective: To study the prevalence of vulvovaginal candida among sexually active adolescents. To determine past and present symptoms, including pain at intercourse and potential behavioural risk factors associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Methods: At an adolescent centre, 219 sexually active women who underwent genital examination, also completed a questionnaire on a history of genital symptoms and infections, sexual and hygiene habits, and the use of contraceptives. Symptoms and clinical signs were registered. Vaginal samples were analysed for candida species and urine for Chlamydia trachomatis.
Results: Candida culture was positive in 42% of the women and only 15% were asymptomatic. A history of recurrent candidiasis was given by 22%. Frequent pain at intercourse was reported by 24% and frequent oro-genital sex by 42% of the women. Frequent pain at intercourse was significantly associated with both the growth of candida and a history of recurrent candidiasis. Oro-genital sex was an independent risk factor for the growth of candida.
Conclusion: In sexually active adolescents, who underwent genital examination, candida cultures were positive in 42%. The habit of frequent oro-genital sex was associated with the growth of candida. Pain at intercourse was associated with the growth of candida and recurrent candidiasis.
PMCID: PMC1758393  PMID: 14755037
17.  The role of physical examination in diagnosing common causes of vaginitis: a prospective study 
Sexually transmitted infections  2012;89(3):185-190.
We evaluated agreement in diagnoses for bacterial vaginosis (BV), Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) between clinicians examining the patient and performing diagnostic tests versus a clinician with access only to the patient’s history and diagnostic findings from self-obtained vaginal swabs (SOVS).
Women presenting with vaginal discharge to a sexually transmitted infections clinic provided SOVS for evaluation and completed the study and qualitative questionnaires. A clinician then obtained a history and performed speculum and bimanual examinations. Participants’ history and diagnostic test results from SOVS were provided to a masked non-examining clinician who rendered independent diagnoses. Overall agreement in diagnoses and κ statistics was calculated.
The prevalence of infections among the 197 participants was 63.4% (BV), 19% (TV) and 14% (VVC). The per cent agreement between the examining and non-examining clinician for the diagnoses of BV was 68.5%, 90.9% for TV and 91.9% for VVC. Of the 105 women diagnosed with BV by the examining clinician, 34 (32%) were missed by the non-examining clinician. The non-examining clinician missed 13 (48%) of 27 women and 12 (34%) of 35 women treated for VVC and TV, respectively. Four women who all presented with abdominal pain were diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease.
Tests from SOVS and history alone cannot be used to adequately diagnose BV, TV and VVC in women presenting with symptomatic vaginal discharge. Cost benefits from eliminating the speculum examination and using only tests from SOVS may be negated by long-term costs of mistreatment.
PMCID: PMC4104961  PMID: 23019659
18.  A Prospective Study of Vaginal Bacterial Flora and Other Risk Factors for Vulvovaginal Candidiasis 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;199(12):1883-1890.
It has been suggested that vaginal lactobacilli may reduce the risk of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), but supporting data are limited. Our objective was to determine the relationship between vaginal bacterial flora and VVC.
We conducted a prospective cohort analysis among 151 Kenyan sex workers. At monthly follow-up, VVC was defined as the presence of yeast buds, pseudohyphae, or both on vaginal wet preparation or KOH preparation. Generalized estimating equations were used to identify correlates of VVC.
Participants returned for a median of 12 (interquartile range 11-12) visits. Vulvovaginal candidiasis was present at 162 visits, including 26 with symptomatic VVC. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) was associated with fewer episodes of VVC (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16-0.50). After excluding women with concurrent BV, another possible cause of vaginal symptoms, the likelihood of symptomatic VVC was higher in those with yeast on vaginal wet preparation in the past 60 days (aOR 4.06, 95% CI 1.12-14.74) and those with concurrent vaginal Lactobacillus colonization (aOR 3.75, 95% CI 1.30-10.83).
Contrary to a commonly posed hypothesis of a protective effect, we found that vaginal Lactobacillus colonization was associated with a >4-fold increase in the likelihood of symptomatic VVC.
