What causes vaginal itching, and what can be done about this?
Vaginal itching is common and very annoying, and it has an assortment of causes.
The solutions to vaginal itching, of course, will depend on what the cause of this is.
“Vaginal itching is a common problem for many women,” says Dr. Corinne Bazella, OB/GYN with University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
“The common causes include yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and contact irritation from hygiene products.”
The vagina normally has a population of “good” and “bad” bacteria. When the ratio of these bacteria becomes off balance (more “bad” and less “good”), bacterial vaginosis results, and other symptoms of this include odor (usually fishy), burning and a white or grey discharge.
Dr. Bazella says, “The vagina has a delicate balance of good bacteria, or Lactobacillus, that create an environment preventing overgrowth of yeast and odor causing bacteria.
“Many things can interrupt that balance including douching, intercourse, tight clothing, hormonal changes, and hygiene products resulting in itching and discharge.”
If you are troubled by vaginal itching, it would be a smart idea to undergo a pelvic exam from your OB/GYN to rule out any medical causes, or to possibly get a diagnosis, recommends Dr. Bazella.
Pregnant women especially should be examined if bacterial vaginosis is suspected, because BV is associated with premature and low birth weight babies.
If you are suffering from vaginal itching, Dr. Bazella explains, “The second aspect is prevention by avoiding the causes, douching, scented liquid soaps, and vigorous washing.”
When you think about it, you will realize that douching is actually a very unnatural thing to do.
Ancient woman never douched; chemicals didn’t exist in those days. Though douche commercials make the product sound like something very healthy, nourishing and natural, the opposite is true.
Douches contain compounds that are not at all natural to the body, no matter how pleasant their fragrance or pretty their package.
Scented soaps as well contain chemicals, and vigorous washing can irritate the skin around the vagina as well as the actual vaginal opening.
Nevertheless, the vagina should be cleaned daily, but this does not have to be with fancy or scented substances.
Dr. Bazella suggests, “The safest and healthiest way to clean the vagina is to rinse with warm water, avoid washcloths and soaps, and wear cotton breathable underwear.”
Can cancer cause vaginal itching?
Dr. Bazella explains, “Cancer can cause vaginal itching, but that would be a very uncommon first sign.
The usual first sign is unusual vaginal bleeding. This can occur in both cervical and endometrial cancers.”
Dr. Bazella’s expertise includes abnormal uterine bleeding, adolescent gynecology, contraception and menopausal care.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.