A vaginal itch can be inconvenient and bothersome.
If you’re suffering from this, you’re not alone! Vaginal itch is one of the commonest complaints amongst women.
Find out about the top 5 causes, and treatments of vaginal itch in this article.
The 5 Causes of Vaginal Itch:
1. Yeast infection
The majority of women will develop a vaginal yeast infection at some point in their lives.
Other symptoms of Candidiasis include vaginal redness and swelling, vaginal discharge (usually thick, white and cheesy in nature), pain during sex, and painful urination.
Pregnancy, diabetes, antibiotic use, and lifestyle factors such as diet and stress are all risk factors for yeast infections.
While yeast infections can be easily treated with antifungal medication and creams, recurrence of the infection is common, and many women will experience more than one episode of candidiasis in their lifetime.
2. Sexually transmitted infections
STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomonas, herpes and genital warts can all cause local skin irritation and itching.
Look out for other signs of STIs, which include abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, or pain during sex.
Prompt investigation and treatment of the STI should help to clear up the itching.
3. Bacterial vaginosis
A mix of normal, healthy bacteria exists on a woman’s vaginal surface and usually causes no symptoms.
However, when there is an imbalance of the vaginal bacteria, this can lead to overgrowth of certain harmful species, such as gardnerella – this results in bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Women with BV often experience vaginal itching, vaginal pain or swelling, and foul, fishy smelling discharge.
Risk factors for BV include pregnancy, antibiotic use, use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and vaginal douching.
This condition is easily treated with a short course of antibiotics. If you think you have BV, consult your doctor for help.
4. Skin irritants
The skin in the vaginal area is highly sensitive, and exposure to skin irritants can result in itching.
Vaginal douches, soaps, detergents, laundry powders, and chemicals in lubricants or on condoms can all be culprits of vaginal itching.
Some patients suffer from chronic skin conditions such as eczema, which can affect the vaginal skin. This makes the vaginal skin particularly sensitive to contact allergens such as those listed above.
Treatment involves withdrawal and avoidance of the specific skin irritant. In some cases, short-term use of topical creams may be necessary.
5. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness is a common effect of menopause and can lead to irritation and itching of the skin. Dryness can also occur in other circumstances such as breastfeeding, and with consumption of certain medications.
The use of topical estrogen creams for postmenopausal women can help relieve dryness and itch.
If you’re suffering from vaginal itching, seek relief by speaking to a doctor today.
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