Vaginal Itching: Why is My Vagina Itchy?

Vaginal Itching: Why is My Vagina Itchy?

So you’ve got an itch you need to scratch.

And you’re in public.

Now what?

Curse you, vaginal itching!

Why are you even a thing?

Well, it may comfort (or annoy) you to know that vaginal itching, at any point in your life, is pretty common.

In this article: 📝

  • What is vaginal itching?
  • What causes vaginal itch?
  • Can pubic hair cause itching?
  • Is itching a sign of a yeast infection?
  • Why do I have vaginal itching after sex?
  • Why do I have vaginal itching during pregnancy?
  • Why do I have vaginal itching before period?
  • Why do I have menopause vaginal itching?
  • Is vaginal itching normal?
  • What helps vaginal itching?
  • Home remedy for itching vagina

What is vaginal itching?

First off, what is vaginal itching?

Well, most of the time, when we talk about vaginal itching, we really mean vulval itching, although you can also have some irritation in your vagina.

It’s often some pricky itchiness around the vulval area, but can feel more like burning or a rash.

There are lots of different types of vaginal itching, with lots of different causes ‒ after all, it’s a naturally lubricated area that’s often covered up, so that makes it susceptible to all sorts, from infections to irritations.

What is vulvar pruritus?

Vulvar pruritus is the scientific name for vaginal itching ‒ since it is, often, technically vulval itching rather than vaginal itching.

What causes vaginal itch?

As there are so many types of vaginal itching, like bumps, rashes, vulval, vaginal, painful, or just plain irritating, it can help to pinpoint a cause to help treat it.

Here are some of the most common causes of vaginal itching at different stages in your life.

1. Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can affect people with vaginas at any point in their life, but it can be a little more concerning during pregnancy.

If left untreated, it can lead to premature birth and low birth weight.

When it’s not itchy, your vagina has a beautifully balanced ecosystem of different bacteria living in harmony.

If your “good” bacteria (the most common one being lactobacilli) start to lessen in number, the “bad” bacteria (anaerobes) throw a bit of a party ‒ hence the vaginal itching.

And sometimes things get out of hand.

You’re more at risk of getting bacterial vaginosis when you’re pregnant, menstruating, or going through menopause because of your hormone fluctuations.

It’s not an STI because you technically don’t get it from another person.

You may have symptoms, or you may not (it’s about 50/50).

If you do, they might include a fishy smell, a thin white-ish grayish discharge, a burning feeling, and of course, (drum roll) an itchy vagina.

2. Trichomoniasis

This potential cause of vaginal itching is an STI. You may have heard it called “trich”.

It’s caused by a little parasite that’s passed between people when they have sex.

Trich is more concerning during pregnancy because it’s linked to early labor and low birth weights.

It often comes with a fishy odor; vaginal discharge that is usually frothy green (can be white, grey); and pain when having sex or peeing.

And, yes, vaginal itching.

3. Vulvar cancer

Okay, first off, we don’t mean to scare you ‒ this is very rare, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it.

Vaginal itching can be a symptom of vulvar cancer, particularly if it’s accompanied by abnormal bleeding or pain around your vagina and vulva.

If you are at all concerned about vulval or vaginal itching, visit your doctor.

Why is my vagina itchy inside no discharge?

If you have vaginal itching, but no discharge, there can be lots of causes, from ingrown hairs (usually caused by shaving pubic hair) and irritation from soaps or lotions to pubic lice or eczema.

Can pubic hair cause itching?

Yes, pubic hair can be linked to the cause of an itchy vagina.

There are several ways your pubic hair can cause vaginal itching, such as:

  • Ingrown hairs from shaving
  • Pubic lice (aka crabs) ‒ these will look like little specks of black powder
  • Skin infection, possibly caused by sweating or a yeast infection

Is itching a sign of a yeast infection?

Yes, it can be.

Yeast infections happen when yeast builds up in your vagina.

