Itchy vagina is a more common problem in many women than you may think. There are many factors that can cause vaginal itch ranging from growing pubic hair (after shaving) to sexually transmitted infection. Occasional itch at the genitals is quite common and need not be worried about but if the itch doesn’t subside or go away after a couple of days, you will need to see a good gynaecologist near you. After diagnosis, treatment will be targeted towards addressing the root cause of the problem. Let’s look at vaginal itching in more detail in this article.
What causes an itchy vagina?
Some women can develop the itch around the vagina that lasts throughout the day while some women feel the itchy vagina after sex, before or after period. Some of the common causes of an itchy vagina include:
- Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis
- Lichen sclerosus
- Simple skin irritation for being wet for long (sweat or for staying in water)
- Using chemicals based products to wash vagina that may irritate the skin around vagina
- Yeast infection
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Trichomoniasis, one of the common Sexually Transmitted Infections
Should you continue to scratch the area while your vagina is itchy?
Scratching any area of the body when it feels itchy is very common and the relief is too good to stop. However, you should not continue to scratch the itchy area as it can lead to peeling of skin which isn’t good. If the itch around your vagina persists for longer, the best option is to see a good doctor.
Diagnosing an itchy vagina
Wondering who is the right doctor to treat vaginal itching? Well, you may see a dermatologist as long as the itch is superficial and related to skin. But you never know what the actual cause of the itch is. We recommend you see a good gynaecologist near you if you are suffering from vaginal itching. Reason being, a gynaecologist will be able to address most of the causes that can lead to vaginal itching and if he/she thinks that it is totally related to skin, you may be referred to a skin specialist then.
Your gynaecologist will start with a series of questions regarding your hygiene, chemicals you use, what you eat, if you have had unprotected sex in the recent past. Being honest with your doctor is always advisable.
Then, your doctor may go for a physical examination of the area to see if the reason is as visible as psoriasis or an infection. Some diseases may cause warts or blisters around the vagina that may itch. Your doctor may collect a sample of any discharge from the vagina or from around the vagina and send it for testing to determine the microbe that is causing the itch. (Some women may have an itchy vagina with white discharge.)
Treating vaginal itching
Treatment for an itchy vagina depends on what is causing it.
- Eczema may be addressed with a steroid cream
- Psoriasis – your gynaecologist may recommend you to see a dermatologist and get it treated.
- Allergic itch – You may be given antihistamine medicine to reduce the symptoms of allergy
- Lichen sclerosus may be treated with light therapy (or phototherapy)
- Infection related itches such as those caused by fungus or bacteria – appropriate antibiotics may be provided.
How to keep your vagina healthy and free from itch?
- First thing is to keep the vagina clean and dry. Wash your bottom well with mild soap so that any infection doesn’t get to the vagina. Keeping the area dry and free from sweat can avoid occasional itching.
- If you have stayed in water for long or taken a shower, make sure the area gets totally dry before you put on your clothes. Wearing clothes on a wet vagina can hold the moisture that can harbour growth of microbes.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or soaps that may irritate your skin around the genitals.
- If you are using any kind of lubricating creams before or during sex and then having a itchy vagina after sex, then you need to speak with your gynaecologist to change the cream or lube.
- Wearing tight undergarments can also cause an itchy vagina.
- You must say NO to unprotected sex with new partners. Well, abstaining from sex with unfamiliar people is the best option but when you want to do it, play it safe. Protected sex can not only save from a possibly an itchy vagina, you can avoid unexpected pregnancy and deadly sexually transmitted infection such as HIV.