It starts with a minor itch that goes away with a discreet scratch, as most itches do. But when a vaginal itch becomes a constant annoyance, it’s time to find out why — and how to get rid of it.
Our team of board-certified specialists at The Center for Women’s Health in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, can determine what’s causing your vaginal itching and let you know whether it’s a minor problem that can be resolved easily or whether you need further tests to find out if the problem is more serious.
You don’t need to wait until an annual gynecology visit to ask about persistent vaginal itching. Make an appointment now so we can get to the bottom of the problem and start you on an effective treatment plan right away.
What causes persistent vaginal itching?
The potential causes of vaginal itching range from benign, temporary irritants to serious health conditions. Here, our team takes a closer look at some of the most common culprits.
In your daily routine, your vagina comes into contact with multiple chemicals whether you apply them intentionally or not. Some of these may irritate the delicate skin around and in your vagina and cause itching.
The most obvious irritants are soaps and bubble bath or bath bombs — even shampoo and conditioner that runs down your body when you rinse can come into contact with your vaginal skin.
Of course, anything you use to freshen up down there can cause itchiness, including sprays and douches. By the way, don’t douche — it can cause vaginal infections and fertility problems.
Lubricants, lotions, creams, and ointments can irritate your skin, and even products you didn’t think about, like laundry detergents and fabric softeners, can trigger itching. If you use scented or colored toilet paper, switch to unscented white brands. Avoiding the products that irritate your vagina may be the only treatment you need.
Consistently living under high stress can weaken your immune system and cause several symptoms, including vaginal itching. Reduce your stress, and the irritation will go away.
As your hormones plummet during menopause, one of the classic side effects is vaginal dryness, which naturally leads to vaginal itching. Your symptoms should subside as your hormone levels settle, or we can prescribe hormone replacement therapy to get you relief sooner.
Your vagina always contains a certain amount of yeast, but if it overproduces, you can end up with a yeast infection, which is notorious for causing an itchy vagina. This is a fairly common condition: 3 out of 4 women experience it at least once in their lifetime. A quick course of antibiotics can clear it up.
When “bad” bacteria overrun “good” bacteria in your vagina, it causes an imbalance that results in a foul-smelling discharge and an itchy vagina. Antibiotics are the answer here, too.
Sexually transmitted infections (STI)
Certain infections are passed from one person to another through unprotected sex, leading to several symptoms, including vaginal itching. Common STIs include: gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes or warts, and trichomoniasis. The treatment varies depending on which infection you have.
The same skin diseases that affect the skin on your arms, legs, and face can also affect your vaginal skin. Two of the most common are eczema and psoriasis. Both cause itchy rashes and are treated with topical ointments and oral medication.
Cancer of the vulva — the outer female genitals — is pretty rare, but when it does occur, it causes itching, bleeding, and pain. If we catch it early, the treatments are very successful, but if you ignore it, it can progress and become life-threatening.
Treatment for vaginal itching
If your vagina itches persistently, it’s best to make an appointment to see one of our specialists. In most cases, the problem is minor and the solution is simple, but vaginal conditions are difficult to self-diagnose because the symptoms of minor problems are often the same as those of more dangerous conditions.
Our experienced team can diagnose the cause of your vaginal itching by running appropriate tests. That way, you can rest assured that you’re getting the right treatment to resolve the problem and preserve your reproductive health.
To find out what’s causing your persistent vaginal itching, schedule an appointment with The Center for Women's Health by calling our friendly staff or booking online today.