And, if you are pregnant, menstruating, or menopausal, your vaginal secretions may be a little more “sugary” than usual.

Yeast loves sugar.

You know what else yeast loves? Places that are moist and warm.

We’ll let you put the rest together.

Symptoms of a yeast infection include a thick, white, clumpy discharge, a burning feeling, and, of course, vaginal itching.

If you’re worried about yeast infections during pregnancy, rest assured, they’re not dangerous, but they can be super uncomfortable.

If you’re worried about having a yeast infection, the best thing to do is to wait until it subsides, but you can also visit your doctor if it’s really uncomfortable for some medications to speed up the recovery process.

Why do I have vaginal itching after sex?

Vaginal itching after sex can be caused by a few different things.

You might be allergic to prophylactics or lube, if you’re using either of those.

If not, it may be caused by friction ‒ if your vagina doesn’t have enough lubrication during sex, you can get a little irritation in your vaginal canal, which can lead to an itchy vagina.

There is also a chance that vaginal itching after sex could be an STD, so if you’re concerned you’ve caught one, visit a doctor.

Why do I have vaginal itching during pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant, there are a whole lot of changes happening down there at the moment, mainly because your hormones are on the upswing, and that can mean a host of new discharges, itches, and smells.

But while vaginal itching is par for the pregnancy course, that doesn’t mean it’s fun—and, in some cases, it can even be cause for concern.

Vaginal itching during pregnancy could be caused by:

  • Bacterial vaginosis, which can lead to premature birth or other infections (so it’s worth visiting your doctor if you think you have BV during pregnancy)
  • Skin irritation, caused by raging hormones or allergic reactions
  • Yeast infection, which usually goes away by itself
  • STIs, such as trichomoniasis or herpes, which will require treatment by a doctor
  • Vaginal dryness, which can irritate your vaginal canal
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Cystitis is one of the most common UTIs in women

Why do I have postpartum vaginal itching?

Whether you give birth vaginally or via c-section, you can get vaginal itching postpartum.

Vaginal birth can lead to an itchy vagina because your vagina may be inflamed while healing.

And pregnancy can cause dryness in your vagina, which can cause irritation, leading to vaginal itching.

Why do I have vaginal itching before period?

If it’s just before your period is due to start, one tell-tale symptom might be some vaginal itching.

It can be caused by a flux in hormones, which can cause a sensitivity to things you might not normally be allergic to, or some vaginal dryness, which can lead to an itchy vagina.

Fun fact: vaginal itching that happens at the same time during your menstrual cycle is known as cyclic vulvovaginitis.

Why do have vaginal itching during period?

Typically, using any type of menstrual product ‒ pads, tampons, cups, or period pants ‒ can cause vaginal itching.

And, because your hormones are in flux due to being on your period, you might be extra sensitive to any vaginal itching at that time of your cycle.

Why do I have vaginal itching after period?

Just as with vaginal itching before and during your period, an itchy vagina after your period can be exacerbated by hormone changes.

Why do I have menopause vaginal itching?

Just as you’re leaving your period behind you, you might think that’s the end of vaginal itching.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s just not the case!

Menopause can cause vaginal dryness (due to a drop in estrogen), which can make your skin dry and feel like you have an itchy vagina.

➡️ Dive deeper: How to Combat the Menopause Itch

Can stress cause vaginal itching?

Yup. Even if it’s not caused by dryness, BV, hormones, allergies, STDs, or irritation, you can get vaginal itching from stress.

Stress can have strange effects on our bodies, from weight gain to heart palpitations, and, yes, even vaginal itching.

Is vaginal itching normal?

Yes, vaginal itching is totally normal.

Every person with a vagina will experience some form of vaginal itching at some point in their lives, for one reason or another, and usually, it’s not any cause for concern.

And around 75% of women experience vaginal itching as a result of a yeast infection.

So if you’re dealing with an itchy vagina, it’s often nothing to worry about, and you’re certainly not alone.

