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Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2016 Sep;294(3):541-8. doi: 10.1007/s00404-016-4081-2. Epub 2016 Apr 4.

Inhalant allergy compounding the chronic vaginitis syndrome: characterization of sensitization patterns, comorbidities and responses to sublingual immunotherapy.

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Allergy Associates of La Crosse, 2727 Midwest Drive, Onalaska, WI, 54650, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa, IA, USA.
Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, College of Science and Health, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA.
Allergy Associates of La Crosse, 2727 Midwest Drive, Onalaska, WI, 54650, USA.



To characterize sensitization patterns, diagnoses and comorbidities, and to assess the response of lower genital tract symptoms to sublingual immunotherapy for airborne allergens in a select population of patients with chronic vaginitis.


Fifty-two patients referred for allergy evaluation over a 44 month period were studied. Charts were retrospectively reviewed to establish: (1) gynecological diagnoses, (2) allergic-immunological diagnoses, and (3) IgE-mediated sensitivity to airborne allergens on presentation. Patients were contacted at 9-50 months of treatment to assess response to sublingual immunotherapy based on a questionnaire addressing frequency and severity of symptoms and use of medication to control symptoms.


Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis was identified in 34 (65 %); vulvar vestibulitis syndrome in 12 (23 %); and contact dermatitis in 10 (19 %) patients. Comorbidities included: non-reflux gastrointestinal complaints in 11 (21 %), gastroesophageal reflux in 5 (9 %), migraines in 9 (17 %), chronic non-migrainous headaches in 8 (17 %), and chronic sinusitis in 6 patients (11 %). Asthma was diagnosed in 8 patients (15 %). Oral allergy syndrome was present in 6 (11 %). Most frequent sensitivities were to: ragweed in 33 (63 %), molds in 26 (50 %), dust mites in 23 (44 %), and grass in 12 (23 %) patients. Mono-sensitization was demonstrated for ragweed in 7 (13 %), and for molds, dust mites and grass for 3 (5 %) patients each. Candida sensitization was identified in 15 patients with chronic vaginitis (28 %). Eleven patients with recurrent vulvovaginal diagnosis (32 %) showed Candida sensitization. Response to immunotherapy was generally favorable with pruritus/irritation being more responsive than visceral pain.


In a Midwestern referral population, chronic vaginitis compounded by inhalant allergy showed: (1) high incidence rate of recurrent vulvo-vaginal candidiasis, (2) Candida IgE-mediated sensitization in less than one-third of patients with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, (3) comorbid conditions not dissimilar to those of other allergic patients, and (4) allergen sensitization pattern typical for the Midwest.


Allergic rhinitis; Candidiasis; Chronic vaginitis; Migraines; Neurogenic inflammation; Sublingual immunotherapy; Vulvodynia

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