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Vaginal Itching

Causes and Treatments for Vaginal Itching


Updated August 13, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

The most common reason for vaginal itching during pregnancy are the normal changes to the vaginal PH level which can cause topical irritations. Vaginal yeast infections also are notorious for persistent vaginal itching. It's important to note that while vaginal itching usually isn't a result of an STD, it is a potential cause.

What can be done about vaginal itching?

Before trying any self-treatments or over-the-counter medications for vaginal itching, especially during pregnancy, you should see your healthcare provider to be sure you don't have any STDs or STIs.
  • If vaginal itching is found to be caused by the normal PH changes of the vagina that occur during pregnancy, there are a number of self-help treatments that you can try to relieve the itching and lower the PH of the vagina.
    • Vaginal PH can be lowered by taking baking soda baths.
    • You can make a paste of baking soda and water and apply the paste to the area that itches.
    • There is a possibility that having sexual intercourse may help due to the lower PH levels of the male semen.
    • Some women find that cold compresses help relieve vaginal itching.

    How can I prevent vaginal itching?

    • Practice good hygiene. Keep the vulvar / vaginal area clean and dry.
    • Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina.
    • Don't use vaginal douches.
    • Use only fragrance-free soaps, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners.
    • Practice good hand washing habits.
    • Wear clothing that is not tight or binding especially in the crotch.
    • Wear white cotton panties and avoid wearing nylon panties or hose that decrease the airflow to the vaginal area.
    • Wear a nightgown with no underwear to encourage airflow to the vagina during the night.
    • Use warm bath water and do not add bubble baths or other fragrant products which can irritate the vagina and urinary tract.
    • Use a bath soap for sensitive skin. Although you might think that Ivory soap is gentle, it is not! In fact, Ivory soap is one of the most drying and thereby itch causing bath soaps on the market.

    Should I use an over-the-counter cream product to relieve vaginal itching?

    • The use of hydrocortisone creams is not usually recommended since it can contribute to the breakdown of the skin, causing continued itching.
    • Lidocaine gel is good for relieving vaginal itching because it is a pure anesthetic.
    • If you have a genital yeast infection, one of the over-the-counter yeast infection creams or vaginal suppositories should quickly relieve the itch, as well as the other symptoms of vaginal yeast infections.
    • Some women find relief from vaginal itching just by using a yeast infection cream externally once or twice a day.

    Recipes for Relief From Vaginal Itching


    Vaginitis: Causes and Treatments. ACOG Education Pamphlet.http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp028.cfm. Accessed 08/26.09.

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