Feminine itching is one of the most common reasons for many women to visit a gynecologist. This article dwells on its various causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Feminine itching or vaginal irritation can be one of the major causes of embarrassment for any woman. It is basically a tingling, uneasy sensation in the skin of the vagina, and the surrounding area called vulva. This itching, at times, is also accompanied by other symptoms like painful burning sensation, redness, soreness, discomfort, and dryness in the vaginal area. This may lead to extreme frustration or exasperation, hence keeping the person from living a normal, healthy life. Being a common occurrence, it is not a life-threatening condition. In fact, reports show that all women at some point or the other suffer from this kind of irritation.
Possible Causes and Symptoms
Though usually a yeast infection is considered as the only cause for feminine or vaginal itching, the truth is that this condition can take place due to many other health disorders too.
Candidiasis (yeast infection), a common cause for vaginal itching in most women, is a fungal infection caused by Candida Albicans. This fungus thrives in moist areas of the body like vagina, arm pits, etc. Apart from being a major reason for itching during pregnancy, this infection also manifests in women having diabetes, stress, weak immune system, poor diet, birth control pills, alcohol, etc. Vaginal discharge resembling lumps of cottage cheese, swollen, red, itching vaginal skin, pain while urinating or during intercourse, are some common symptoms of yeast infection in women.
Bacterial vaginosis occurs in women of childbearing age, before their periods. This happens due to change in the vaginal bacterial environment or pH level, i.e., there is an abnormal growth of normal bacteria in the vagina. Although during the initial stages, most women experience no symptoms, in later stages there is an excessive odorous vaginal discharge, especially after intercourse.
This is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that occurs due to parasitic infestation in the urogenital tract by a single cell protozoan parasite called trichomonas. The condition, also termed as trich, is more commonly seen in young, sexually active women. Its symptoms primarily include feminine itching, burning sensation in the vaginal area, heavy, yellow-green or gray vaginal discharge, pain and discomfort during intercourse, vaginal odor, and painful urination.
This bacterial infection may contribute to itching after the periods. The bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis mainly infects the cervix, and slowly spreads to the surrounding areas. Also being an STD, it affects both, men and women. It may cause an abnormal odorous vaginal discharge, pain, and burning or itchy sensation while urinating or during intercourse. The condition seeks immediate medical attention, because if left untreated for a longer period of time, it can even result in ectopic pregnancy and infertility in women.
Like Chlamydia, gonorrhea is also a bacterial STD, caused by bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Being one of the oldest STD, the condition affects both, men and women, but is more commonly seen in young, sexually active women. Apart from feminine itching, there are various other gonorrhea symptoms, like burning or frequent urination, a yellowish vaginal discharge, redness, and vaginal swelling. If not treated in time, this disease can cause severe pelvic infection with inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, leading to fertility complications in women.
This is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus infects the cervix and the surrounding areas, leading to painful blisters or open sores in the genital area, as well as tingling, itching, or burning sensation in the legs, buttocks, or genital region.
Besides the above-mentioned causes, genital warts, allergies due to chemical irritants found in soaps, detergents, vaginal creams, and hygiene products, stress, menopause wherein the estrogen hormone level drops, wearing tight, wet clothing, skin complications like lichens sclerosus, etc., are some other factors that may lead to feminine itching.
Treatment and Prevention
The best way to treat such irritation is to first diagnose its cause, and then seek proper medical care.
- For bacterial or viral vaginal infections, many over-the-counter or prescribed antibiotics and antifungal creams are available. These can help relieve the pain and discomfort.
- Eating yogurt along with these antibiotics is also one of the most effective home remedies.
- Maintaining proper hygiene by cleansing and wiping the vaginal area well, and avoiding the use of feminine hygiene sprays, douches, colored or perfumed toilet tissue, etc., can all help in curing as well as preventing vaginal itching.
- Avoid overexertion, heat, sweating, and scratching on the affected area, as this will aggravate the problem.
- As far as possible, try wearing loose cotton innerwear, in order to keep your genital area clean and dry.
To sum up, we can say that feminine itching is not a disease in itself, rather a symptom of any of the above-mentioned disorders. However, if these home remedies do not prove to be helpful, it is better to consult your doctor to elucidate the case.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is solely for informative purpose and not intended to replace the advice of a medical expert.