What Causes Vaginal Itching – 8 Possible Causes Of Vagina Itches
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Oh no, that uncomfortable itching has returned and is in a rather inconvenient area. Many individuals with vaginas are familiar with the symptoms of itchiness in that area, which include itching and irritation, sometimes accompanied by a thick white discharge.
Upon noticing these symptoms, you may immediately assume it’s a yeast infection and use antifungal treatments. Alternatively, you may wonder if a new brand of underwear or detergent is causing the issue.
However, vaginal itching can have various causes, and each one requires a different treatment. For instance, attempting to treat a non-yeast-related condition with antifungal medication will not only be ineffective.
Still, it may also make you believe you’re addressing the problem while the issue persists.
What Causes Vaginal Itching?
During the course of our research, we have discovered some of the causes of vaginal itching. Here are eight possible causes of vaginal itching:
1. Yeast Infection
Let’s start with the most common cause of vaginal discomfort: a yeast infection. An overgrowth of yeast causes it and there are some noticeable symptoms. You may feel a burning or itching sensation in and around your vagina.
Additionally, you may notice a change in the consistency of your vaginal discharge, which may become very thick. If you experience these symptoms frequently or they don’t go away with typical treatments, it’s best to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Antifungal treatment is the most effective way to treat a yeast infection, which usually resolves the issue.
2. Sexually Transmitted Infections
Some sexually transmitted infections, or STIs (also known as sexually transmitted diseases), can cause irritation and present with an itchy discharge and a slight odour.
Some STIs that have vulvovaginal (relating to the vagina and vulva) itchiness as a symptom include:
- Genital warts.
If you’re wondering if your itching may be coming from an STI, be sure to see a doctor so you can get a proper test.
3. A Skin Reaction Or Allergy
Certain irritants can trigger nasal allergies, but the same can happen to the vaginal area. Certain fabrics or fragrances can cause discomfort in that area.
Using feminine hygiene products like scented tampons and pads is not recommended and can cause itching and irritation in or around the vagina.
Changing laundry or bath soap can also cause a reaction in that area. This is why avoiding douching or over-cleaning the vagina is advisable to prevent any added irritants.
If you experience itching or burning after switching to menstrual or hygiene products with added fragrances, stop using them immediately and seek medical attention if the symptoms persist.
4. Jock Itch
The condition known as jock itch or tinea cruris can cause vaginal itching, despite the name not being particularly cute. It is similar to an athlete’s foot, which can occur due to sharing undergarments or towels, but in this case, it affects the groin region.
The itching usually occurs around the crotch and thighs, so if the irritation is limited to the interior of the vagina, it is unlikely to be jock itch.
If there is any persistent redness or irritation in these areas, seeking medical attention for an evaluation is advisable.
5. Lack Of Estrogen
As we age, our body undergoes various transformations. Females and individuals assigned female at birth may experience skin thinning due to insufficient estrogen levels, resulting in potential discomfort, itchiness, or discharge.
Menopausal women and breastfeeding mothers may encounter this. To alleviate the symptoms, vaginal lubricants or a minor amount of estrogen may be beneficial.
Swollen veins in the rectum can lead to the development of haemorrhoids, which can cause itching and irritation that may extend to the vaginal area. Haemorrhoids may be the culprit if you’re feeling itchy around your vagina and anus.
While home remedies like aloe vera and good hygiene practices can alleviate haemorrhoid symptoms, over-the-counter ointments may also be helpful.
However, if you experience persistent itching and rectal bleeding, seeking medical attention from a healthcare provider is essential.
7. Skin Irritation In Or Around Your Vulva
Your vagina isn’t immune to skin conditions either. There are some skin conditions that can cause skin changes, such as whitening and itching. Things like contact dermatitis or folliculitis (hair follicle inflammation) can both happen around your vagina. If you notice a red, itchy and even painful skin rash, it could be a sign of a skin condition.
8. Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in your vaginal area. As your vagina requires a stable environment, an overgrowth of one type of bacteria can trigger an infection.
A prominent symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a pungent fish-like odour emanating from the vagina, along with itchiness and discomfort. Additionally, you might notice a watery discharge that is grey or white in colour.
Although bacterial vaginosis may resolve itself naturally, in some cases, antibiotics may be necessary as prescribed by your doctor to alleviate the symptoms.
Is It Normal?
It is common to experience a vaginal itch from time to time. However, if it becomes persistent or intensifies, it could indicate a more serious underlying condition.
Therefore, it is crucial to take note of any recent changes in your routine, such as the use of specific menstrual products or if the itchiness appears suddenly. This will help in identifying the root cause of the problem.
Be sure to see a doctor if:
- You’re noticing blisters or ulcers on your vulva.
- You’re feeling pain or tenderness in your vagina.
- You’re noticing redness in or around your vagina.
- You’re having trouble urinating.
- You’re experiencing pain or discomfort during sex.
- You’re noticing unusual vaginal discharge.
How To Stop Or Avoid Itching Down There
There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all remedy depending on the reason behind your itching. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider to see what treatment is best for you.
To help keep any itchiness and irritations to a minimum, here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to vaginal care:
- Do: Use only unscented soaps and lotions.
- Don’t: Use vaginal sprays.
- Do: Change out of wet clothing after swimming or exercising.
- Don’t: Use any vaginal sprays or douches.
- Do: Wipe front to back (and not too hard!) after using the bathroom.
- Do: Change your underwear daily.
Experiencing vaginal itchiness is a common issue and should not cause panic or embarrassment. It is important to pay attention to the signals your body is sending you to identify the cause of the itchiness.
If the symptoms persist and begin to affect your daily routine, seeking medical attention is recommended to obtain a fast solution.