You may feel embarrassed to talk about it, but it's actually an incredibly common condition. In fact, around 1 in 10 women need to see the doctor about an itchy vagina at some time in their lives.
The good news is that there are lots of ways you can ease the irritation and even stop it for good once you've uncovered the cause. Our itchy vagina guide will help you to spot what's causing the discomfort, and treat it!
Causes of itchy vaginaBacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial Vaginosis, also known as BV, is one of the most common causes of vaginal itching. This occurs when the naturally acidic pH balance in your vagina is disturbed, leading to a white, grey or thin discharge and discomfort or itchiness.
To treat BV you'll need to see your doctor for a course of antibiotics, so if you think you might be suffering from the condition make an appointment now.
Being pregnant can cause your vulva to become swollen - which means it may be more prone to itching. Another reason pregnancy can cause itching is because your body requires more fluids during pregnancy, which then leads to vaginal tissues being drier than usual - all of which can lead to itching and even soreness.
Pregnant women are also more likely to get thrush, which is another cause of itchy vagina. Oh the joys of pregnancy!
If you have a sexually transmitted disease, particularly chlamydia, herpes, trichomoniasis or gonorrhea, then one of the symptoms you experience could very well be an itchy vagina. It you have itching bordering on pain or burning, plus other symptoms associated with STDs such as discharge, sores on your genitals, and pain during sex, then make sure you visit your GP as soon as possible for a quick test.
If you're going through, or have been through, the menopause, then the change in your hormones could be one of the causes of an itchy vagina. A woman's estrogen levels drop at the end of a her reproductive years, which causes the walls of the vagina to thin and dry out - which leads to itching and irritation.
This is caused when your skin is allergic to certain products that have had perfumes or chemicals added to them, such as condoms and lubricants, the washing power you use for your clothes, body wash or even shaving. Even coloured or fragranced toilet paper could cause irritation!
Yeast infection (Thrush)
Yeast infections are incredibly common - in fact, three out of every four women will develop a yeast infection at some point in their lives. Pregnancy, sex, some medicines such as antibiotics and a low immune system can all contribute to the liklihood of getting a yeast infection, and one of the main symptoms can be itching as well as a thick, white discharge.
The products you use during your time of the month (such as pads and panty liners) can often contain colors or fragrances that can cause itching and discomfort.
If you have an itchy vagina and don't have the symptons of BV or thrush, and you're not pregnant or post-menopause, it could just be that a change of sanitary product is need. Try a menstrual cup or organic cotton products for less irritation.
Treatments for itchy vaginaIf you think you may have an STD, thrush, or Bacterial Vaginosis, it's important that you make an appointment to see your doctor, as they can prescribe you something specifically for that condition.
However, there are some other ways you can relief the discomfort of itching daily:
1: Stop scratching!
Scratching may make the itch worse. Try not scratch, keep your fingernails short and consider wearing gloves as night to stop you from scratching in your sleep.
2. Buy new underwear
If the material of your underwear is causing the irritation then it's time to try something else. Wear loose 100% cotton underwear and, it goes without saying, but make sure you change it daily. Avoid tight fitting trousers, shorts and leggings too.
3. Wash differently
Wash your vagina once or twice a day, but don't scrub vigorously. Use a bland, unscented moisturiser instead of soap, or try a product specifically designed to be more gentle for that area, such as Femfresh soothing wash.
Always make sure your vagina is completely dry before putting underwear on.
4. Buy different products
It's not just your body wash you can change if you're suffering from an itchy vagina. Consider changing your washing powder as you may have become sensitised to the ingredients, as well as any fabric conditioner and if you use condoms or lubcriants it might be worth changing these to see if that helps.