Vaginal itching is a very common and uncomfortable symptom that can happen due to many reasons like infection, irritants, chemicals, dryness or menopause. STD, stress and cancer can also cause itching. Most of the cases are not very serious and go away if the dryness and irritant is taken care of. But if it is not improving and is disrupting your daily routine then you should consult your doctor.
- Irritants- If the vagina is exposed to chemicals it can cause allergy or itchy rash.
- Scented toilet paper
- Synthetic undergarments
- Sanitary napkin
Any of the above can act as irritant. Diabetes or urinary incontinence may also cause vaginal irritation.
- Skin disease- Like eczema, psoriasis or lichen sclerosis can cause itching
- Yeast infection– This is the most common cause of itching. Yeast is a fungus normally present in vagina. If it is uncontrolled then it can cause infection. More common during pregnancy, diabetes and other conditions which weaken the immune system. It is accompanied by thick white curly discharge
- Bacterial Vaginosis- It happens due to imbalance between good and bad bacteria in vagina. It can cause itching, burning and abnormal foul smelling or fishy discharge
- Genital warts
- Genital herpes
- Menopause- Due to reduced estrogen levels, mucosa becomes thin which can cause irritation and itchiness
- Stress – Can weaken the immune system and make you prone to infection causing itching
- Vulvar cancer
When to see the doctor
If itching is severe enough to disrupt your daily life or sleep or if the following symptoms are present along with itching
- Rash, ulcer or blisters
- Pain and redness
- Foul smelling discharge
- Pain while passing urine
Most common cause is fungal and hence can be treated by antifungal medication like cream, pessary or pills. Antibiotics are needed in other infections. Estrogen cream or tablet can be used for menopause.
Other general measures
- Use warm water and pH balanced gentle wash for vagina
- Avoid irritant
- Avoid spray and perfumes
- Change wet or damp clothing frequently
- Wear cotton underwear
- Eat yogurt and other probiotics
- Wipe from front to back. Never do it back to front as the fecal matter is infective to the vagina and urethra both. Shower is better than jet for washing purposes.