Do you suffer from occasional bouts of annoying and embarrassing vaginal itch?
Would it be helpful to understand some of the potential causes of vaginal itch so that you could seek the most effective treatment strategy?
Vaginal itch is a fairly common problem among women, but until you understand exactly what is causing that itch, proper treatment can be quite a challenge. In this article we will highlight 5 of the most common causes of vaginal itch, and discuss some of the more popular medical and/or non-medical interventions that could help you cope with each of these causes.
5 Causes of Vaginal Itch
There are many possible causes for vaginal itch, and while this list is by no means an exhaustive one, the following five causes are responsible for the majority of cases.
Just as irritation can cause itchiness on other parts of the body, it can also be responsible for vaginal itch. Below are just a few things that could be causing that irritation:
- Soaps/Perfumes. Fancy soaps and perfumes often contain harsh chemicals which can dry out the vaginal area and cause irritation. When caring for the vaginal area, a better strategy would be to use a mixture of mild, unscented soaps and warm, not hot water.
- Tampons and Sanitary Napkins. Never use tampons and sanitary napkins for longer than you need to. When left unattended for long periods of time, both can cause vaginal itch and irritation.
- Sex. Frequent sex can also cause vaginal irritation, especially when your partner is using condoms with spermicidal agents on them. The chemicals in these spermicidal gels are generally very harsh and can cause intense vaginal itch and burning.
- Tight or Harsh Undergarments. Undergarments made from rough fabrics, or those that are consistently worn too tight, can also lead to vaginal itch and irritation.
Estrogen depletion, whether caused by a specific medical condition or depleted naturally due to ageing and menopause, can cause significant vaginal irritation and vaginal itch. Many times hormone replacement therapy can help ease this problem, as well as several other methods or techniques that may be suggested by your doctor or gynaecologist.
If irritation and estrogen depletion have been ruled out as factors in your vaginal itch, there may instead be some type of infection at the root of the problem. Infections can be caused by harmful bacteria, fungus and parasites and are fairly common causes for vaginal itch, so common, in fact, that they account for numbers three, four and five on our list of vaginal itch causes.
The official medical term for a vaginal bacterial infection is bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is a proliferation of harmful bacteria in the vagina that disrupts the normal pH balance. Besides causing vaginal itch, vaginosis also presents with a foul-smelling vaginal discharge. The condition can usually be effectively treated with antibiotics.
Fungal infections, including the most popular type called vaginal yeast infections, can produce a very intense vaginal itch, along with soreness, irritation and odorous discharge. Yeast infections occur when the normally dormant fungus called Candida albicans becomes overgrown due to a lack of “good bacteria.”
These types of infections are usually treated with over-the-counter medications intended solely for that purpose.
Parasite infections, like trichomoniasis, can also cause vaginal itch, irritation and discharge. While these types of infections are almost exclusively transmitted sexually, they can also be contracted in contaminated hot tubs or from using a contaminated towel. Trichomoniasis is usually treated with antibiotics.
Vaginal itch can be an awkward, irritating condition, but once you determine the primary cause of the problem it is usually very treatable.