Almost every woman experiences an itchy vagina at some point. That doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable, though. An itching vagina can make you uneasy about going out, and sex can seem downright impossible. While itching can sometimes be a symptom of an infection, it’s more commonly a result of a simple change in vaginal conditions. This can be due to irritating hygiene products, hormonal changes, frequent intercourse, or a number of other factors. Stopping vaginal itching starts by finding the cause. Read on to learn how to find out what’s behind your itchy vagina and how to eliminate it at the source.
Make sure your itchy vagina isn’t caused bye an infection
Before anything else, it’s essential to ensure that the itching is a result of something in your lifestyle and not a vaginal infection. A doctor will be able to give you the best diagnosis, but there are some things you can look for that will clue you in as to whether or not that is the case. The two most common symptoms of vaginal infections are irritation (like itching) and unusual discharge. Not to be confused with simple spotting, unusual discharge occurs when there’s a sudden change in the color, consistency, or amount of fluid. An itchy vagina combined with abnormal discharge means you most likely have an infection. Luckily, both bacterial and yeast infections are easily treated. If you’re unsure whether you have an infection, see a doctor. It’s better to be safe than to risk complications from an untreated problem.
If an infection isn’t the source of the itching, take a look at your hygiene products. This includes more than just feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons, although those are important too. Soap, shampoo, perfume, personal lubricant, and even laundry detergent can cause an itchy vagina. The reason for this is the chemicals, fragrances, and dyes used in many products. While a pink, lavender vanilla scented panty liner might seem fun and cute, it really is not something that should be used on such a sensitive area. Switching to plain, white feminine hygiene products is much better. Next, consider any shower products that could come into contact with your vagina. For washing down there, a mild, fragrance-free soap is ideal. Douching is popular but removes good as well as bad bacteria and can do more harm than good, especially if you’re already dealing with an itchy vagina.
Two other potential culprits that many women don’t expect to cause problems are laundry detergent and personal items like lubricant and condoms. Laundry detergent, when heavily concentrated or used in large amounts, can leave a residue on clothing. Believe it or not this can cause itching and irritation to sensitive skin. That’s why there are special types of detergent for baby clothes, as babies obviously have very sensitive skin. The vagina is a sensitive area so it makes sense that laundry detergent could also cause an itchy vagina. Switching to the baby clothes detergents mentioned above, at least for washing your undergarments, can help. Finally, always choose basic unflavored and unscented lubes and condoms if your vagina is particularly sensitive. Many of these products are safe for men but don’t take vaginal health into consideration as much. Luckily there are many alternatives that are safe for both sexes.
When an itchy vagina persists even after removing all potential irritants from your daily hygiene routine, you must keep looking for the source. A dry vagina can easily cause unpleasant itching. Some things in your lifestyle that may lead to vaginal dryness are frequent intercourse and not drinking enough water. There’s nothing wrong with having sex often; in fact it’s healthy as it promotes blood flow to the area. However, it becomes harder to produce natural lubricant when intercourse is frequent. Have a gentle personal lubricant on hand and use it whenever you feel necessary. This should fix an itchy vagina that seems especially severe after sex. To produce more lubricant naturally, make sure to drink enough water. The general recommendation is eight glasses a day, but you may need more or less depending on your body’s chemistry.
An itchy vagina can be caused bye hormonal changes
Hormonal changes can also cause vaginal dryness and, in time, an itchy vagina. Menopause is one of the biggest changes known for causing dryness and irritation. The medical term is vaginal atrophy: inflammation and thinning of the vaginal walls. A decrease in the level of estrogen specifically is responsible for vaginal changes at this time. Women may notice the symptoms of vaginal atrophy, including an itchy vagina, at any time shortly before or during menopause. Doctors often prescribe topical or oral estrogen supplements to combat the thinning and inflammation that leads to other forms of irritation. Until then, personal lubricants can help calm some of the symptoms. Surgical removal of the ovaries and certain cancer treatments can lead to vaginal atrophy as well, and are treated in the same way. Breastfeeding also causes estrogen levels to drop, but treatment typically isn’t necessary as the levels return to normal once breastfeeding stops.
Knowing the causes of an itchy vagina and how to treat them is a big help when faced by this problem. Instead of taking time for an embarrassing visit to the doctor or an awkward conversation with a friend, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to soothe and then eliminate the itching altogether. Remember, by following the above suggestions you can also help prevent itching from returning. Life is much more enjoyable when you aren’t plagued by uncomfortable vaginal itchiness.