PMCID: PMC2743896  PMID: 19456235
Vulvovaginal candidiasis; Lactobacillus; bacterial vaginosis; women
19.  Pattern of sexually transmitted diseases among pregnant women in Burkina Faso, west Africa: potential for a clinical management based on simple approaches. 
Genitourinary Medicine  1997;73(3):188-193.
OBJECTIVES: (1) To determine the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in pregnant women in Burkina Faso. (2) To evaluate the potential of clinical management of STDs based on screening with clinical data and urine leucocyte esterase test (LET). METHODS: Cross sectional study among antenatal clinic attendees was conducted in 1994 in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, the two largest urban centres in Burkina Faso, where more than 94% of the pregnant women benefit from antenatal care at least twice during their pregnancy. Each woman selected underwent an interview, general and gynaecological examination. Genital samples were collected to confirm the presence of STD pathogens. Logistic regression analysis was done to identify models that predict (a) gonorrhoea and/or chlamydia, (b) trichomoniasis and/or bacterial vaginosis, (c) candidiasis. Sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values of these models were assessed using standard methods. RESULTS: All 645 consecutive pregnant women were enrolled in the two sites. Among these women 32.4% presented at least one STD. The major STDs were: trichomoniasis (14%), bacterial vaginosis (13%), recent syphilis (3.6%), chlamydial infection (3.1%), genital warts (3%), gonococcal infection (1.6%) and genital ulcer (0.8%). Prevalence of vaginal candidiasis was 14%. The use of a risk marker (length of relationship with regular sexual partner < 3 years), and the positivity +3 of the urine LET provided a sensitivity of 80% and a positive predictive value of 7% for the screening of gonococcal and/or chlamydial infection. If clinical signs and positivity of the urine LET were taken into account sensitivity and positive predictive value of trichomoniasis and/or bacterial vaginosis screening were 77% and 37%, respectively. Clinical signs and positivity of the urine LET showed a low sensitivity (23%) for screening vaginal candidiasis. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of STDs in pregnant women is high in urban Burkina Faso. Systematic screening combined with effective treatment should be included in antenatal care in the future. Urine LET, if associated with interview and clinical examination offers a simple, rapid and affordable tool for systematic screening of STDs in pregnant women. However, the proportion of overtreatments with proposed strategies will be high. Further studies are needed to develop and validate better algorithms with probably cheap laboratory tests.
PMCID: PMC1195819  PMID: 9306899
20.  Comparison between Fluconazole with Oral Protexin Combination and Fluconazole in the Treatment of Vulvovaginal Candidiasis 
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology  2012;2012:375806.
Background. According to the limited studies reporting new treatments for vulvovaginal candidiasis, this study was designed to compare the combination of fluconazole and oral protexin with fluconazole in the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis. Methods. A double-blind clinical trial was conducted, involving 90 women who were referred to the gynecology clinic. Vulvovaginal candidiasis was diagnosed with itching, cheesy vaginal discharge, and any one of the following: dysuria, pH < 4.5, dyspareunia, vulvar erythema, or vulvar edema and if branched hyphae and Candida buds were visible after addition of KOH 10% in the culture and the result of cultivation in Sabouraud's dextrose agar medium was positive. Patients were randomly classified into two groups Absence of discharge, itching, and negative culture results 5–7 days after completion of treatment indicated treatment success. Data in this study were analyzed using the SPSS version 17.0 software. Results. The combinations, fluconazole-oral protexin and fluconazole-placebo, were equally effective in reduction of complaints and symptoms, but fluconazole-oral protexin combination elicited a better therapeutic response (χ2 = 0.01, P = 6.7). In addition, fluconazole-oral protexin combination treatment demonstrated better recovery time (t = −2.04, P = 0.04). Conclusion. This study demonstrated that complementary treatment with probiotic Lactobacillus increased the efficacy of fluconazole in treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis. Further research is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3483713  PMID: 23119175
21.  β-Glucan Induces Reactive Oxygen Species Production in Human Neutrophils to Improve the Killing of Candida albicans and Candida glabrata Isolates from Vulvovaginal Candidiasis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107805.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is among the most prevalent vaginal diseases. Candida albicans is still the most prevalent species associated with this pathology, however, the prevalence of other Candida species, such as C. glabrata, is increasing. The pathogenesis of these infections has been intensely studied, nevertheless, no consensus has been reached on the pathogenicity of VVC. In addition, inappropriate treatment or the presence of resistant strains can lead to RVVC (vulvovaginal candidiasis recurrent). Immunomodulation therapy studies have become increasingly promising, including with the β-glucans. Thus, in the present study, we evaluated microbicidal activity, phagocytosis, intracellular oxidant species production, oxygen consumption, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and the release of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin-8 (IL-8), IL-1β, and IL-1Ra in neutrophils previously treated or not with β-glucan. In all of the assays, human neutrophils were challenged with C. albicans and C. glabrata isolated from vulvovaginal candidiasis. β-glucan significantly increased oxidant species production, suggesting that β-glucan may be an efficient immunomodulator that triggers an increase in the microbicidal response of neutrophils for both of the species isolated from vulvovaginal candidiasis. The effects of β-glucan appeared to be mainly related to the activation of reactive oxygen species and modulation of cytokine release.
