Cover image for vaginal rashes, its causes and treatment

An area that is itchy, red and irritated is considered a rash. A rash can occur in any part of the body including the intimate area. Vaginal rashes are actually a symptom that something is not okay in the intimate area. To know the proper treatment of a vaginal rash, it is important to understand what has caused the rashes. 

Causes of vaginal rash

There can be a rash in the vaginal area due to various causes. The causes can be categorized into three types-

  • An infection
  • An allergy or an autoimmune disorder
  • Parasites 

Infections that can cause Vaginal Rashes

female having vaginal pain

  • Vaginitis

It is simply the inflammation of the vagina. The most common types of vaginal infections that can cause the vagina to inflame are-

  • Bacterial vaginosis

It is a type of infection that occurs when there is an abnormal growth of vaginal bacteria that disrupts the natural balance. Apart from terrible itching in the intimate area, this infection also causes a watery discharge with a ‘fishy’ odor.

 

  • Candidiasis

This is a type of yeast infection that causes rashes in the intimate area. Other symptoms include redness, irritation or swelling around the vagina.

 

  • Chlamydia

This is a common type of bacterial infection that can turn serious when left untreated. It can also cause vaginal discharge.  This is a type of sexually transmitted infection

 

  • Trichomoniasis

Another common cause of vaginal rashes can be trichomoniasis. It can also cause vaginal discharge that is yellow or green in colour. 

  • Genital warts

These are painless growths or lumps that grow around the vagina. It is a type of sexually transmitted infection that can cause discomfort and incessant itching. While having sex, there is skin-to-skin contact through which strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) can get transmitted. Get yourself checked with a gynecologist without wasting any time as delaying the treatment can lead to cervical cancer. 

  • Syphilis

This bacterial disease spreads through sexual contact. Syphilis doesn’t spread through toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, shared clothing or even the same utensils. Many times an infected person can remain undetected and pass the virus to their partners.

Allergies or autoimmune disorders that can cause Vaginal Rashes

female at gynaecologist

  • Contact dermatitis

This is a type of allergic reaction that results in an itchy rash when an allergen comes in contact with the body. It can occur in the intimate area when the vagina is allergic to substances such as latex rubber, some medications that are put inside the vagina, fragrances from soaps, shampoos, lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics.

  • Genital Psoriasis

In this type of autoimmune disorder, there is scaling on the skin due to the buildup of skin cells. Under normal circumstances, the skin cells reproduce within a month. People suffering from psoriasis experience new skin production within a few days. This gives rise to psoriatic scales which are whitish-silver or red patches of skin. 

  • Lichen planus

These develop in the inner lips or at the entrance of the vagina. The vulvar area turns red and itchy that can last for several weeks. These are actually shiny, raised, red bumps that develop.

  • Lichen sclerosis 

Lichen Sclerosis develops near the vulva or near the anal region. It is a type of chronic autoimmune disease that occurs due to hormonal imbalance or earlier skin damage. Apart from itching in the region, people suffering from this disease also develop white, scaly patches of skin. 

Parasitical infections that can cause Vaginal Rashes

  • Molluscum contagiosum

This is an infection that is caused by the virus Molluscum contagiosum. In this type of infection, the person develops bumps or lesions which are extremely itchy in nature. This is a contagious disease which means it spreads through direct contact with an infected person or touching a contaminated object.

  • Pubic or body lice

Lice are small insects that are parasitic in nature. Lice in the pubic area can cause terrible itching as well as soreness in the intimate area. They can spread from person to person through sexual contact. Body lice are different from pubic lice in the sense that they are large and cause itchy rashes on the skin.

  • Scabies

This is caused by very small mites that results in itchy skin. These mites go deep inside the skin and cause itchiness. 

(Also Read: Vaginal Itching – Causes, Treatment & Prevention)

Home remedies for vaginal rash

The suitable treatment option for curing a rash is visiting a gynecologist who can prescribe moisturizers, lotions, baths, cortisone creams that contain antihistamine after proper diagnosis of the underlying cause. Till you visit the doctor, here are a few home remedies which can provide you some relief-

  • Tea tree oil

Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, this essential oil can help women get relief overnight. But make sure to use a carrier oil with the tea tree oil to get relief from the itchy rashes. 

  • Natural yogurt

If the rash has developed due to a bacterial infection, then eating natural yogurts regularly is the best way. Yogurts contain good bacteria known as probiotics which can help in restoring the natural balance of vaginal bacteria. 

  • Coconut oil

Rich in antifungal properties, this can help in treating the yeast infection which is causing a vaginal rash. To ease out the symptoms, organic coconut oil can be used both inside or outside the vaginal area. Coconut oil can also be used as a carrier oil.

  • Over-the-counter treatments

After proper consultation with the doctor, you can try applying antifungal creams or pessaries to treat the infection or cause. These medicines generally take three to seven days to fully control the problem. 

Dos and Donts for Vaginal Rash 

What To DoWhat Not To Do
Keep the vulval area as clean as possible using plain or saltwater.Wear tight clothes that can irritate the skin.
Apply a cold compress on the affected area to soothe the pain.Put ice directly to the skin.
Apply petroleum jelly in the inflamed area.Do not touch the area regularly. 
Use contraceptives while having sex. Do not have sex until the rashes are cured.

 

How can you prevent vaginal rashes?

 These measures can prevent vaginal rash from developing. Some of them are-

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear
  • During sex, use a water-based lubricant
  • Avoid douching
  • Avoid vaginal sprays, perfumes, and lotions
  • Change wet clothes immediately
  • Shower after having sex

(Also Read: Why you should never avoid cleaning your intimates after Sex?)

It is best to visit a gynecologist if you suspect you have vaginal rash. Click here to consult a doctor online for your gynecological concerns. 

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