Amongst the commonest and probably the most embarrassing health issues for women is vaginal itching, which affects the sensitive genital areas of a woman. The condition, as implied by its name, affects the vaginal opening itself, in addition to the vulva, including the labia and clitoris. It can be aggravated into a burning sensation as well pain and soreness in the affected areas.
Itching is not a major health concern but it can make life uncomfortable for the woman. Therefore, it becomes vital for the issue to be resolved at the earliest and knowing the exact reason is of utmost importance. The causes of vaginal itching are varied and some may need treatment which others are self-resolving. Let us know more about the common causes of vaginal itching.
Possible Causes of Vaginal Itching
Vaginal itching can be attributed to a variety of causes such as:
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) refers to an infection caused by growth of harmful bacteria in the vagina. It is characterized by inflammation, burning sensation, vaginal discharge and foul odor from the vagina.
Yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis, is the inflicted by the growth of yeast in the vaginal area. The condition is accompanies by thick, white discharge from the vagina. Sexual activity, pregnancy and weak immunity are the risk factors of the infection.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) like genital herpes, warts, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis are other reason of vaginal itching. Similarly, infections such as thrush and scabies and skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus may also be responsible for the condition.
Menopause is yet another reason of vaginal itching. Women going through menopause experience a drop in estrogen levels, which leads to the thinning and drying out of the vaginal walls, thus resulting in vaginal itching. The same may happen with lactating mothers too as they too come across depletion of estrogen levels.
Chemical sensitivity caused by chemical lade products such as soaps, creams, deodorants, scented sanitary pads, perfumed toilet paper, detergents, douches and condoms can lead to itching in the sensitive genital areas.
Lack of hygiene can be a leading cause of the vulva and vagina being irritated. It may happen because the woman fails to keep the area clean and dry after urination or she is not wiping it the right way, from front to back. Similarly, scrubbing too much can irritate the skin.
Cancer of the skin is a threatening though rare reason of vaginal itching. It is usually characterized by the presence of a lump or nodule in the area.
Other health conditions such as diabetes, blood disorders, thyroid imbalance, kidney disease and liver dysfunction can be attributed for itching of the vagina and the parts surrounding it.
Treatment of Vaginal Itching
In most cases, nothing much needs to be done to treat vaginal itching as it goes away on its own. However, if excessive and persistent, the condition requires medical attention. Sometimes, the irritation and burning sensation may get aggravated to such an extent that the woman may lose her sleep over it. The doctor may recommend a pelvic scan and testing of vaginal discharge for diagnosing the exact cause of itching.
Antibiotic treatment is prescribed BV and STDs, while yeast infections are managed using antifungal medication in the form of topical ointments or oral medicines. Steroid creams are recommended for inflammation associated itching while those who suffer from menopause induced irritation can rely on estrogen creams and tablets.
In addition to medical treatment of vaginal itching, it can also be healed with better hygiene and genital care. Patients should not use scented ad chemical based products such as soaps, creams, sanitary pads and toilet wipes as they can cause dryness and skin reactions. Keeping the vaginal area dry, wearing cotton underwear, avoiding scratching and sexual intercourse are some other handy tips to do away with vaginal itching.
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