Risk factors for vulvovaginal candidiasis: an exploratory study

PURPOSE: to identify risk factors involved in Candida sp vulvovaginitis in an exploratory study using an intentional sample. METHODS: a cross-sectional study with a sample of 135 textile female workers living in Criciúma, South Brazil, between July and September 2002. Oral interview and physical examination were performed by a single gynecologist and vaginal swabs were collected for culture and plated on Sabouraud agar. Epi-Info, version 6.0 was used to analyze the collected data. Prevalence ratios were calculated with a 95% confidence interval. A multivariable analysis of the data by logistic regression and data entry using the SPSS, version 10.0 computer program, was performed. RESULTS: the prevalence of Candida sp vulvovaginitis confirmed by culture in this sample was 19.3%. The prevalence of clinical vulvovaginitis was 17.0% (sensitivity of 38% and specificity of 88%). Significant risk factors for clinically manifest vulvaginitis were the use of hormones and age between 25-34 years and for culture-proven Candida sp vulvovaginitis, regular menstrual cycle. CONCLUSIONS: the overall prevalence of Candida sp vulvovaginitis was 19.3%. A regular menstrual cycle was the main risk factor for Candida sp vulvovaginitis showing the existence of a relationship between menstrual cycle and Candida sp vulvovaginitis. This finding should be better investigated by a cohort study with a larger sample and correlated with blood hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle.

Candida sp; Vulvovaginitis; Vulvovaginal candidiasis; Pathogenic yeast

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