Many women experience an itchy vagina. In fact, it is very common for the vagina to itch now and again. When it becomes a persistent issue, though, there may be cause for greater concern. In these cases, you will require the assistance of a medical professional to find out what is going on and prevent further complications.
Also known by its medical name, Pruritus vulvae, the consistently itchy vagina it is most often a symptom of some other condition.
What Causes Vaginal Burning?
There are several infections, skin conditions, or other causes that can result in vaginal itching:
- Infections - These are one of the most common causes. STIs like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis, are highly contagious. Vaginal itching is one of their main symptoms. UTIs, urinary tract infections, occur when the urethra becomes maligned with harmful bacteria. It too can lead to a vaginal itch. Left untreated, the symptoms of these infections can worsen, perhaps even leading to infertility.
- Tiny Insects - Women with pubic hair may be experiencing itching due to crabs, pubic lice, or other tiny organisms that have made the hair their home. These creatures feed on the blood, lay their eggs, and continue to multiply. The are not an issue for individuals without pubic hair.
- Skin Conditions - One of several skin conditions could be present in the genital region and causing a woman to itch. Eczema and psoriasis are genetic conditions that create patchy rashes on different parts of the body.
Lichen Planus and Lichen Sclerosus develop in middle-aged women and cause an itching sensation, accompanied by a rash and other assorted symptoms. Women with immune disorders, thyroid conditions, and diabetes are at increased risk.
Contact Dermatitis covers skin irritations caused by allergens. All manner of perfumes, soaps, detergents, fabric softeners and the like can cause the reaction. Douching creates conditions in the vagina where itching can become prevalent. You might also induce dermatitis through shaving. Women who regularly trim their pubic hair could end up with rashes, irritation, and vaginal itching.
- Altered Estrogen Levels - Can occur for many reasons. Women often experienced lowered estrogen while breastfeeding or going through menopause. Birth control or emergency contraceptives can also cause hormones to fluctuate. The change in estrogen results in thinner, dryer vaginal walls that itch consistently.
- Pregnancy - - Can cause several conditions which lead to itching. The enlargement of the vulva is one possibility. Increase levels of vaginal discharge or symptoms from a condition called thrush could also be to blame.
- Incontinence - The uncontrollable expulsion of urine and feces can irritate surrounding areas (the genitals). Getting to rough when wiping oneself, or wiping from back to front, can worsen the effect, leading to more itchiness.
- UTIs - When your body's urine excretion system becomes infected, it may try to warn you with an unpleasant burning in the vagina.
- Side-Effects Of Medication - A wide array of medications include itching as a side effect.
- General Conditions - Thyroid issues, blood diseases, and other organ diseases (liver, kidneys, etc.) can have generalized itching as a symptom. The vaginal itching may be a part of these larger conditions. Though it is uncommon, cancer can also be a possible cause of vaginal itching.
Diagnosing The Issue
After asking questions about your medical history and determining what other symptoms you are experiencing, a doctor may order tests to find out what is going on. They will make use of blood tests, urine tests, swabs, and samples of vaginal discharges to narrow down the culprit.
Treating Vaginal Burning
Will depend on the cause. If vaginal itching does not resolve on its own, the doctor will recommend a treatment that will eliminate the source of the issue. In the case of infections, it is clearing the infection. Prescription medications and antibiotics are usually the cure.
You may have to treat skin conditions with steroids or creams. In the case of eczema or psoriasis, and oatmeal bath could provide you with relief. You can curb allergic reactions by limiting the use of the irritating products. You may need to use generic moisturizers and lubricants to cut down on vaginal dryness.
Doctors may counteract fluctuating hormone levels with pills and topical creams. If birth control is the cause of the hormonal changes, the doctor may advise that you switch the type of birth control that you use.
General Tips For Vaginal Itching
You may have to stop shaving. At least for a while. The process can agitate the vagina and worsen any itch that you have.
Wash regularly. It will help keep your vagina clean. Wash once a day, and do it gently. Shower are preferable to baths. Overwashing will worsen symptoms, though, so regulate cleaning sessions carefully.
Wear breathable clothing that doesn't constrict the genitals, and don't put on underwear until your vulva is dry. You may need to pat it down with a towel or use a blow dryer to get the job done.