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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 175--176

An epidemiological study of vulvovaginal candidiasis in women of childbearing age

N Jindal, P Gill, A Aggarwal 
 Deparment of Microbiology, Government Medical College, Amritsar - 143 001, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
N Jindal
Deparment of Microbiology, Government Medical College, Amritsar - 143 001, Punjab

How to cite this article:
Jindal N, Gill P, Aggarwal A. An epidemiological study of vulvovaginal candidiasis in women of childbearing age.Indian J Med Microbiol 2007;25:175-176

How to cite this URL:
Jindal N, Gill P, Aggarwal A. An epidemiological study of vulvovaginal candidiasis in women of childbearing age. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2007 [cited 2020 Aug 14 ];25:175-176
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Dear Editor,

Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is an extremely common infection in women of childbearing age of all strata of society. Since it has now been excluded from the ranks of sexually transmitted diseases and is also not a notifiable disease, [1] not much information regarding its incidence and epidemiology is available.

We studied 350 women of 16-45 years of age, with the complaints of vaginal discharge and/or vaginal itching. After recording their relevant personal and reproductive history, vaginal secretions were collected and subjected to direct microscopy and culture on Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) medium. Candida species were identified by a series of morphological and biochemical tests. [2] Statistical analysis was done by using Chi-square test.

Positive culture for Candida species was obtained in 82 (23.4%) women. Of these, 61 (74.4%) were Candida albicans and 21 (25.6%) were non C . albicans. C. glabrata was the most common nonalbicans species (9, 11%) followed by C. tropicalis (5, 6%), C. krusei (3, 3.6%) and C. parapsilosis and C. guilliermondii (2, 2.43%) each.

We observed a consistent increase in the incidence of VVC from second to fourth decade of life followed by a decline [Table 1]. This could be because of the influence of sexual activity, which is at its peak during this age. In our study, women of low socioeconomic status, unsatisfactory genital hygiene and those who were using tight, poorly ventilated, nylon underclothing showed significantly higher incidence of VVC than those of middle class ( P P =0.0008) and those who were using well-ventilated, cotton undergarments ( P P P [1],[3] This is probably due to high level of reproductive hormones during pregnancy which provides an excellent carbon source for growth of Candida. High incidence of VVC observed in patients on oral contraceptives, is similar to the findings of other investigators. [1],[3] Significant influence of use of antibiotics in increasing the incidence of VVC was observed in the present study. Antibiotics are known to destroy the normal protective vaginal flora and help in colonization with Candida .

To conclude, VVC caused by C. albicans as well as nonalbicans species of Candida is quite prevalent in women of childbearing age of our region. Its significant association with certain epidemiological factors underscores the need for educating women regarding genital hygiene, use of wellventilated cotton underclothing and importance of accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. There is also need for constant surveillance studies so that the incidence of infections caused by nonalbicans species of Candida could be kept under check.


1Sobel JD, Faro S, Force RW, Foxman B, Ledger WJ, Nyirjesy PR, et al . Vulvovaginal candidiasis : Epidemiologic, diagnostic and therapeutic considerations. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1998; 178 :203-11.
2Chander J. Candidiasis . A text book of medical microbiology. 2 nd ed. Interprint, New Delhi; 2002. p. 212-30.
3Sobel JD. Vulvovaginitis. When Candida becomes a problem. Sexually Transmitted Diseases 1998; 16: 763-8.