One moment, you’re living your best life, and the next, you’re searching up home remedies for itching in private parts: female. Curse you, vaginal itching!
It could be that the outer part of your vaginal area (the vulva) is itching, or it could be the inside part (the vagina itself).
That’s why you may have heard it referred to as vulvovaginal itching.
Its scientific name? Vulvar pruritus.
But by any name it feels equally itchy — and finding relief is a matter of urgency.
Breathe. We’ve got you covered.
In this article: 📝
- Causes of vaginal itching
- How to stop vaginal itching
- Preventing vaginal itch
Causes of vaginal itching
To soothe vaginal itching, the first port of call is to find out why it has started.
There are a few different reasons why your vagina could be itching.
In many cases, itching may be caused by an infection that requires treatment from a healthcare professional.
So finding natural remedies for vaginal itching is not always effective.
If you’re struggling with your symptoms, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor so you can get to the root cause.
The sooner you can figure that out, the sooner you can find relief.
Here are some possibilities:
Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
BV is an overgrowth of bacteria causes this infection in the vagina.
Our vaginas have an ecosystem of bacteria in them.
When all is peaceful in the land, there’s a balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria.
But sometimes there’s an overgrowth of certain bacteria, resulting in inflammation.
Symptoms include a white or gray discharge, pain, itching or burning, and a strong fishy odor.
This fungal infection can cause a sometimes intense itch.
It can also cause redness and swelling, a rash, and a thick, white, odorless discharge.
Experts estimate that about 75% of women will experience at least one symptomatic yeast infection a year.
Cytolytic vaginosis (CV)
Like BV, CV is caused by an overgrowth of a kind of bacteria.
But that’s where the similarities end.
Bacterial build-up from CV spurs an excess of lactic acid, which causes the lining of the vagina to break down.
Because it’s less common than BV and yeast infections, it is often misdiagnosed.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and a parasitic infection called trichomoniasis (or trich) can all be at the root of an itch.
In the time leading up to menopause (perimenopause), your estrogen levels drop.
This shift can cause a range of symptoms, including vaginal dryness, which can lead to itching.
There are other reasons for declining estrogen levels, like thyroid issues and genetic conditions.
This skin condition has to do with the outer vulva rather than the inside of the vagina.
It can cause the skin around the vagina to become red, sore, and itchy.
Scented soaps, creams, and spermicides can all cause this reaction.
But it can also be the result of eczema.
More common in older adults, vulvar cancer can cause constant and sometimes severe itching, burning, and pain.
You may notice an open sore that doesn’t heal and unusual bleeding and discharge.
Because there is no one cause for vaginal itching, there’s no one treatment.
How to stop vaginal itching
So now we know the causes of that vaginal itch, how do we treat it?
Well, it depends on the cause, so if it’s…
- A bacterial infection, it might clear on its own. In some cases, you’ll need an antibiotic prescribed to you by your doctor.
- An STI, it will have to be treated based on type. Antibiotics and antivirals may be an option.
- A yeast infection, an antifungal medication taken for up to a week can do the trick.
- A result of vaginal dryness due to hormone changes, one option is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Speak to your doctor about estrogen creams, tablets, and rings. Lube is also a must-have if you’re having sex.
- CV, there is some evidence that specific treatments can help restore the balance. These include douching with a sodium bicarbonate solution and taking oral medication. But it’s very important to do this under the guidance of a healthcare professional so that it doesn’t get worse.
- A skin condition like vaginal dermatitis, it can usually be treated by keeping the area clean and dry, and applying anti-itch creams. If it’s an allergic reaction, an OTC antihistamine can help.
Then, there are also some home remedies that can help soothe the itch:
- Baking soda. This age-old treatment is still a hot favorite for relieving itchiness. The Australian Menopause Society recommends adding half a teaspoon of baking soda to about four cups of water to create a wash.
- Vitamin E oils. Using vitamin E oil to lubricate your vaginal area can help bring relief. Vitamin E suppositories have been shown to be an effective treatment for vaginal dryness, particularly in postmenopausal women.
- Oatmeal. There’s a small batch of evidence to support the use of oatmeal to treat dry and irritated skin. There isn’t much research to confirm its use for vaginal itchiness specifically — but it does show promise.
- Lavender essential oil. While the research is still very new, lavender oil to soothe vaginal itch seems promising, as it appears to have antifungal properties.
- Cold compress to help reduce inflammation. Wet a cloth with cold water, wring it out and use it against your skin. Another option is to wrap some ice cubes in a cloth and gently apply it to the area.
Preventing vaginal itch
Here are our top tips:
- Steer clear of douching as this can upset the bacterial balance in your vagina.
- Avoid irritants like perfumed soaps, bubble baths, and detergents.
- Pat, rather than rub, your vaginal area dry.
- Opt for cotton underwear.
- Wipe from front to back.
- Use barrier methods of contraception like condoms.
- Embrace the power of lube.
- Clean sex toys, and if you’re already itching, it might be best to wait.
- Choose loose-fitting clothes while you’re experiencing the itch.
- Some people find it useful to use pads instead of tampons.
And don’t feel like you’re alone in this. It’s more common than you might think.
Join us on Peanut. We’re having the conversation.
Hope you feel better soon.
💡 More from The 411:
What is Squirting?
Vaginal Massage: Benefits and Methods
Boil on Vagina? Causes and Treatments
Why Do I Have Pain in My Left Ovary?
Fishy Vagina Smell: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Should I Be Worried About Vagina Pimples?
What to Do About Ingrown Pubic Hair
VCH Piercing: All You Need to Know About
How to Clean your Vagina: 6 Tips