PMCID: PMC4168232  PMID: 25229476
22.  Bacterial Vaginosis Associated with Increased Risk of Female-to-Male HIV-1 Transmission: A Prospective Cohort Analysis among African Couples 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001251.
In a prospective study, Craig Cohen and colleagues investigate the association between bacterial vaginosis and the risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a disruption of the normal vaginal flora, has been associated with a 60% increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in women and higher concentration of HIV-1 RNA in the genital tract of HIV-1–infected women. However, whether BV, which is present in up to half of African HIV-1–infected women, is associated with an increase in HIV-1 transmission to male partners has not been assessed in previous studies.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the association between BV on female-to-male HIV-1 transmission risk in a prospective study of 2,236 HIV-1–seropositive women and their HIV-1 uninfected male partners from seven African countries from a randomized placebo-controlled trial that enrolled heterosexual African adults who were seropositive for both HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2, and their HIV-1–seronegative partners. Participants were followed for up to 24 months; every three months, vaginal swabs were obtained from female partners for Gram stain and male partners were tested for HIV-1. BV and normal vaginal flora were defined as a Nugent score of 7–10 and 0–3, respectively. To reduce misclassification, HIV-1 sequence analysis of viruses from seroconverters and their partners was performed to determine linkage of HIV-1 transmissions. Overall, 50 incident HIV-1 infections occurred in men in which the HIV-1–infected female partner had an evaluable vaginal Gram stain. HIV-1 incidence in men whose HIV-1–infected female partners had BV was 2.91 versus 0.76 per 100 person-years in men whose female partners had normal vaginal flora (hazard ratio 3.62, 95% CI 1.74–7.52). After controlling for sociodemographic factors, sexual behavior, male circumcision, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels in female partners, BV was associated with a greater than 3-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission (adjusted hazard ratio 3.17, 95% CI 1.37–7.33).
