What is Vaginal itching ?
Vaginal itching is an uncomfortable and painful sensation that you may face due to infection, menopause or irritating substances. You may also experience vaginal itching because of certain skin disorders or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). You must consult a dermatologist if the itching is constant and continues for more than a week.
You should also get professional advice as soon as you feel pain in genital area, trouble while urinating, unusual vaginal discharge or blisters on the vulva. In extreme cases, it may be due to stress or vulva cancer. The treatment your dermatologist suggests will be according to the types of vaginitis like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, trichomoniasis, and vaginal atrophy.
What causes vaginal itching?
These are the causes of vaginal itching:
- Bacterial vaginosis: In our vagina, there is a mix of a healthy mix of bacteria but when the number of bad bacteria grows in more quantity it can cause infection. There can be many symptoms including itching, inflammation, burning, discharge, or bad odor.
- Sexually transmitted disease: Sexually transmitted diseases which include chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis can cause vaginal itching and irritation.
- Yeast infection: This is one of the most common problems a woman goes through in life. Yeast infection occurs in the vagina when there is excessive growth of candida. There can be many reasons for yeast infections which include pregnancy, intercourse, weak immune system, antibiotics, etc.
- Menopause: This happens when estrogen production drops down at the end of the reproductive years of women. This can lead to itching and irritation.
- Chemical irritants: This includes creams, condoms, contraceptive creams, detergent, soaps, scented toilet paper, douches, which can cause irritation in the vagina.
- Lichen sclerosis: in these white patches on the skin are formed and can cause permanent patches on the vaginal area.
Some other condition can also occur, which include:
- Medication like antibiotics or steroids.
- Tight-fighting clothes or damp clothes.
- Cancer or cervix vagina
- Unmanaged diabetes
- Skin conditions like lichen planus or vaginitis.
Can antibiotics cause vaginal itching?
Antibiotics are prescribed in order to kill the bad bacteria present in the body. But at times good bacteria are also killed by them which leads to yeast or fungal infection. Due to this infection intense itching starts taking place in vagina and other genital areas.
How to diagnose vaginal itching?
The doctor will diagnose your vaginal itching in various ways. You will be asked about the symptoms you are going through and since how much time all these things are happening. The doctor also asks about the sexual activities and also perform a pelvic examination.
The doctor performs the pelvic examination carefully and during the examination a speculum is inserted in the vagina to get a proper view. Then the abdomen is pressed down while two gloved fingers are inserted in your vagina which allows the doctor to check the abnormalities in the reproductive organs of the woman. The skin sample from the vagina is also collected by the doctor for further analysis.
How to treat vaginal itching?
The dermatologist will conduct a pelvic examination wherein, they will visually inspect your vulva and may even use a speculum to see inside your vagina. The treatment will be done after finding out the exact cause. Bacterial vaginosis can be treated by consuming certain medications. These are the ways in which vaginal itching can be treated:
- Vaginosis and sexually transmitted disease: If you are going through any of these then the doctor prescribes antibiotics or antiparasitic to get relief.
- Yeast infection: if you are suffering from yeast infection then the doctor prescribes you with antifungal medicine. It can be treated by over the counter medications available in the form of antifungal creams called miconazole, clotrimazole, butoconazole or tioconazole. They can also be treated by oral antifungal medications such as fluconazole.
- Trichomoniasis: To treat trichomoniasis, your dermatologist may prescribe metronidazole or tinidazole tablets.
- Menopause: If you suffer from menopausal itching then the doctor prescribes estrogen in the form of tablets, creams or vaginal ring insert.
- Metronidazole is a medication that can be taken as pills through the mouth or as a gel to be applied.
- Another cream clindamycin is known to relieve the pains by applying on your vagina.
Who needed treatment for vaginal itching?
If you have been suffering from extreme discomfort or pain in your vagina for more than a week, you must consult a doctor. Also, you must immediately see a doctor if you face pain in genital area, trouble while urinating, unusual vaginal discharge or blisters on the vulva.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Mild irritation in the vagina may be due to a particular cloth or certain soap. Try to change these conditions before going to a doctor.
Are there any side effects?
You may experience temporary nausea, headache, tiredness or mild itchiness in other parts of your skin after consuming these medications. Do not worry, these effects wear off after some time.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
Remember to keep very good care of your genital area. Wash the area at least once with plain, unscented soap. Do not use perfume or deodorant sprays near your vagina. Practice safe sex i.e. use condoms while indulging in sexual intercourse so as to protect yourself from STDs.
How long does it take to recover?
The recovery time depends on the type of vaginitis you are suffering from and the severity of your condition.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Metronidazole vaginal gel may cost around ₹27 per 30gm. Fluconazole may cost around ₹35 per capsule.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The results of the treatment are permanent if you take the proper measures.
How to prevent vaginal itching?
These are ways in which vaginal itching can be prevented:
- Stop wearing tight fighting clothes
- Wear comfortable underwear.
- Never keep your genital areas damp
- Rinse or wash the area regularly
- Do not use things like soap, deodorants, perfumes, bubble bath, scented cream, fabric softener or any other things like this.
- Never douche as it removes healthy bacteria.
- If suffering from diabetes then keep your blood sugar under control.
- Avoid a very hot bath or warm bath as the yeast grows in the warm and moist environment.
But if itching continuously for a long period of time then it is important to see a doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.
What home remedy can I use to stop vaginal itching?
These are the home remedies that can be done to stop vaginal itching:
- Taking a baking soda bath: Baking soda has properties that can treat yeast infection as well as itchy skin. You can take ¼ cup of baking soda and dissolve in water. Then you can soak in water for about 30-40 minutes.
- Greek yogurt: It is one of the most common remedies for yeast infection as yogurt promotes the growth of good bacteria thus it helps in killing the bad bacteria present in the vagina.
- Wearing cotton underwear: Wearing cotton underwear is always helpful if you are suffering from vaginal itching or discomfort. Therefore you must wear cotton underwear which prevents the vagina from yeast infection because yeast does not grow in the area which is well ventilated.
- Bath with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps in giving relief from the yeast infection. Thus you can mix apple cider vinegar in water and take a bath with that.
- Probiotic supplement: Probiotic promotes the growth of good bacteria and kills the bad bacteria present in the vagina. You can take probiotics in any form that can be capsule or tonic. If you want you can also consult your doctor before taking any probiotic.
- Coconut oil: Is very useful in killing bacteria which causes a yeast infection. You can apply coconut oil in your vagina for getting relief.
- Hygiene: Good vaginal health must be practiced in order to keep the vagina healthy. Vagina must be cleaned regularly.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
You may try using some home remedies to get rid of vaginal itching. Wash your genital area with warm water and mild cleanser. Change your underwear every day and wash your clothes well. Avoid using scented soaps or lotions near your vagina. Having yogurt with live cultures is known to decrease the chances of getting yeast infections.