Home Health Well-Being Vulvar Itching: Treating The Condition That Causes Many Women Great Discomfort

Vulvar Itching: Treating The Condition That Causes Many Women Great Discomfort


Vulvar itching is more common than you think. Especially yeast infections which usually happen to all women at least once in our lives. Some symptoms of vulvar itching can be treated through simple home remedies, while others need medical attention. However, they can be easily kept at bay by following some preventive measures.

Let’s get started with the common symptoms, causes, diagnostic procedures, treatment, home remedies, and preventive tips for an itchy vulva. Also, let’s take a look at the warning signs you need to see a doctor to get relief from the symptoms.

6 Possible Causes Of An Itchy Vulva

1. Bacterial Vaginosis

This occurs as a result of the unchecked growth of harmful bacteria in the vagina. This bacteria is different from the healthy mix of beneficial bacteria that breeds in the lady bits of a woman’s body. Apart from itching, other common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are burning, inflammation, fishy-smelling odour, and abnormal discharge. 

2. Yeast Infection

Also known as vaginal candidiasis, it develops when a certain type of yeast called candida grows excessively in the vulva and vagina. Symptoms like irritation, itching, and thick, white, cheesy discharge are common in such cases and occur mostly among pregnant women, those under the prescription of antibiotics, and as a result of weakened immune systems and intercourse. Yeast infections are quite common, so much so that it occurs to every woman at least once in her lifetime.

3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Some of the most common STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes, trichomoniasis, and genital warts can result in vulvar or vaginal itching and irritation, apart from other symptoms. 

4. Menopause

Menopause or the cessation of menstrual bleeding at the end of a woman’s reproductive years, can thin down the vaginal walls, and also make them dry. This will likely lead to irritation and itching in the vagina and vulva. Thinning of the vaginal walls can also happen to some breastfeeding women.

5. Lichen Sclerosis

This skin condition is defined by thin, white patches that develop on the skin, specifically around the vulva. These patches can scar the vaginal wall permanently. This is usually most common among post-menopausal women. Certain other conditions like atopic eczema, psoriasis, and lichen planus, may also manifest through the same signs, as do some infections like threadworms, thrush, and scabies. 

6. Chemical Irritants

Certain chemical substances like condoms, contraceptive foams, creams, laundry detergents, soaps, fabric softeners, scented toilet papers, douches, panty liners, and sanitary napkins, among others, can irritate the vulva and vagina. 

7. Urinary / Faecal Continence

This tends to make the vulvar skin irritated and unusually moist. Scrubbing the area too hard with toilet paper, whether scented or not, can also result in the same. Inadequate or careless washing or drying of the area, and wiping the vagina in a back-to-front motion may also lead to an itchy vulva.

8. Stress

Another underlying cause of vulvar itching is stress. When stress is involved, it may make the itching stay longer, even after other underlying causes have been cured.

9 Possible Symptoms Of Vulvar Itching

Vulvar itching can happen as a result of various health conditions. The possible symptoms of vulvar itching depend on the health condition that you have developed. Here are some of the common symptoms of itching in the vulvar region:

  1. Burning sensation 
  2. Itching
  3. Unusual vaginal discharge
  4. Blisters on the vulva may burst, ooze, and develop a crust
  5. Thick, whitish patches of skin on the vulva, which can feel scaly
  6. Swelling and redness on the inner labia, or the vaginal lips, and other places in your vulva – labia minora itching and labia majora itching is quite common 

3 Symptoms That Need Immediate Attention

  1. Trouble urinating
  2. Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  3. Pain or tenderness in the genital area

How Is It Diagnosed?

  • Your doctor is expected to check your medical history and enquire about the symptoms you’re experiencing and the habits you follow for maintaining vaginal hygiene
  • Next, he may do a physical examination, with special emphasis on a pelvic examination. 
  • He/she may look for changes in your skin like inflammation, blisters, redness, lesions, etc.
  • He/she may also want to check your vaginal fluid for signs of infection.
  • Finally, he/she may recommend medical tests like urine tests, blood tests, pap smears, and STI tests.

The above process is likely to give your doctor the leads required to diagnose the cause behind the symptoms you’re experiencing. Once it has been diagnosed that your symptoms are the result of a skin condition or an infection, he/she can prescribe a suitable treatment. 

