Itching or irritation anywhere on your body may cause discomfort. Especially when it occurs in a sensitive area like vagina and vulva, it can be very uncomfortable. Generally, genital itching and irritation isn’t a big concern. But since they can be symptoms of an infection, it’s always advised to consult your doctor.
There are several common causes of vaginal itching, burning, and irritation, including:
- Chemical Irritants from a number of chemical substances like creams, fragrances, soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, douches, topical contraceptives etc.
- Vaginal infections
- A drop in estrogen levels due to menopause
- Irritation due to urinary incontinence
- Allergic reactions or remedial side effects
- Skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis
Vaginal itching generally gets better on its own. However, if it doesn’t heal, or comes back after treatment, consults your doctor. The doctor can go for a pelvic exam and may also take a sample of the discharge to check the source of the problem. Treatment is generally based on the condition causing the problem, such as:
- Vaginal infections and STDs are treated with antibiotics/antiparasitics.
- Yeast infections can be treated with antifungal medications. They may be taken orally or can be inserted into the vagina in the form of creams, ointments, or suppositories. You can get these medications over the counter in different doses like a single dose, three days dose or seven days dose
- Menopause-related itching problem can be treated with estrogen cream, tablets, or inserting a vaginal ring.
- Other types of itching and irritation react to steroid creams or lotions, which decrease inflammation.
- Evade perfumed pads or toilet paper, creams, feminine sprays, and douches.
- Clean your genital area with only water or with plain fragrance-free soap.
- Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
- Do not douche.
- Choose cotton panties over synthetic fabrics.
- If you are having vaginal dryness, apply a vaginal moisturizer. You can use a water-based lubricant before having sex.
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
- Stay away from sexual intercourse until your symptoms get better.
- Never scratch as it can further irritate the area.