• atopic dermatitis;
  • atopy patch test;
  • dust mite;
  • protein contact dermatitis;
  • vulvodynia

We have observed that the majority of our vulvodynia patients give a previous history of vaginal candidiasis that was treated but was followed by symptoms of chronic vulvodynia. 27 vulvodynia patients were patch-tested to a standard series of contact allergens, a customized vulvar series and commensal organisms including ultraviolet-killed Candida albicans. Comparison tests for the commensal organism were made to a group of 13 female atopic dermatitis patients and to 19 female dermatitis patients without a history of childhood flexural dermatitis who were undergoing patch test evaluation in our clinic. Patients reporting vulvodynia were significantly (P < 0.05) more likely to react to C. albicans than the dermatitis comparison group. Interestingly, lower concentrations of C. albicans caused more positive patch tests than higher concentrations. Our findings suggest that previous C. albicans infection may predispose patients to a subsequent hypersensitivity response to C. albicans that is expressed only in areas of high cutaneous peripheral fibre density. Low levels of C. albicans may also be required to elicit this response as high levels of C. albicans may actually result in decreased cutaneous inflammation and decreased intensity of C. albicans patch test responses.