14 Home Remedies For Vulvar Itching & Burning

Here are some itchy vulva remedies you can follow at home. The below is applicable for labia majora itching home remedies too.

  1. Wash your vulva gently once every day.
  2. Stay away from applying scented soaps, shower gels, and bubble baths in your area down under.
  3. Use a gentle cleanser and warm water to wash your genital area.
  4. Let cotton underwear be your lady bit’s BFF as synthetic materials like nylon tend to brush against it, raising the likelihood of infections, redness, inflammations, and itchy vaginal opening.
  5. Dry your vulva completely before putting on your underwear.
  6. Make sure you change your underwear at least once every day.
  7. Consider skipping wearing underwear when you’re at home, especially at home. Is vulvar itching worse at night? This is one home remedy you should definitely try.
  8. Do not shave your pubic hair as that increases the chances of an infection down there.
  9. Keep away from using vaginal sprays and let your lady breathe easily.
  10. Avoid tight-fitted clothes like cycling shorts, fitted denim, and leggings, and instead switch over to skirts, dresses, and the like.
  11. Use barrier birth control methods during sexual intercourse.
  12. Change your wet clothes immediately after a swim.
  13. Wipe front to back, and not the other way round, to eliminate the scope of bacteria from your faeces from reaching your vulva and vagina.
  14. Get tested for STIs, especially before the start of a new physical relationship, and convince your partner to do the same. 

Itchy Vulva Treatment By A Doctor

Your doctor may prescribe an emollient or a medicated brand moisturiser to ease the redness, inflammation, and itching. Both prescription-based and over-the-counter (OTC) moisturisers are readily available at pharmacies. They serve as a substitute for soaps and can be refrigerated, so it works as a coolant when applied. Your doctor may prescribe vaginal moisturisers and lubricants if the inflammation and itching are on the inside of your vulva. Stop yourself from scratching every time you feel an itch and instead apply the moisturiser liberally. Scratching the area is likely to aggravate the condition. 

When To Seek Help For An Itchy Vulva?

It is essential to seek expert help if none of the home remedies for vulvar itching and burning, as discussed above, have proved to be effective in giving you relief from the symptoms you’re experiencing. If the itching is so severe that it’s affecting your quality of life and interrupting your sleep, only a healthcare provider would be able to treat your condition. Aggravated symptoms that need immediate attention (which we listed previously) also indicate that you need to consult a doctor. 

8 Hacks To Prevent Vulvar Itching

The preventive measures for vulvar itching are the same as the home remedies you need to follow once you’re already experiencing this symptom. These are as below:

  1. Choose fragrance-free soaps, shower gels, bubble baths, and feminine hygiene products like panty liners, sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups. Any product that comes in contact with your area down under should be unscented.
  2. Change your underwear at least once every day, so that your panties do not become the breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
  3. Stick to 100% cotton panties over synthetic ones like nylon, which makes the area sweat and become prone to redness, itchiness, bacterial growth, and abrasions. 
  4. Change your wet or damp clothes immediately after a swim.
  5. Use barrier control methods every time during sex.
  6. Go for STI tests every time you enter a new physical relationship and convince your partner to do the same. 
  7. Do not shave your pubic hair. Instead, trim it with thoroughly-washed scissors that you use only for this purpose or go for bikini waxing at a reliable salon.
  8. Wipe the area down below from front to back and not from back to front to prevent harmful bacteria from reaching your vagina and leading to UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).
  9. If itching of the vulva is a common occurrence for you and vulvar itching worse at night, try giving your underwear a miss every time you’re at home. 

Vaginal and vulvar infections are quite common, and so are labia minora infections and labia majora infections, although they can be easily prevented by following basic feminine hygiene and some lifestyle changes. In case you experience an itchy vaginal opening, the symptoms can be treated through some home remedies. It is only when the symptoms get aggravated enough for home remedies to not be effective that you need to consult a doctor. A healthcare practitioner will prescribe the required meditations that will treat your condition effectively. Thereafter, you need to follow the preventive tips discussed above to ensure that you never experience the symptoms of vulvar itching again.

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