1. Health

Vaginal Itching

What Causes Vaginal Itching?

By

Updated May 29, 2014

Vaginal itching is itching of the vagina and/or the vulvar skin that surrounds the vagina. Almost all females experience vaginal itching at some point in their lives.

The causes of vaginal itching can vary. Here are a few other common ones:

  • Chemicals in certain products can cause irritation or allergic reaction that can result in itching. Such products include laundry detergent and fabric softeners; bath soaps and deodorants; ointments creams, and lotions; vaginal douches; and foams and jellies used during intercourse.

     

  • Vaginal infections, particularly vaginal yeast infections, frequently cause intense symptoms, including vaginal itching. Common causes of vaginal yeast infections include the use of antibiotics or the Pill, sexual intercourse (with or without condom usage), menstruation, pregnancy, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.

    Other vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including bacterial vaginosis (BV), genital herpes, trichomoniasis, and pubic lice, may also be to blame.

     

  • Women who have vaginitis, inflammation of the vagina, may also experience vaginal discharge, vaginal odor, and inflammation along with their itching. Vaginitis frequently occurs in girls who have not yet reached puberty; however, it’s important to rule out STDs and to determine whether sexual abuse has occurred.

     

  • Stress is a frequent contributor to the development of many health conditions, including vaginal itchiness. If you’re experiencing stress, learning some stress relieving techniques may help to reduce or prevent vaginal itching.

     

  • Perimenopausal women approaching menopause and the post-menopause years frequently experience vaginal itching. Menopause-related vaginal itching usually occurs in association with vaginal dryness.

Other possible, but less common, causes of vaginal or vulvar itching include the presence of other skin conditions that may or may not be precancerous, and pinworms -- a condition that primarily infects children.

Notify your doctor immediately if you experience vaginal itching accompanied by severe pelvic or lower abdominal pain, and / or a fever.

Sources:

Medline Encyclopedia; Vaginal Itching – Common Causes; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/MEDLINEPLUS/ency/article/003159.htm#Common%20Causes; accessed 06/11/09.
Women’s Health.gov; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Frequently Asked Questions; http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/sexually-transmitted-infections.cfm; accessed 06/16/09.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.