Causes of Vaginal Itch

Itch in the vaginal area implies some irritating stimulus there. The irritation may be some chemical irritant, fabric, any infection, dryness or even cancers.

So, each time you ask yourself, why is my vagina itchy, you know there are many causes and evaluation is required.

Let us pick them one by one on the basis of chief symptoms that are perceived by a female.

Itchy Vagina but No Discharge

An itch without discharge points chiefly towards the presence of some irritant substance there. This may be your underwear fabric, tight clothing or improper hygiene.

Non absorbent fabrics are incapable of removing moisture down there. Trapped moisture mixes with your own secretions and tissue debris to give you itch.

It is therefore recommended to wear loose cotton undergarments only. They keep the area well aerated and dry.

Wash the region daily with plain water. This is the best home remedy for itchy vagina.

Dry Vaginal Area

  • This may be due to some soap, gel or douche used for cleaning. You may be allergic to a particular stuff used.
  • Excessive washing, especially with soaps, can lead to very itchy vagina. The area requires only a gentle cleaning with plain water. Use of soap actually washes away the vaginal secretions and the layer of good bacteria present there. This lead to dryness and hence itch. Removal of bacteria predisposes to the growth of fungal infections. So, whenever you use a douche or soap next time, you know you are rendering the area vulnerable to fungal infections.
  • Dryness may have a hormonal cause too. Women often complain of a burning itchy vagina after menopause. This is due to reduced estrogen levels that is a hallmark of the phase. Such cases are treated by topical estrogen creams or emollients.
  • Stress, as in teens, may be due to innumerable changes that take place in this phase. It leads to physical symptoms too, like changes in appetite, dryness and itch in vagina, pimples etc.
  • A shaving rash in the pubic area may be causing you a localized itch. It is alright to shave if you want. But, always remember to apply some emollient over it to prevent itchiness. It is true that there area stays healthier when not shaved.

Redness Without Discharge

  • An allergic reaction (condition medically referred as contact dermatitis) to a particular tampon or pad is common. If you repeatedly notice any reaction, simply change the stuff you are using.
  • Though yeast infections usually present with discharge, a topical infection with the fungus may cause you only itch. Anti fungal cream with proper hygiene is required to treat it.

After Period

Girls often notice some itchiness after menses. The blood and other shed material may irritate the vaginal tract leading to some itchiness. Also, there is an hormonal factor. The levels of female hormones are lowest just after menses, leading to reduced secretions and lubrication.

The result is a dry vagina containing irritants in it.

An itchy vagina before periods or during period has also been noted. The reason is again reduced lubricating secretions due to low hormones.

White Discharge

Most of the women would counteract an yeast infection during their reproductive years. You note a curdy white or a thick white discharge and a lot of itch lower down.

Treat the condition promptly with anti fungals. Never use a steroid based cream for this condition. This may increase the spread of infection.

Swollen Area

This indicates the presence of an infection.

You need the note the kind of discharge associated.

A normal vaginal discharge is clear and stringy. It may be thin at times, due to excessive straining or standing.

It may be slightly white (not thick white) during ovulation.

Any discharge different from this should be noted.

Bacterial vaginosis gives a itchy red vagina with yellowish thin discharge having a fishy odor. You need antibiotics to treat the condition.

Trichomonas vaginitis is caused by a parasite. This leads to itchy burning vagina with heavy discharge, yellow- grey or greenish in color. A foul smell is usually present.

Presence of Flakes

  • Psoariasis- Leads to red patches covered with white flaky scales.
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis, also called dandruff, leads to yellowish, flaky red looking rashes.

Bumps on Vagina

Scabies, is where mites enter the skin surface to form nest there. Bumps are formed which itch a lot.

Due to STD

Herpes is a condition where itchy bumps are found on the vagina. The bumps are usually in clusters and increase with time. They may ulcerate or burn on urination.

Folliculitis– A single bump which is red and inflamed may be due to an infection of a hair follicle down there. This condition is called folliculitis.

Warts due to HPV, is a viral illness where bumps may be present in the vaginal region.

