Vaginal Itching – Are You Affected by It

November 12, 2019
Itching in your intimate areas could be linked to fungal infections or simple irritation of the area, among other causes. Why should you be aware of the symptoms? When should you consult a doctor? Continue reading to find out.

Itching in the vaginal region is a common problem that often worries women. Often, it occurs when there’s an imbalance in the pH of the area either due to infections or improper use of hygiene products. In any case, there are many other causes.

As a study published in Dermatologic Clinics points out, the causes of vaginal itching could be inflammatory, environmental, neoplastic or infectious. In addition, several causes can simultaneously coexist at times.

So, whenever you experience this symptom, it’s important to observe if there are other discomforts. In addition, you must check if there’s exposure to any possible triggers. If so, it’s most convenient to consult a doctor or a gynecologist to get advice on how to properly address it.

Reasons why you might have vaginal itching

There are many things that could explain the appearance of vaginal itching. According to a study published in BioMed Research International, hormonal changes, changes in the composition of the vaginal microflora and changes in vulvovaginal pH are frequent reasons for this symptom.

But, beyond this, there are more concrete reasons to explain this symptom and they have to do with a hormonal or pH imbalance. It’s important to obtain a proper diagnosis because the success of the treatment depends on it.

1. Yeast infection

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis, a fungal infection, is one of the most common causes of vaginal itching. According to data found in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. It’s the result of the proliferation of the fungus Candida albicans, which is usually part of the normal vaginal microbiota.

However, it triggers an inflammatory response that leads to some symptoms when it grows and penetrates the mucous lining of the vagina. In addition to itching, you could also have secretions, dyspareunia, and swelling.

A woman with vaginal itching.

We recommend you read Vaginal discharge and your health

2. Vulvitis and vaginal itching

Vulvitis is usually more frequent among postmenopausal women due to the decrease in their estrogen levels. This is the medical term given to vulvar irritation.

Its most characteristic symptoms are swelling and redness of the genital area, accompanied by itching. Coinciding with information in the MSD Manual, it may also be caused by:

  • Allergies to substances that come into contact with the vulva, such as soaps, perfumes, and even fabrics.
  • Skin disorders such as dermatitis.
  • Yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Pediculosis pubis

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3. Hair removal

There are many hair removal techniques that lead to itching in the vagina immediately after their use. This is because the skin in this area is highly sensitive and has a tendency to manifest allergic reactions.

Razors, shaving machines, and even creams can lead to skin irritation and also to buried hairs that become infected. In addition, the fabric of some clothes tends to rub on the shaved area and worsens the irritation.

Shaving may cause vaginal itching

4. Sexually transmitted diseases

In very few cases vaginal itching is due to an STD; however, it could be why it itches. Remember that these types of diseases are asymptomatic in their early stages, in most cases. Depending on the type of STD, the person may or may not experience itching at the beginning, though.

If in addition to itching you notice small red bumps in your genital area, then it’s very likely that you have genital herpes, one of the most common and widespread STDs. It seldom has serious consequences, but it’s important to treat it so it does not become chronic.

5. Skin conditions and vaginal itching

Skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema can also lead to itching in your intimate area. It’s easy to detect when eczema is the source of vaginal itching because it affects several areas at a time.

If you often have these types of problems, then it’s important that you consult a general practitioner or a gynecologist so they prescribe an adequate treatment for your problem.

According to a systematic review published in Dermatologic Therapy, there are treatments for psoriasis in the vulva such as low-resistance topical corticosteroids and the application of mild moisturizers.

6. Menopause

During their transition to menopause, women go through a series of hormonal changes, especially associated with their estrogen levels, the same that trigger changes in their bodies. These changes particularly affect both the vagina and the vulva, as their pH alters and their natural lubrication decreases.

As a publication in the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) highlights, the decrease in estrogen causes the tissues of the vulva and the lining of the vagina to become thinner, drier and less flexible. Therefore, women are more susceptible to symptoms such as burning, itching, and pain.

A woman consulting a doctor about her vaginal itching.

The importance of consulting a doctor if you’re itchy

It’s particularly crucial to consult a doctor if your itching presents itself with any of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Fever and pain in the area of the pelvis or abdomen.
  • You think you might’ve been exposed to an STD.

If it’s an infection, you could have one of the following symptom combinations:

  • Itching, accompanied by redness and swelling in the genital area.
  • Vaginal discharge (in girls who haven’t yet entered puberty).
  • Sudden changes in the amount, consistency, smell or color of the flow.
  • Presence of blisters or lesions in the vagina or vulva.
  • A sensation of burning when urinating.

Avoid self-medicating at all costs and don’t apply products that weren’t prescribed by your doctor. It’s better to consult a gynecologist so they can prescribe the appropriate treatment according to your case.

  • Savas, J. A., & Pichardo, R. O. (2018, July 1). Female Genital Itch. Dermatologic Clinics. W.B. Saunders. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.det.2018.02.006
  • Lambert J. Pruritus in female patients. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:541867. doi:10.1155/2014/541867
  • Jeanmonod R, Jeanmonod D. Vaginal Candidiasis (Vulvovaginal Candidiasis) [Updated 2019 Feb 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459317/
  • Foster, D. C. (1993). Vulvitis and vaginitis. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001703-199312000-00003
  • Marfatia YS, Patel D, Menon DS, Naswa S. Genital contact allergy: A diagnosis missed. Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2016;37(1):1–6. doi:10.4103/0253-7184.180286