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Cytolytic Vaginosis: a Critical Appraisal of a Controversial Condition

  • Female Genital Tract Infections (J Sobel, Section Editor)
  • Published:
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Purpose of Review

Cytolytic vaginosis is a controversial condition that some clinicians have traditionally included as a potential cause of vulvovaginal symptoms despite the lack of scientific evidence.

Recent Findings

Recent articles have focused on the evaluation of patients once they carry the diagnosis of cytolytic vaginosis, rather than on diagnostic criteria.


Our review revealed inadequate criteria for excluding other causes of vulvovaginal symptoms, especially VVC, when diagnosing women with cytolytic vaginosis. Treatment recommendations have remained stagnant with no single case report or case series with detailed information about affected patients. Finally, with the inconsistencies in sampling sites and inadequacies in sampling techniques across studies, the reported evidence of lactobacilli overgrowth is unreliable and cannot be used to support the diagnosis of cytolytic vaginosis. Any future investigations of the condition would need to have strict criteria for diagnosis which can be reproduced by other investigators, so that common ground for diagnosis can begin as a basis for studies. We further recommend that any study evaluating patient treatments include information about patient demographics, details about their treatment, and the results in terms of changes in symptoms and findings.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Correspondence to Malia Voytik.

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Conflict of Interest

Malia Voytik has no conflicts of interest to disclose. Paul Nyirjesy has received research funds from the Curatek Pharmaceuticals, Mycovia Pharmaceuticals, and Scynexis, Inc. and has served as a consultant for the Mycovia Pharmaceuticals, Hologic Corporation, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Hologic, Inc., Scynexis, Inc., Daré Bioscience, Inc., and Becton, Dickinson.

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Voytik, M., Nyirjesy, P. Cytolytic Vaginosis: a Critical Appraisal of a Controversial Condition. Curr Infect Dis Rep 22, 26 (2020).

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