After Sex

  • You may be allergic to the latex condom used. Try changing the material of condom being used.
  • Some women are allergic to seminal secretion. If you note an itch or redness each time after sex, seminal allergy needs to  be considered.

During Pregnancy

Investigations are required at the earliest. During pregnancy, the vagina is a bit dilated and its pH is altered, making it more vulnerable to infection.

An itch during this phase may imply infection. Early treatment would arrest the infection within the vagina and prevent it from climbing upwards.

A growth in the area that is painless but itchy needs evaluation. Vulval cancers needs to be ruled out.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Causes of Itchy Vagina and Its Management

  1. Anonymous

    Hi. This evening, before showering, I noticed that the area around my vagina (around the opening and a little above it where the hair is) is red and rash looking. It just looked inflamed. It isn’t itchy or anything. I had been doing hard work all day. For about 6 hours and also I am on antibiotics. This is the 5th time in like 6 months. For different things (ear infections, strep throat, sinus infection). Right now, I am currently taking them because I was exposed to whooping cough at my children’s school. I’m not sure how or if the antibiotics could relate, just thought I would give you all of the information. I have been very happily married for 11 years so I’m not worried about STDs or anything. Thanks.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Do you have any discharge from the vagina? If yes, let us know for a better understanding into your problem.

      These rashes are likely to be due to excess sweat and vaginal secretions produced in the groin region. Sweat is an irritant. When the sweaty skin of the groin and inner thigh region experiences friction during walking and other activities, the skin out there gets irritated.

      As a result, redness and rashes may appear.

      The condition is managed simply by washing off the salty sweat immediately after sessions of physical works. Also, wear loose cotton underwear only. This would absorb the excess sweat produced and help in keeping the area dry. Avoid tight fitting lowers for some time.

      You may apply a little baby powder over the skin out there, sparing the mucosal surfaces.

      Long term use or recurrent use of antibiotics is definitely harmful, and predisposes to infective disease conditions. You may read more on the side effects of excess antibiotic intake. It is advisable to manage your sinus infection by supportive treatments like steam inhalation etc.

  2. Patricia

    My daughter is 17yrs old and she said her vagina is itchy inside and she looked in a mirror and she said her hole is closed up and she can’t get a finger in. I told her she needs to go to the hospital. She is about 5hr drive from me and I am worried.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Does she have any discharge from the vaginal opening? Ask her if she is getting some white, yellow or reddish fluid coming out from down there.

      This may be some mild infection that requires medical treatment.

      If she is a virgin, it is natural that she can’t insert her finger in. Young girls have tight vaginal openings with a hymen (membranous curtain) at the end.

      Is she having any sexual urge or feeling of orgasm?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      There has to be a reason for itching. This is not normal. You may read above about the common causes of itching in vagina.

      If you are not sexually active, the commonest reason may be dryness. Try rubbing bland coconut oil/ vaginal lubricant like KY jelly over the areas that itch. Rub it adequately, two to three times a day.

  3. Pragati Mishra

    My vaginal section are very itchy. I am very tensed about it and when my period is on, the infection becomes very bad. Any cream I apply is not effective. What should I do?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      As you may read above, there are many causes of having an itchy vagina.

      Let us know if you are having any discharge from the vagina, its color and smell. Any redness or swelling in the vaginal lips?

  4. Anitra Johnson

    A week ago, I recently shaved my vagina and I noticed bumps start to form. When I try to get rid of them and they start to hurt or they may burst on their own. I’m not sexually active at all. Only a virgin, so is it from shaving?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Likely to be due to shaving.

      You may need to apply mupirocin (topical antibiotic) ointment over it for now. Apply it thrice daily for a week.

  5. IraZeu

    My vagina is itching a lot. There is some white discharge stuck around my pee hole area. The entire part is itching a lot. There is no odour smell. This itching is since 1 week for now. Before my vagina was even feeling swollen down there but then automatically it got recovered. Now my issue is only the itching and the white discharge around there. Please help? ThankYou.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Likely to be a fungal infection. Try applying canesten/ candid ointment over the affected area. Do this daily for a week and let us know the results.

      Also, take care that the region down there is clean and dry throughout the day. Wear loose cotton underwears to help it stay dry.