What causes vaginal itch?
Vaginal itch can be caused by several conditions; menopause, infections, or eczema, just to mention a few. Here are a couple of the most common causes behind vaginal itch:
Contact dermatitis may occur if you have recently changed soap and gotten vaginal itch. It may be caused by an allergic reaction which can develop from:
- Lubricants and contraceptive substance
- Latex condoms or diapraghms
- Washing powder
- Wearing tight clothing
- Shampoos and body wash
- Tampons and sanitary pads
- Certain activities such as riding and cycling
Bacterial vaginosis is a state where the vaginal bacteria is unbalanced – there are always bacteria in the vagina. The most common symptom is smelly vaginal discharges. The discharge is usually thin, and color varies between grey and yellow. Bacterial vaginosis occur when the pH balance in your vagina changes. This can happen from for example having intercourse with multiple partners or douching.
Hormone Changes / Menopause
Going through menopause can for some women cause vaginal itch. The itching depends on the reduction of estrogen level which leads to vaginal atrophy.
Even though it’s not the most common cause, being stressed – physically or emotionally – can sometimes cause vaginal itch. Being stressed can impair the immune system which makes the body more prone to infections that can cause vaginal itch.
Sexually transmitted diseases
Several STDs can cause vaginal itching, amongst numerous other symptoms. These STD´s include:
- genital warts
- genital herpes
Who can get vaginal itch?
Vaginal itch is a common condition and affects many women in all ages at one or several times during their lives. As mentioned, it can occur from a number of reasons which makes it difficult to give an exact answer to how many women are affected.
When should you see a doctor?
Vaginal itch is likely to affect all women at one point or another. It can be unpleasant for a short while and then go away or it can stick with you for longer. Either way, it can be hard to know when to visit a gynecologist or a doctor.
The vagina is self-cleaning and pretty much takes care of itself. However, sometimes other factors can disturb the balance and cause itching. You should see a gynecologist/doctor if the itching is combined with any of these symptoms:
A thick white discharge
If you discover a thicker, white discharge together with vaginal itch, you might have a vaginal yeast infection. If this is the case, you will also probably experience that your vagina is red and swollen.
If you’ve never experienced a yeast infection before, it can be good to visit your gynecologist so that you can get a proper diagnosis. If you have experienced it previously and you treated it with the over-the-counter yeast infection medication without getting rid of the symptoms, you should also visit your gynecologist.
A gray or yellow, smelly discharge
If you are experiencing an itching vagina in combination with a gray, smelly discharge, it could be Bacterial Vaginosis. The itching in this case will be intense on the outside of the vagina and in the vulvar area. Other symptoms could be vaginal pain and a burning feeling.
Bacterial Vaginosis is treated with antibiotics. If you don’t get it treated, it can cause an increased risk of getting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. It can also cause complications if you are pregnant.
Unexplained vaginal bleeding
Many women experience vaginal itch during their periods. When experiencing unexplained bleeding in combination with vaginal itch it might be due to any of these causes:
- vaginal infection
- vaginal dryness
- vaginal trauma
- oral contraceptives
- thyroid problems
- uterine conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids
If experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding, you should see a doctor.
Having vaginal itch in combination with any urinary symptoms such as burning when urinating, urinary frequency and urgency, may be a sign of urinary tract infection and a vaginal infection.
What you can do yourself
As some cases of vaginal itch might require professional help, there are things you can do to help calm or avoid itch yourself. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure not to use scented pads or toilet paper, creams, bubble bath, feminine sprays, or douche gels
- Only use water and mild soap when cleaning your genital area. Wash regularly, but not more than once a day, it can cause dryness. Read more about VagiVital V Cleanser
- When using the toilet, always wipe from the front to the back
- Use cotton underwear instead of synthetic underwear
- Change underwear daily
- Use condoms during intercourse to protect yourself from any sexually transmitted diseases
- Avoid sexual intercourse until the itch has disappeared
- If you’re suspecting that the itch has occurred from dryness, use a vaginal moisturizer. Read more about VagiVital Active Gel
- Avoid scratching as it can aggravate the itch