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The importance of diagnostic work-up in the management of candidal vulvovaginitis. A prospective study.

Author(s): Ben-Haroush A, Yogev Y, Kaplan B

Affiliation(s): Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tikva, Israel.

Publication date & source: 2004, Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol., 31(2):113-6.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To assess the accuracy of the diagnostic work-up in identifying vaginal candidal infection, and to determine the safety, efficacy and speed of action of clotrimazole vaginal tablets. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred and twenty-three patients with symptoms and signs of candidal infection, a presence of vaginal pH < or = 4.5 and positive 10% KOH examination. METHODS: After vaginal culture was taken, the eligible patients were treated with clotrimazole 200 mg vaginal tabs (manufactured by Teva or Agis). RESULTS: Cultures grew Candida albicans in 189 cases (85%), and Candida non-albicans in five (2.2%); 29 patients (13%) did not have any candidal infection. Of the 189 C. albicans-positive patients, 174 were reassessed for effects of clotrimazole treatment by self-reports and objective measures. Ninety-four percent of the patients reported improvement after treatment, rated moderate to high by 87%. The physician evaluation was similar: some improvement in 96%, and moderate or high improvement in 91%. At the second examination, 7.5% of the treated patients still had a positive culture for Candida albicans, and they remained positive on KOH microscopic examination, although vaginal pH was significantly higher. Maximal improvement was recorded three to four days after starting treatment. CONCLUSION: It is important that the diagnostic work-up for suspected candidal infections consist of at least vaginal pH measurement and microscopy study with KOH. We encourage the use of vaginal cultures, especially in recurrent cases. Clotrimazole is a safe and effective treatment.

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