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An investigation into the pathogenesis of vulvo-vaginal candidosis
  1. S S El-Din1,
  2. M T Reynolds2,
  3. H R Ashbee1,
  4. R C Barton1,
  5. E G V Evans1
  1. 1Mycology Reference Centre, University of Leeds and General Infirmary, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Department of Genito-urinary Medicine
  1. Dr Ruth Ashbee, Mycology Reference Centre, Division of Microbiology, University of Leeds and General Infirmary, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK h.r.ashbee{at}


Objective: To monitor yeasts isolated from women during and between episodes of recurrent vulvo-vaginal candidosis (VVC) to determine whether vaginal relapse or re-infection occurred.

Methods: Women presenting at the genitourinary medicine clinic with signs and symptoms of VVC were recruited to the study (n = 121). A vaginal washing, high vaginal swab (HVS) and rectal swab were taken and the women treated with a single 500 mg clotrimazole pessary. Women were asked to re-attend after 1, 4, and 12 weeks, or when the VVC recurred, when vaginal washings and HVS were repeated. Candida isolates recovered were strain typed using the Ca3 probe and their similarity assessed. Antifungal susceptibility to fluconazole and clotrimazole were determined.

Results: Of the women recruited, 47 completed the study, either returning for four visits or suffering a recurrence during the study period. Of the 22 women who experienced recurrence, the same strain was responsible for the initial and recurrent episode in 17 women. For the remaining five women, four had strain replacement and one had a change of species. None of the isolates recovered from the women demonstrated resistance to either clotrimazole or fluconazole.

Conclusions: Our findings support the theory of vaginal relapse and thus may support the use of more prolonged courses of antifungal therapy initially to increase the chances of eradication of the yeast.

  • vaginal candidosis

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