Causes of Vaginal Itching
Apparently, itching on the skin of the vagina or vulva (area surrounding the vagina) can be caused by any of the followings:
- Yeast infection: Vaginal thrush is a yeast infection also known as vaginal candidiasis. Yeast infections occur when the yeast, candida, grows excessively in the vagina and vulva. Pregnancy, sexual intercourse, antibiotics, and a weakened immune system can make women more likely to get vaginal thrush. As well as irritation, a yeast infection can produce a thick, white discharge.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts,trichomoniasis and gonorrhoea, can cause vaginal itching and irritation
- Overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina, called bacterial vaginosis: It is normal to have a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina. But the wrong balance of bacteria growing there can lead to an infection. Besides itching, other symptoms that come with bacterial vaginosis are inflammation, burning, discharge, and a fishy-smelling odour.
- Menopause or low estrogen levels: The drop in oestrogen production that occurs at the end of a woman’s reproductive years can cause the vaginal walls to thin and dry out. This can lead to itching and irritation. Thinning of the vaginal walls is also a problem for some women who breastfeed.
- Chemical irritants. A number of chemical substances, including creams,condoms, contraceptive foams, washing powders, soaps, scented toilet paper and fabric softeners, can irritate the vagina.
Other causes can include:
- Foreign objects left in the vagina, such as a tampon
- An intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
- Medications, such as antibiotics and steroids
- Damp or tight-fitting clothing
- Chemicals found in detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, ointments, creams, douches, and contraceptive foams, jellies, or creams:
Signs of a Vaginal Infection
The following signs/symptoms can prove to a vaginal infection:
- Pelvic pain
- Foul-smelling discharge.
Treatment Options for Vaginal Itching
In some mild cases, a healthy lifestyle may be all you would need to come out of that unfortunate situation. While in others, medical attention would be needed to get rid of the itching. Medical treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms, and may include prescribed medications or creams.
The following home remedies may also help relieve your symptoms:
- Keeping your genital area clean and dry
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing, cotton underwear during the day, and no underwear while sleeping to help your vagina “breathe”
- Refraining from using soap, and rinsing the area with water instead
- Soaking in a warm (not hot) bath
- Avoiding douches, as they eliminate healthy bacteria that help fight infections
- Not applying hygiene sprays, fragrances, or powders near the vagina
- Using pads instead of tampons if you have an infection
- Wiping from front to back when using the toilet.
Vaginal discomfort is treated in different ways depending on what condition is causing the problem. For example:
- STIs are often treated with antibiotics.
- Vaginal thrush is treated with antifungal medication. These can be taken orally or inserted into the vagina in the form of creams or pessaries.
- Menopause-related itching may be treated with oestrogen cream or tablets.
- Other types of itching and irritation respond to steroid creams or lotions which reduce inflammation. A prescription-strength steroid cream can relieve the irritation of lichen sclerosis.