Vaginal itching is a very personal but highly annoying problem that many women have.
These same women may also have a bladder or urinary tract infection.
“Bladder infections typically do not cause vaginal itching,” says Michael Ingber, MD, board-certified in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, director of urogynecology for Saint Clare’s Health System in northern New Jersey, and founder of The Center for Specialized Women’s Health, division of Garden State Urology.
Dr. Ingber continues, “Urinary tract (bladder) infections occur when the bacteria in the vaginal region or perineum travel into the urinary tract through the urethra (pee hole).
“When there is overgrowth of this bacteria, this can become an ‘infection.’
“Symptoms of a bladder infection are typically urinary symptoms such as urinary urgency, frequency, leakage or burning with urination.”
Causes of Vaginal Itching
Now that you know that that a urinary tract infection is not responsible for feminine itching, it’s important to know what the several possible causes could be.
• Bacterial vaginosis: bacteria in the vagina. So yes, bacteria cause itching in this case because they are in the vagina.
But the bacteria that are located in the urinary tract will not affect what’s going on with the vagina. There is no crossover.
• Yeast infection. A classic sign of a vaginal yeast infection is the discharge of a thick product that resembles cottage cheese.
• Sexually transmitted disease. STD’s produce a wide range of symptoms, but you can also test positive for an STD without having any symptoms much other than an itchy vagina.
If you haven’t had intercourse for a while, this does not mean that you can’t have a sexually transmitted disease. Your doctor can determine if you have this kind of infection.
• Chemical irritants (e.g., scented toilet paper, soaps, condoms, douches)
• Menopause. A shorted supply of estrogen will lead to vaginal dryness, which in turn can lead to irritation or itchiness.
Dr. Ingber is board-certified in Urology and Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery; is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. The Center for Specialized Women’s Health, division of Garden State Urology & Atlantic Medical Group.
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.