Understand what causes vaginal itching, including the symptoms, cures and prevention
Vaginal itching -- it’s not the most comfortable of subjects, but for many women, it can be
downright embarrassing and painful.
The causes for vaginal itching are varied. So how can one tell the difference between a vaginal itch caused by a
infection, or something as simple as an itch that is caused by wearing too many layers of clothes? The
following symptoms may provide the answer to your underlying problem.
Common Causes of Vaginal Itching
- Bacterial Vaginosis or Yeast Infections - Caused by an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria in the
vagina. These vaginal itching causes normally manifest themselves when there are changes to the natural pH
balance of the vagina that can occur during adolescence, menopause or pregnancy due to hormone imbalance.
- Detergents, Perfumes or Dyes - Certain types of fragrances, powders or perfumes can cause
vaginal itching. Douches, scented panty-liners or other feminine hygiene products can also cause an itchy,
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Certain STDs, such as genital herpes, Chlamydia,
gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis can cause genital itching as one of many additional symptoms.
Symptoms of Vaginal Itching
In addition to itching, other symptoms may be present include swelling, redness or irritation around the vagina
including clitoral itching, vulvar itching and labia itching.
If you notice itching after sexual activity (whether immediately or after a few days), it may be due to a
sexually transmitted disease and you may have other symptoms such as blisters or a foul odor or discharge. Greyish
or yellow discharge with fishy vaginal odor can also occur with bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection, so it’s
important to have a pelvic exam done by your doctor or gynecologist to determine the cause of the itching.
Cures For Vaginal Itch
If you’ve just started to notice an uncomfortable and embarrassing itch, you can take the following steps to
help ease the discomfort.
- Eat Yogurt - Some women find relief by eating yogurt, which helps replenish "good"
bacteria in the gut and vaginal area. This is an ideal treatment for preventing yeast infections as well.
- Let your skin breathe - You may be itching "down there" because you were wearing clothes
that were too tight or binding against your skin. Instead wear loose-fitting, cotton clothing to prevent sweat,
moisture and bacteria from getting trapped up against the sensitive vaginal area.
- Sit in a sitz bath - A sitz bath can be made in your ordinary bathtub by filling it up
until it reaches the vaginal area. You may want to add salt and vinegar to help restore the vagina’s natural
balance and kill any offending bacteria. The amount depends on the size of the bathtub, but the salt should
easily dissolve. Sitting in this type of bath for 20 to 30 minutes can often relieve vaginal itching.
Preventing Vaginal Itching
Once your genital itching is relieved and remedied, you’ll want to take the proper steps to keep it from
happening again. Assuming you’ve had a pelvic exam and have ruled out any sexually transmitted disease itching or
symptoms (which may require antibiotics), you can follow these steps to prevent vaginal itching from occurring in
- Change wet clothing immediately - remove wet bathing suits or sweaty clothes as soon as
possible and rinse off with a warm shower and mild, unscented soap. This will help prevent bacteria (from the
sweat or moisture) from building up in the vaginal area.
- Don't use vaginal douches - douching alters the pH balance within the vagina and can
increase the chance of a woman getting infections which will result in vaginal itching.
- Avoid scented stuff - many people have allergic reactions which can cause vaginal itching,
especially if they use scented panty-liners, deodorant sprays or perfumes. Certain spermicides and condoms may
also cause vaginal itching.
- Loosen Up! - in addition to avoiding clothes that are too tight, clothes that are too
close to the skin can also cause vaginal itching. It’s important to let your skin "breathe" by wearing loose
clothings that will allow ventilation of airflow to the vaginal area to avoid excessive perspiration or
accumulation of moisture.