It’s not exactly easy to scratch an itch down there, which is why it’s so frustrating when it happens (and sometimes is as if fully from nothing comes out, right?). Vaginal itching can be caused by something as simple as his term products, but in other cases it may actually be a symptom of a more serious problem. This guide will help you figure out exactly what is making you feel like you have ants in your pants-and what your treatment options. (That said, when it comes to their female parts is always better to play it safe and visit your gynecologist for proper diagnosis.)
Bacterial vaginosis (also known as VB) is the most common reason for vaginal itching and is caused by an imbalance in healthy bacteria and a change in vaginal pH. It feels similar to a yeast infection, but in this case, the discharge is watery and usually has a smell, explains Lauren Streicher, MD, author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and his best Sex Ever. When it comes to treatment, Streicher says RepHresh, cream counter, often works. If your BV does not disappear after the time suggested use, you must ask your doctor for some prescription-strength.
As BV, a yeast infection is often the result of vaginal pH being out of control, says Wendy Askew, MD, a board-certified obstetrician at the Institute for Women’s Health in San Antonio. They can occur in the use of antibiotics, sex, stress or a random or next change in diet (and women with diabetes have a higher risk). In addition to itching, you may also notice curds, white, or thick discharge. The good news is that you can go ahead and use a nonprescription medication, such as Monistat, that should take care of the symptoms within a day or two. To prevent recurrent infections, Askew recommend taking a probiotic with a high number of acidophilus bacteria, such as Flora-Q, which will help keep the yeast under control.
This skin irritation is caused by allergies to certain products, says Brett Worly, MD, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University professor. You can get anything with perfumes or additives, including condoms and lubricants, and on top of itching, may also notice redness, swelling and thickening of the skin. It may also be the result of shaving said Askew. If you know you are susceptible to vaginal irritation, use hypoallergenic hygiene products such as shampoo, fabric softeners and laundry detergents, making sure to avoid chemicals, soaps, lubricants and irritating, says Worly. Even toilet tissue with perfumes or colors can be troublemakers. In addition, you should avoid if you’re shaving, shower always sensitive and ever. The vagina is cleaned automatically, so you do not need to put anything in or on it, said Streicher.
Genetic skin disorders like these two can cause redness and itching in the genital region, along with a patchy or rash-like appearance. If you’re diagnosed with either, a mild steroid like hydrocortisone and taking oatmeal baths can help alleviate the discomfort, says Askew. If you don’t feel relief within a week, ask your doctor about other treatment options.
We should not have to tell you this again, but unprotected sex can lead to sexually transmitted disease (which is why I always, always have to use protection). And a lot of them can make your itching female parts, including chlamydia, herpes, trichomoniasis and gonorrhea. Crabs, or pubic lice, may also occur in women with hair down there. With any of these, itching (or tingling) can progress to pain and burning, says Askew. If you experience itching and other symptoms of common STDs such as burning during urination, foul-smelling discharge, sores on the genitals, and pain during intercourse, you should book your gynecologist to get tested as soon as possible. If the result is positive for a sexually transmitted disease, your doctor will either injectable or oral antibiotics or antiviral medication for herpes, says Askew.
This serious condition and cause of vulvar itching appears as white spots on the skin, says Streicher. While it may come out of nowhere, some medical professionals think hormones or an overactive immune system may have something to do with it. Lichen sclerosus needs to be diagnosed by a gynecologist and treated with prescription drugs.
Every time your hormone levels change or fluctuate (as during their menstrual period, pregnancy, menopause, or while taking birth control), you may experience vaginal itching. Dryness is another indicator that hormones could be to blame for your pain. When it comes to your period, using products at that time of the month (as pads and panty liners) often contain fragrances or colors that can add to the discomfort. If this happens frequently, consider trying a menstrual cup or organic cotton products, which can be less irritating. However, it may be difficult to determine if your prescription birth control is what is causing itchy down there (sometimes the only way to know if this is the culprit is to stop or start hormonal contraception, says Worly). With any of these hormonal changes, your doctor may prescribe a hormone cream applied topically and also you can ask about changing the pads if the itching remains a persistent problem.