The female genital area is extremely sensitive. Itching or irritation around this area can be very uncomfortable. It’s true that most cases of vaginal itching are benign; however, a few serious conditions can trigger this symptom.
This is why it might be a good idea to consult your primary care physician.
What causes vaginal itching?
There are a variety of causes of vaginal itching, including:
Bacterial vaginosis – The vagina has bacteria that do not cause any harm when balanced. When this balance gets disrupted, some bacteria can grow excessively, leading to inflammation, a burning sensation, discharges, and a fishy-smelling odor.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – Several microbes can cause STDs, including chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, and other organisms.
Yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis) – The incidence of vaginal yeast infection is 75% during a woman’s life. This infection mainly occurs when Candida albicans grows excessively in the vaginal flora. Common triggers of this infection include pregnancy, sexual intercourse, immunosuppression, and antibiotics. Besides the itching, you can develop a thick, white discharge. Look into boric acid suppositories for BV as a way to deal with this type of infection.
Menopause – This is characterized by a drop in estrogen, leading to irritation and dryness of the vagina. The atrophy of the vaginal tissues is also an issue in breastfeeding women.
Chemical irritants – Chemicals can trigger contact dermatitis, leading to vaginal itching. Some products that contain irritating chemicals include douches, creams, condoms, laundry detergents, soaps, contraceptive foams, and scented toilet paper.
Lichen sclerosis – This is a rare condition that leads to white patches on the skin and around the vagina. After a while, the patches can scar the vagina. Note that postmenopausal women are prone to developing this condition.
Vaginal Itching, Burning, and Irritation Treatment
Most cases of vaginal irritation resolve spontaneously. However, you should consult with your doctor if your symptoms go on for too long, become severe, or reoccur often. After taking your medical and sexual history, your doctor will conduct a physical examination that may include a pelvic inspection. Finally, a few tests can be ordered to confirm or exclude the diagnosis.
The treatment of vaginal irritation depends on the underlying cause. Here are a few causes and possible therapies:
Vaginosis and STDs are treated with antibiotics, antiparasitic, or antiviral medications.
Yeast infections get treated with antifungal medications such as Boric Acid suppositories. Other forms of treatment include creams, ointments, and oral medication. You can buy the medications as over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drugs. Before you take these medications, make sure to confirm the diagnosis of a yeast infection by consulting with your primary care physician.
Menopause-related itching can be treated with estrogen tablets, cream, and using a vaginal moisturizer.
Other types of itching and irritation may respond well to steroid creams and lotions. The purpose of this treatment is to dampen inflammation.
Young girls need to report any symptoms of itching, irritation, or burning to a healthcare provider. These signs can be a sign of sexual abuse.
Home Remedies to Deal with Vaginal Itching, Burning, and Irritation
Dealing with vaginal itching is possible through a few home remedies, which include:
- Not using scented toilet paper or pads, feminine sprays, and creams
- Using water and a plain to wash the genital area
- Wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom
- Wearing underwear made of cotton and changing them daily
- not using douches
- Changing diapers of infant girls on a regular basis
- Using physical barriers (e.g., condoms) to prevent the transmission of STDs
- Using a vaginal moisturizer in the case of vaginal dryness
- Not scratching the itchy area
- Avoid having sex until your symptoms resolve