This study identified an association between BV and increased risk of HIV-1 transmission to male partners. Several limitations may affect the generalizability of our results including: all participants underwent couples HIV counseling and testing and enrolled in an HIV-1 prevention trial, and index participants had a baseline CD4 count ≥250 cells/mm3 and were HSV-2 seropositive. Given the high prevalence of BV and the association of BV with increased risk of both female HIV-1 acquisition and transmission found in our study, if this association proves to be causal, BV could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV-1 infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-1–infected women could mitigate female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Trial Registration: NCT00194519
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Since the first reported case of AIDS in 1981, the number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has risen steadily. By the end of 2010, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. At the beginning of the epidemic more men than women were infected with HIV. Now, however, 50% of all adults infected with HIV are women and in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of HIV-positive people live, women account for 59% of people living with HIV. Moreover, among 15–24 year-olds, women are eight times more likely than men to be HIV-positive. This pattern of infection has developed because most people in sub-Saharan Africa contract HIV through unprotected heterosexual sex. The risk of HIV transmission for both men and women in Africa and elsewhere can be reduced by abstaining from sex, by only having one or a few partners, by always using condoms, and by male circumcision. In addition, several studies suggest that antiretroviral therapy (ART) greatly reduces HIV transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, in sub-Saharan Africa, only about a fifth of HIV-positive people are currently receiving ART, which means that there is an urgent need to find other effective ways to reduce HIV transmission in this region. In this prospective cohort study (a type of study that follows a group of people for some time to see which personal characteristics are associated with disease development), the researchers investigate whether bacterial vaginosis—a condition in which harmful bacteria disrupt the normal vaginal flora—increases the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission among African couples. Bacterial vaginosis, which is extremely common in sub-Saharan Africa, has been associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in women and induces viral replication and shedding in the vagina in HIV-positive women, which may mean that HIV-positive women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to transmit HIV to their male partners than women without this condition. If this is the case, then interventions that reduce the incidence of bacterial vaginosis might be valuable HIV prevention strategies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected from 2,236 heterosexual African couples enrolled in a clinical trial (the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study) whose primary aim was to investigate whether suppression of herpes simplex virus infection could prevent HIV transmission. In all the couples, the woman was HIV-positive and the man was initially HIV-negative. The female partners were examined every three months for the presence of bacterial vaginosis and the male partners were tested regularly for HIV infection. The researchers also determined whether the men who became HIV-positive were infected with the same HIV strain as their partner to check that their infection had been acquired from this partner. The HIV incidence in men whose partners had bacterial vaginosis was 2.9 per 100 person-years (that is, 2.9 out of every 100 men became HIV-positive per year) whereas the HIV incidence in men whose partners had a normal vaginal flora was 0.76 per 100 person-years. After controlling for factors that might affect the risk of HIV transmission such as male circumcision and viral levels in female partner's blood, the researchers estimated that bacterial vaginosis was associated with a 3.17-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV transmission in their study population.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-positive African women with bacterial vaginosis are more than three times as likely to transmit HIV to their male partners as those with a normal vaginal flora. It is possible that some unknown characteristic of the men in this study might have increased both their own risk of HIV infection and their partner's risk of bacterial vaginosis. Nevertheless, because bacterial vaginosis is so common in Africa (half of the women in this study had bacterial vaginosis at least once during follow-up) and because this condition is associated with both female HIV acquisition and transmission, these findings suggest that bacterial vaginosis could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-infected women by frequent presumptive treatment with antimicrobials (treatment with a curative dose of antibiotics without testing for bacterial vaginosis) or possibly by treatment with probiotics (live “good” bacteria) might, therefore, reduce female-to-male HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS and on bacterial vaginosis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including specific information about HIV/AIDS and women; it also has information on bacterial vaginosis (in English and Spanish)
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on bacterial vaginosis and HIV transmission (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit group on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV and AIDS prevention, on women, HIV and AIDS and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available; the website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV
More information about the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study is available
PMCID: PMC3383741  PMID: 22745608
23.  Comparison of Nucleic Acid Amplification Assays with BD Affirm VPIII for Diagnosis of Vaginitis in Symptomatic Women 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3694-3699.
A commercially available, nonamplified, nucleic acid probe-based test system (BD Affirm VPIII) was compared with nucleic acid amplification (NAA)-based assays for determining the etiology of vaginitis in a cohort of 323 symptomatic women. First, a semiquantitative, multiplexed PCR assay (BV-PCR) and the Affirm VPIII Gardnerellavaginalis test were compared with a unified bacterial-vaginosis (BV) reference standard incorporating both Nugent Gram stain scores and Amsel clinical criteria. In the evaluable population of 305 patients, BV-PCR was 96.9% (191/197) sensitive and 92.6% specific (100/108) for BV, while Affirm VPIII was 90.1% sensitive (179/197) and 67.6% specific (73/108). Second, a multiplexed PCR assay detecting Candida albicans and Candida glabrata (CAN-PCR) was compared with the Affirm VPIII Candida test using a reference standard for vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) of yeast culture plus exclusion of alternate vaginitis etiologies. In the population evaluated (n = 102), CAN-PCR was 97.7% sensitive (42/43) and 93.2% specific (55/59) and Affirm VP III was 58.1% sensitive (25/43) and 100% specific (59/59) for VVC. Finally, the results of a commercial NAA test (GenProbe Aptima Trichomonas vaginalis assay; ATV) for T. vaginalis were compared with the Affirm VPIII Trichomonas vaginalis test. In the absence of an independent reference standard for trichomonal vaginitis (TV), a positive result in either assay was deemed to represent true infection. In the evaluable cohort of 388 patients, the sensitivity of ATV was 98.1% (53/54) versus 46.3% (25/54) for Affirm VPIII. The diagnostic accuracy of the combined NAA-based test construct was approximately 20 to 25% higher than that of the Affirm VPIII when modeled in populations with various prevalences of infectious vaginitis.
