Objective: Although recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is defined as 4 or more discrete attacks of vulvovaginal candidiasis per year, there is no diagnostic nomenclature or definition for the many women who are chronically symptomatic. This study aims to establish and propose a definition and a set of diagnostic criteria, which would enable clinicians to promptly identify and treat women with chronic vulvovaginal candidiasis (CVVC).
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Public and private vulvar dermatology outpatient clinics in Sydney, Australia.
Participants: Data were obtained prospectively from 50 women with presumptive CVVC and 42 controls. Historical and clinical features of CVVC identified by expert consensus were compared between the 2 groups. Diagnostic criteria were then prospectively applied to a further 163 patients to verify their accuracy.
Outcome Measures: Signs and symptoms diagnostic of CVVC.
Results: The following characteristics were found to be significantly more common in women with CVVC compared to controls (p ≤ .001): a history of positive vaginal Candida swab, discharge, dyspareunia, soreness, swelling, cyclicity, and exacerbation of symptoms with antibiotics.
Conclusions: We propose that CVVC can be confidently diagnosed using the major criteria of a chronic nonspecific and nonerosive vulvovaginitis that includes at least 5 or more properties from the following criteria: soreness, dyspareunia, positive vaginal swab either at presentation or in the past, previous response to antifungal medication, exacerbation with antibiotics, cyclicity, swelling, and discharge. This condition responds reliably to oral antifungal medication.