With vaginitis remaining a common condition that leads women to seek care, it is not surprising that some women develop chronic vulvovaginal problems that are difficult to diagnose and treat. With a differential diagnosis that encompasses vulvar disorders and infectious and noninfectious causes of vaginitis, accurate diagnosis is the cornerstone of choosing effective therapy. Evaluation should include a symptom-specific history, careful vulvar and vaginal examination, and office-based tests (vaginal pH, amine test, saline and 10% potassium hydroxide microscopy). Ancillary tests, especially yeast culture with speciation, are frequently crucial to obtaining a correct diagnosis. A heavy but normal physiologic discharge can be determined by excluding other causes. With vulvovaginal candidiasis, differentiating between Candida albicans and non-albicans Candida infection has important treatment ramifications. Most patients with C albicans infections can be successfully treated with maintenance antifungal therapy, usually with fluconazole. Although many non-albicans Candida, particularly Candida glabrata, may at times be innocent bystanders, vaginal boric acid therapy is an effective first choice for many true non-albicans Candida infections. Recurrent bacterial vaginosis, a difficult therapeutic challenge, can often be controlled with maintenance therapy. Multiple options, especially high-dose tinidazole, have been used for metronidazole-resistant trichomoniasis. With the aging of the U.S. population, atrophic vaginitis and desquamative inflammatory vaginitis, both associated with hypoestrogenism, are encountered frequently in women with persistent vaginitis.