PMCID: PMC3889753  PMID: 23985917
24.  Throwing the dice for the diagnosis of vaginal complaints? 
Vaginitis is among the most common conditions women are seeking medical care for. Although these infections can easily be treated, the relapse rate is high. This may be due to inadequate use of the diagnostic potential.
We evaluated the misjudgement rate of the aetiology of vaginal complaints. A total of 220 vaginal samples from women with a vaginal complaint were obtained and analysed for numbers of total lactobacilli, H2O2-producing lactobacilli, total aerobic cell counts and total anaerobic cell counts including bifidobacteria, Bacteroides spp., Prevotella spp. Additionally, the presence of Atopobium vaginae, Gardnerella vaginalis, Candida spp. and Trichomonas vaginalis was evaluated by DNA-hybridisation using the PCR and Affirm VPIII Microbial Identification Test, respectively.
The participating physicians diagnosed Bacterial vaginosis (BV) as origin of discomfort in 80 cases, candidiasis in 109 cases and mixed infections in 8 cases. However, a present BV, defined as lack of H2O2-lactobacilli, presence of marker organisms, such as G. vaginalis, Bacteroides spp. or Atopobium vaginae, and an elevated pH were identified in only 45 cases of the women examined. Candida spp. were detected in 46 cases. Interestingly, an elevated pH corresponded solely to the presence of Atopobium vaginae, which was detected in 11 cases.
Errors in the diagnosis of BV and candida vulvovaginitis (CV) were high. Interestingly, the cases of misjudgement of CV (77%) were more numerous than that of BV (61%). The use of Amsel criteria or microscopy did not reduce the number of misinterpretations. The study reveals that the misdiagnosis of vaginal complaints is rather high.
PMCID: PMC1395331  PMID: 16503990
25.  Zinc levels of serum and cervicovaginal secretion in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. 
Genitourinary Medicine  1994;70(5):308-310.
OBJECTIVE--To determine whether zinc deficiency in serum or vulvovaginal secretion is a risk factor for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. DESIGN--Prospective and controlled study. SETTING--Department of Dermatology, University of Vienna. SUBJECTS--21 women who had experienced at least three documented episodes of acute vulvovaginal candidiasis within the previous 12 months. Fifteen women without anamnesis of vulvovaginal candidiasis as a control group. INTERVENTIONS--Blood samples were drawn for measurement of plasma zinc levels. Lavage of the vagina and ectocervix was performed with sterile saline solution for measurement of cervicovaginal zinc levels. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Zinc levels of serum and cervicovaginal secretions were determined by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry. RESULTS--We found no significant difference in the mean zinc concentration of plasma and cervicovaginal secretions between the recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis and the control group. (p value for serum = 0.71, p value for secretion = 0.80). Zinc levels of plasma and cervicovaginal secretions showed no correlation (patient group: r = -0.05, control group: r = -0.07). CONCLUSION--It is well known that zinc not only exerts a major impact on different immune functions, but also participates in growth and morphogenesis of Candida albicans. Our results could not confirm the previous hypothesis that zinc deficiency of serum is a risk factor in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. It is possible that the local zinc level of cervicovaginal secretions essentially influences antifungal activity of third generation azole antimycotics.
PMCID: PMC1195271  PMID: 8001939

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