Girl talk: Why is my vagina so itchy?
Imagine you’re standing in line for a coffee when all of a sudden you feel an irrepressible need to itch down there. You’re in public and don’t want to draw attention to yourself, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re suddenly feeling a serious feminine itch that just won’t go away. So what do you do – hotfoot it to the local chemist and sort it out? Or ignore your itchy privates and hope for the best?
For a lot of women, it’s the latter – a recent study showed that 39 per cent of women who experience vaginal itching don’t use any product to treat it1. That’s an interesting stat considering just how common vaginal itching is amongst women and how quick and easy it can be to deal with. In fact, women suffer from vaginal itch more often than the common cold2 .
If that’s the case, why aren’t we taking action and doing something about vaginal itching? Well, a lot of women still feel embarrassed and uncomfortable addressing vaginal health issues. But ladies, it’s time to start taking charge of our feminine issues and ditch the itchy crotch. Dr. Althea O’Shaughnessy, board certified OB/GYN with a specialty in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, broke down just what causes vaginal itching and what we should be doing to combat it.
What causes vaginal itching?
According to Dr O’Shaughnessy, vaginal itching refers to what gynaecologists call vulvovaginal itching. “The itchiness that a woman experiences is generally in the vulva area,” she explains. “The vulvovaginal area consists of several components– the Labia Majora, the Labia Minora, the clitoris, the urethra, the vestibule, the mons and the perineum. All these structures are covered by skin which can become itchy and irritated.”
Vaginal itching can be caused by a number of factors – it could be the result of something as simple as perspiration, stress, tight clothing, certain undergarments, or even perfumed soaps. You might also find that you’re experiencing more of an itch during the summer months.
“Hormonal changes like your period, pregnancy, menopause or when you’re taking your birth control pills can contribute to vulvovaginal itching,” Dr O’Shaughnessy says. “Additional causes of vaginal itching, burning and irritation may include Bacterial Vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, yeast infection, menopause and chemical irritants.”
Should I be concerned about vaginal itching?
While we’ve established that vaginal itching is very common, it can also sometimes be a sign that your vagina is trying to tell you something. “Because itching, burning and irritation can be symptoms of an infection, it’s important that you speak with your healthcare provider,” says Dr O’Shaughnessy.
If your vaginal itching is caused by something more serious, your healthcare professional will be able to identify the issue. As mentioned previously, vaginal itching may be the result of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). “BV is an overgrowth of the bacteria that normally exists in the vagina,” says Dr O’Shaughnessy. “An itching sensation and a strong fishy odour are the common signs associated with BV.”
Another more serious cause of vaginal itching that Dr O’Shaughnessy identifies is sexually transmitted diseases. “Sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, genital warts and genital herpes are also associated with vulvovaginal itching,” she says.
You might also find that the vaginal itching you’re experiencing is due to a yeast infection. “A yeast infection is caused by an overproduction or an imbalance of candida in the vagina. In addition to the itching and irritation, the yeast infection can cause a thick, white cheesy discharge,” says Dr O’Shaughnessy. “Some women will self treat over and over again. The itching and burning will recur along with a strong fishy odour and if that patterns sounds familiar to you, I would advise that you seek medical care. Not all itch is a yeast infection.”
How can I minimise vaginal itching?
“If you experience vulvovaginal itch, know that you’re not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence,” says Dr O’Shaughnessy. Luckily, it’s easy to get your situation sorted by stocking up on the right products that will help to soothe any itchiness.
Vagisil have been the experts in intimate health for over 40 years and they’ve created the perfect products for prompt and on-the-go relief from vaginal itching. Vagisil Feminine Itching Cream Medication helps to relieve itching promptly*, cooling and soothing itching, burning and irritation. If you’re looking for something for general everyday maintenance, Vagisil pH Plus Intimate Wash is great for daily use and is especially designed for the unique needs of intimate skin. It contains LactoPrebiotic™ and natural Cranberry extract to support a healthy intimate pH and leave you feeling protected. And when you experience an itch while you’re on the go, Vagisil Itch Relief Intimate Wipes are the perfect handbag companion. The disposable wipes are individually-wrapped, making them easy to stash in your bag, and are enriched with soothing oatmeal, calendula and chamomile to create a protective barrier, which helps to prevent further intimate itch and irritation. Once you’re prepared with these products, you’ll never have to ignore that pesky itch again. You’re welcome!
* Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.
1 Combe 152-116 Feminine Care Report
2 Vagisil US Survey
Do you seek treatment for vaginal health issues?