Let’s face it: It’s an awkward area to scratch, but that doesn’t stop vaginal itch from happening from time to time. Not only is itching a problem, but it’s made worse by burning and irritation. Too much sweat, too much heat, too many scented soaps, too tight panty hose — all of these things and more can cause your vagina to itch. Vaginal itching is common, and there are many easy ways to treat it. Here’s how to find out what is causing your vaginal itching and how to stop it.
- Yeast infections. More than 75% of all women develop yeast infections at some point. This is one of the most common causes of vagina itch. Yeast infections occur when yeast grows too much in the vagina. Many things cause yeast infections — sweat, pregnancy, sexual intercourse, sitting in wet bathing suits or underwear, to name a few. The best way to treat a yeast infection and stop the itch it to use an antifungal cream or suppositories. These are available over-the-counter and come in different doses: one day, three day, and seven day. Your pharmacist can help you chose the right one.
- Bacterial infections. Another common cause of vaginal itch is bacterial vaginosis. It’s normal to have a healthy mix of bacteria in your vagina. But sometimes, there’s too much of one kind of bacteria, or the wrong kind of bacteria in your vagina, and this can lead to a bacterial infection in your vagina. The first symptom is usually itch. You might also experience inflammation, burning, discharge, and a foul of fishy odor. To treat bacterial vaginosis, you may need an antibiotic, so see your doctor.
- How to combat it. Now that you know what causes it, try these idea to help stop the itch:
- Sleep without underwear so your vagina is exposed to the air and less likely to develop perspiration.
- Take showers instead of baths, and rinse your vagina with cool water.
- Avoid using scented soaps and perfumed powders in your vaginal area.
- Wash your vagina with baby shampoo. Baby shampoo helps dry the yeast area and cleans your vagina gently.
- Cover an ice pack in a clean cloth and lay on the lips for your vagina for about an hour. You might also immerse the clean cloth in witch hazel, and this can help soothe itching more quickly.
- Sprinkle medicated talcum powder in your underwear to keep the area dry.
- Put plain yogurt on your external genitalia. The yogurt cultures help relieve the itch.
- Wear loose fitting clothing. Avoid Lycra/Spandex, polyester, lace, thongs, or anything else that causes your vagina to become warm and itchy. Wear cotton and other fabics that are 100% breathable. Opt for skirts instead of pants or shorts, but don’t wear tights!
- Wear cotton underpants, or no underpants at all.
- Use an over the counter medicated douche. Follow instructions on the package and use as indicated.
- Eat probiotic yogurt daily to combat the yeast from the inside your body.
- Drink a lot of water to flush the yeast infection out of your system.
- Don’t have sex for a few days. Sex with a yeast infection can make you itch even more!
- Immerse your vagina in a sitz bath with ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. Keep your legs spread wide apart so the water can flow freely around your vaginal area.
Vaginal itch is common and typically treated easily with a few easy remedies. As always, consult your doctor if the condition persists.