Association of sexual function and psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety and stress in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis

J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc. 2020 Jun 8;21(2):90-96. doi: 10.4274/jtgga.galenos.2019.2019.0077. Epub 2019 Oct 23.


Objective: Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) is a common vaginal infection which could affect the quality of life, romantic relationships, and sexual performance. There is some evidence that psychological problems result in an increased incidence of RVVC by changing the immune systems of individuals. The aim of this study was to determine the association of sexual function and psychological factors including depression, anxiety, and stress in women with RVVC.

Material and methods: Study design was case controlled. Equal numbers of women with RVVC and uninfected women referred to gynecology clinics were selected, using convenience purposive sampling. Two samples of vaginal discharge were prepared from each person. One sample was examined microscopically and the second was cultured on Sabouraud Agar. Data collection tools used for this study included demographic questionnaire, Female Sexual Function Index, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21. Data were analyzed using SPSS software (version 19).

Results: Less sexual satisfaction [odds ratio (OR): 0.608, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.421-0.878] and less orgasm (OR: 0.741, 95% CI: 0.530-0.998) was associated with RVVC. In patients with RVVC, the levels of depression, anxiety and stress were significantly higher compared to those of healthy individuals.

Conclusion: Depression, anxiety and stress in the past four weeks are related to an increased risk of RVVC. There is an association between depression, anxiety and stress, sexual satisfaction, and orgasm with RVVC. It may be that psychological interventions and sexual counseling can be effective in improving RVVC.

Keywords: Sexual dysfunction; stress; depression; anxiety; vulvovaginal candidiasis.