Treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis

Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jun 1;61(11):3306-12, 3317.


Vulvovaginal candidiasis is considered recurrent when at least four specific episodes occur in one year or at least three episodes unrelated to antibiotic therapy occur within one year. Although greater than 50 percent of women more than 25 years of age develop vulvovaginal candidiasis at some time, fewer than 5 percent of these women experience recurrences. Clinical evaluation of recurrent episodes is essential. Patients who self-diagnose may miss other causes or concurrent infections. Known etiologies of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis include treatment-resistant Candida species other than Candida albicans, frequent antibiotic therapy, contraceptive use, compromise of the immune system, sexual activity and hyperglycemia. If microscopic examination of vaginal secretions in a potassium hydroxide preparation is negative but clinical suspicion is high, fungal cultures should be obtained. After the acute episode has been treated, subsequent prophylaxis (maintenance therapy) is important. Because many patients experience recurrences once prophylaxis is discontinued, long-term therapy may be warranted. Patients are more likely to comply when antifungal therapy is administered orally, but oral treatment carries a greater potential for systemic toxicity and drug interactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Boric Acids / therapeutic use
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / diagnosis
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / drug therapy*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / etiology
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / prevention & control
  • Clotrimazole / therapeutic use
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Fluconazole / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Ketoconazole / therapeutic use
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Teaching Materials
  • Time Factors
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Boric Acids
  • Triazoles
  • terconazole
  • Fluconazole
  • Clotrimazole
  • boric acid
  • Ketoconazole