VAGINAL ITCH IS A B*TCH!
MP EDITION 094
While vaginal itching is super common and rarely a cause for major concern, it's still super frustrating and very uncomfortable.
Is vaginal itching normal?
There are many completely normal reasons why you’re itching like crazy down there. Below are some reasons that might be causing the itch and the treatments for it.
What causes vaginal itching?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
A common condition caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, BV is a common cause of vaginal itching. However, while itching is one of the symptoms, it’s not actually the primary one of BV. The main symptoms are typically loose discharge, strong odor, and general irritation.
Treatment: Either an OTC medication to rebalance your pH levels or your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
Eczema or psoriasis
Skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis may be caused by an allergy or autoimmune disease and they often appear as red, patchy rashes in the inner elbow, the groin area, and even on the labia. Sometimes psoriasis can also occur on the skin around the vagina.
Treatment: Mild cases of both can be treated with topical corticosteroids and emollients.
Products or clothing that come in contact with your vagina, like soaps, detergents, bubble baths, and even underwear can cause itching, especially if it contains irritating artificial scents or ingredients. Same with pads and tampons, condoms and lubricants, shaving products, and even toilet paper. If your skin is sensitive, stick to products with hypoallergenic ingredients.
Treatment: First, if you know what is irritating your skin, stop using it ASAP. Try an Epsom salt bath or an OTC hydrocortisone cream and if it isn’t resolved in a few days, consult your doctor.
Vaginal yeast infections happen when there’s an overgrowth of the fungus Candida. Besides itching, symptoms include cottage cheese-like discharge, as well as redness around the labia and vulva. Candida needs warmth and moisture to grow so you can avoid infections by removing damp underwear as quickly as possible after exercising or other sweaty activities.
Treatment: OTC treatment like Monistat.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Itching is often the first sign of an STD and leads to other symptoms like burning, pain during urination, odorous discharge, or sores on your genitals. STDs that are commonly associated with vaginal itching include chlamydia, genital warts, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, pubic lice, and genital herpes.
Treatment: Varies based on the type of STD, and your doctor will be able to recommend the best course of treatment.
Lichen sclerosus is a patchy white rash that causes intense itching and most commonly occurs on your genital area.
Treatment: Prescription-strength topical steroid. It’s best to consult your doctor as vulvar cancer can sometimes be mistaken for lichen sclerosus.
Hormones fluctuate during your period, so you might end up with some vaginal dryness, which can cause itching. Perimenopause (the period before you start menopause) is also a common cause for vaginal dryness and itching due to the drop in estrogen.
Treatment: OTC moisturizer or your doctor might prescribe prescription estrogen cream.
Urinary tract infections (UTI)
A UTI is a bacterial infection anywhere in your urinary tract (kidneys, urethra, ureters, and bladder). In addition to itching, common symptoms also include pelvic pain, a burning sensation when you pee, and cloudy or bad-smelling urine.
Treatment: Depends on the type but treatments can include antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals.
Shaving or waxing
Treatment: Use a gentle toner post-hair removal to soothe irritation and stave off itchiness.
Vaginal pH imbalance
Everyday activities like exercising, having sex, or using douches can all disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina, which can cause itching, burning, and even abnormal odors.
Treatment: Change out of damp underwear immediately, avoid douching, and use products with natural ingredients.
How to stop itching down there?
In most cases, the cause behind the itchiness is treatable (OTC medication or prescriptions), as well as preventable (avoid using synthetic and artificial products down there).
However, if you're concerned about vaginal itching, it's always best to consult your doctor.