But if you’re concerned at all, visit your doctor ‒ there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s worth it for the peace of mind and to get your vaginal health back to normal.

Is vaginal itching a sign of pregnancy?

Sometimes, yes.

But it’s impossible to use vaginal itching as a tell-tale sign of pregnancy because it can happen so often, and for so many different reasons.

Ultimately, if you think you might be pregnant, the best way to tell is to take a pregnancy test two weeks after ovulation or just after your first missed period.

What helps vaginal itching?

Now the part you’ve been waiting for: how to relieve vaginal itching.

Here is the low-down on what to do when you have an itchy vagina:

1. For yeast infection

Vaginal creams or suppositories are generally the way to go.

While these are usually over-the-counter, get a diagnosis from your doctor first so that you know that a yeast infection is definitely what’s happening.

Some antifungal medications are safe but not all. Your doctor will steer you towards the right ones.

2. For bacterial infection

Antibiotics are often used, but the topic is complicated.

While antibiotics are good at getting rid of the bad bacteria, they’re also good at getting rid of the good bacteria.

Your doctor may prescribe a probiotic.

Taking your prenatal vitamins is also a really good idea if you’re pregnant too, to keep your vaginal microbiome in optimal shape.

3. For irritation or allergies

Wash your vaginal area with warm water and (optional) a vaginal pH-friendly soap (avoid any other type of soap as they can irritate your vagina even more).

There’s no need to douche (clean the inside of your vagina); simply rinse your vulva and your vaginal entrance to clear it of any irritants.

4. For STDs

Visit your doctor for some prescribed medication.

STDs that cause vaginal itching are pretty common and nothing to be ashamed of.

Home remedy for itching vagina

Now, how to relieve vaginal itching with just home remedies.

Well, it’s probably best to stick with going to the doctor here so that you can get to the bottom of what’s causing the vaginal itch.

But, if you’re wondering how to soothe vaginal itching in the meantime, here are some tips:

  • Avoid douching: Although it may feel like a good idea, it messes with the pH balance of your vagina’s ecosystem, which can lead to infection. There is no need to clean it inside out, vaginas are perfect the way they are.
  • Keep things as dry and clean as possible
  • Wear cotton underwear: They help your vagina breathe
  • Stay away from any offending soaps: That includes scented.

Some people recommend unusual home remedies for vaginal itching, like Greek yogurt on the area, baking soda or apple cider vinegar baths, and coconut oil.

But it’s best to avoid applying anything directly to your vaginal area unless it’s prescribed by your doctor.

Try rinsing the area with warm water in the first instance. Then, if it continues, visit your doctor.

Which cream is best for itching in private parts?

We can’t really recommend a vaginal itching cream that will work for you ‒ it depends on the type of vaginal itching and the cause of your itchy vagina.

Some vaginal itching creams may make your vagina itchier, especially if you don’t know the cause of the itch.

If you want to find out which vaginal itching cream is best for you, visit your doctor.

Can you put Vaseline on your vagina if it’s itchy?

No, it’s not a good idea to use Vaseline on your vagina or vulva to stop the itch.

If you’ve asked friends how to get rid of vaginal itch and they’ve suggested Vaseline or petroleum jelly, advise them to stop this practice too! Misinformation is something we should work together to put an end to.

It’s recommended that you avoid putting anything topical on your vagina unless your doctor advises it.

Using products not naturally meant for the vagina might cause more harm than good (even if the intentions are right).

How do I stop my private part itching at night?

Try these things before visiting the doctor:

  • Wash your vulval area with warm water (not inside the vaginal canal, unless there’s something in there that’s causing the itch)
  • Change your underwear
  • If the vaginal itch persists, try placing an ice pack wrapped in a soft towel on the area

Then, if you wake up with vaginal itching, book an appointment to see your doctor.

We know, vaginal itching is no fun, but there are natural and medical therapies you can do.

If you are at all concerned about an itchy vagina, have a chat with your doctor!

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