Species-specific prevalence of vaginal candidiasis among patients with diabetes mellitus and its relation to their glycaemic status

J Infect. 2000 Sep;41(2):162-6. doi: 10.1053/jinf.2000.0723.


Objectives: Non- C. albicans Candida species are increasingly being recognized as the cause of vulvo-vaginal candidiasis. These species are often less susceptible to antifungal agents. Patients with diabetes mellitus are at risk for vulvo-vaginal candidasis. We assessed the species-specific prevalence rate and risk of candidiasis in patients with diabetes mellitus and healthy controls.

Methods: Genital tract examination, direct microscopy and fungal cultures of discharge collected by high vaginal swab were undertaken among 78 consecutive patients with diabetes mellitus (mean (+/-sd) age 32+/-12 years and body mass index (BMI) 22.3+/-5.5kg/m(2)) and 88 age- and BMI-matched healthy females. Glycaemic control in the diabetic cohort was assessed by measuring total glycosylated haemoglobin.

Results: Candida species were isolated in 36 of 78 (46%) subjects with diabetes mellitus and in 21 of 88 (23%) healthy subjects (Chi-squared 9.11, P=0.0025). The predominant Candida species isolated in diabetics with vulvo-vaginal candidiasis were Candida glabrata (39%), C. albicans (26%) and C. tropicalis (17%). In contrast, in the control group, C. albicans, C. glabrata and C. hemulonii comprised 30% each, with none having C. tropicalis infection (for C. tropicalis: diabetic vs. control; 17% vs. nil, P=0. 05). Among the diabetic group, subjects with vulvo-vaginal candidiasis had significantly higher mean HbA1 when compared to those who had no such infection (12.8+/-2.6% vs. 9.7+/-1.7% respectively, P=0.001). The overall accuracy of direct microscopy and clinical examination for predicting vulvo-vaginal candidiasis was only 77% and 51%, respectively, in the diabetic group, and 83% and 65% in the control group.

Conclusions: Patients with diabetes mellitus had a high prevalence rate (46%) of vulvo-vaginal candidiasis with relative risk of 2.45. The non- C. albicans species such as C. glabrata and C. tropicalis were the predominant species isolated among them. There seems to be a significant link between hyperglycaemia and vulvo-vaginal candidiasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / complications*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / microbiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Species Specificity
  • Vaginal Discharge


  • Blood Glucose