Recurrent vaginal discharge
a myth or a fact?
Keywords:vulvovaginitis, vaginal discharge, leukorrhea, gynecological examination, vulvovaginal candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis
Introduction: Vaginal discharge is a frequent gynecological complaint, and may represent a disease or not. A vaginal discharge is considered recurrent when it occurs four or more episodes per year. Among the aetiologies, physiological and infectious conditions are mentioned, being the infectious ones, particularly those caused by Candida spp. fungus, the most related to the symptom. Despite the diagnostic and therapeutic resources available, empirical clinical treatments and self-treatments are very frequent and related to ineffective therapeutic results, leading this population to question what the differences regarding women with no symptoms are. Objective: To identify sociodemographic, behavioral and microbiological differences between women with recurrent vaginal discharge and asymptomatic women. Methods: Cross-sectional study involving 126 women with recurrent discharge complaints (study group) and 155 (control group), totaling 281 evaluated women. The group included women in the menacme, sexually active, and those who fit in the criteria of recurrent vaginal discharge, without definite previous diagnosis, compared with asymptomatic women, who attended an annual routine examination. Pregnant, diabetic and immunosuppressed women were excluded. The study was based on the principle of the null hypothesis, when there are no differences between the two studied groups. Results: The average age was 29.95 years, predominantly single and without children. There was no significant difference in the analysis of relationship time with the current partner, numbers of partners throughout life, gender and contraceptive method. There was predominance of normal vaginal flora (type 1) in both groups, with average prevalence of 44.9%. The alkaline vaginal pH was predominant in the study group. Conclusion: The null hypothesis was confirmed. Biological, behavioral and sociodemographic differences in the studied populations were not identified. In women with recurrent discharge group, there were no infectious etiologic factors, suggesting that clinical diagnoses are not sufficient for the most efficient management of these situations, indicating laboratory evaluation for these cases in order to improve diagnostic accuracy.