Microscopy of stained smears of vaginal secretion in the diagnosis of recurrent vulvovaginal candidosis

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This study was undertaken to determine the value of stained smears from the vaginal introitus and the posterior vaginal fornix for detection of candida morphotypes in the diagnosis of recurrent vulvovaginal candidosis (RVVC) in cases with an assumed novel attack of the condition, and to compare the value of microscopy of such smears in relation to candida culture, vaginal pH-determinations and leucocyte esterase tests (LE). One hundred and thirteen women with a history and a current assumed attack of RVVC were studied by means of culture of samples from the vaginal introitus and posterior vaginal fornix on Sabouraud and CHROMagar. Microscopy of methylene blue- and Gram-stained smears from these sites was performed. The pH of vaginal secretion and the LE activity in vaginal flushing fluid was measured. Candida morphotypes were found significantly more often in the smears from candida culture-positive than culture-negative women. There was no difference in this respect between the findings in the methylene blue-and Gram-stained smears. Differences were found in candida morphotypes among Candida albicans and non-albicans-positive cases, as blastoconidia were detected only in the latter cases. The leukocyte esterase activity score was higher in the candida-positive than in candida-negative cases. The study showed that microscopy of fixed, stained genital smears can play a role in attempts to distinguish cases infected and not infected by candida among patients consulting with an assumed novel attack of RVVC. Study of methylene blue-stained smears is recommended as they represent an easier means than Gram-stained smears to diagnose genital candida infections in assumed RVVC cases.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infectious Medicine


  • candida culture, recurrent vulvovaginal candidosis, microscopy of stained smears, leukocyte esterase, vaginal pH
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-322
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch