Irritated, inflamed skin around the vulva that’s painful to touch is a sign that your vagina is not happy. Vaginal itching, burning and discharge can be caused by many different aggravating factors. One thing that remains common is pain. While maintaining good genital hygiene can help fight infections, those aren’t responsible for an itchy vagina. So what exactly causes a vagina to itch, how does it hamper your everyday life and what are some treatment options available?

TC46 connected with Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Madhavi Reddy from Motherhood Hospitals in Bangalore to know more about this topic. Here, she explains the difference between vulvar itching and vaginal itching and shares some effective home remedies.

1. What are the signs and symptoms of vaginal irritation? Is vulvar itching different from vaginal itching?

If the itching is intense enough to interrupt your everyday life or sleep, it is important to see your doctor for vaginal itching. There are several remedies that can minimize the irritation of vaginal itching, but most cases are not serious. If your vaginal itching lasts for more than one week or if your itching occurs along with the following signs, you can also contact your doctor:

  • Ulcers or blisters on the vulva
  • Pain or tenderness in the genital area
  • Genital redness or swelling
  • Trouble urinating
  • An unusual vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse

On the outside of your body, the vulva is the section of the genitals: 

  • Labia
  • Clitoris
  • Vaginal opening
  • Opening to the urethra (the hole you pee out of)

Although vaginas are just one part of the vulva, when they really mean the vulva, many individuals say “vagina”.

2. What are the causes of vaginal itching? 

Here are some of the potential causes of itching in the vagina and the area around it.

  1. Irritants: It may cause vaginal itching by exposing the vagina to irritating chemicals.
  2. Skin illnesses: Some skin diseases in the genital region can cause redness and itching, such as eczema and psoriasis.
  3. Contamination with yeast: Yeast is a fungus that develops naturally and is usually found in the vagina. Usually, it doesn’t cause problems, but an unpleasant infection can occur when its development goes unchecked.
  4. Vaginosis of bacteria: BV is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring good and bad bacteria in the vagina, much like a vaginal yeast infection.
  5. Sexually transmitted illnesses: During unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple STDs may be transmitted and cause itching in the vagina.
  6. Menopause: There is a greater chance of vaginal scratching for women who are going through menopause or who have already done so.
  7. Stress: Physical and emotional stress may cause vaginal itching and discomfort, but this is not very common. It can happen when stress stimulates the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections that cause itching.
  8. Cancer of the vulvar: Cancer of the vulva cannot always cause symptoms. However, it may include scratching, excessive bleeding, or discomfort in the vulvar region when symptoms arise.

3. How can one distinguish between mild and severe itching? What is the difference between having a little itch and being up all night due to the itching?

Usually, a “light” vaginal itch is caused by a reaction to something that has come into contact with your vagina (contact dermatitis) without a change in your normal vaginal fluid/discharge, such as: 

  • Fragrant soap
  • Body wash
  • Vaginal lubricants and spermicides
  • Latex condoms
  • Fragrant tampons and pads
  • Underwear washed in fragrant detergent and/or fabric softener
  • Tight underwear/thongs
  • Wearing a wet bathing suit for long periods of time
  • Extreme Scratching of the vagina

Vaginal itching is an unpleasant and often painful symptom that often occurs because of irritating substances, infections, or menopause. This may also arise due to certain skin conditions or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In rare cases, due to stress or vulvar cancer, vaginal itching could occur.

The outer female genitals are affected by vulvar itching, and it can be painful and distracting, especially at night. While this symptom may occur at any time of day, since there are fewer distractions, it may seem more pronounced at night. It makes you hyperconscious of the scratching. 

Here are six common causes of itching in the vulva:

  • Infections
  • The sensitivity of the vulval skin
  • Diabetes
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer of the vulval skin

4. Is vaginal itching a symptom of an underlying disease or condition? What is an indicator of and how is it diagnosed?

Vulvar and vaginal itching are common. There are several possible causes, including irritation, yeast infections, and certain skin conditions In some cases, vaginal itching can be caused by or indicate a serious underlying condition, such as a sexually transmitted disease

When you have persistent vaginal itching, seek prompt medical attention. It is also advisable to visit a gynaecologist immediately if you have the following symptoms:

  • A shift in perception or alertness levels, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding with pregnancy
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Severe lower abdominal or back pain

5. How does vaginal itching hamper your sexual health and genital hygiene?

Vaginal itching can affect your genital hygiene and can hamper your sexual health due to the following reasons.

  • Painful urination
  • Redness and swelling of the vagina and the area around the vulva
  • A burning sensation  
  • Painful sex, also called dyspareunia
  • Thick, white, odourless discharge that looks like cottage cheese

6. What are some effective home remedies that can cure vaginal itching?

5 Successful Home Vaginal Itching Remedies

  1. Baking soda: It can help to treat yeast infections and minimize skin irritation by taking a bath with baking soda.
  2. ACV bath: A bath with Apple Cider Vinger (ACV) can also help to soothe an infection, much like baking soda.
  3. Coconut oil: Research in 2016 showed that coconut oil can kill bacteria that cause yeast infections. On your fingertips, take a few drops of coconut oil and apply it to your skin properly.
  4. Probiotic foods: Consuming food products containing probiotics allows healthy bacteria to thrive and can help to get rid of the gross infection.
  5. Essential oil: In the treatment of infection, certain essential oils are also useful. The two most effective oils that can be used for itchy vagina are tea tree and oregano.

7. What are some lifestyle and dietary changes that can help curb vaginal itching?

Compounds that can improve vaginal health and symptoms of vaginal conditions are found in some foods and beverages. Probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented food and beverages are among others. Increasing your intake of healthy proteins and fats and increasing your intake of low-starch fruit and vegetables can also benefit you. Having a low-sugar diet doesn’t mean that you have to go hungry; other food classes just need to consume more.

8. Which preventive measure would you recommend to keep vaginal itching at bay?

  1. As a dull razor will aggravate the skin around your vagina, causing pain and redness, get a new razor for yourself.
  2. Wear clothing that is loose and wearable. Tight clothing can cause discomfort and it can result in irritation.
  3. Do not clean your vagina with very harsh soap. This can interact with their normal and balanced bacteria.

9. When should you visit a doctor and seek professional medical help?

Then visit a gynaecologist if the infection lasts longer than 5 days, as it could be due to other medical conditions. Other than that, it is safe to see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain during urination or sex
  • Swelling or redness in the genital area
  • Blister in the vulva
  • Foul odour
  • Discharge that looks like cottage cheese
15585

36 Irresistible Breakfast Recipes

Enter your email to unlock

15856