Most women experience vaginal itching at some point in their lives. For some people, this can be a minor problem and goes away on its own, but for others, itchiness can be persistent due to illness or allergies. Depending on the specific cause of your vaginal itching, you can treat it at home or it’s best to see a doctor for professional treatment.
Temporarily relieves itching
Cold compress. Whatever the cause of vaginal itching, you can temporarily relieve discomfort by applying cold compresses (eg, using a towel) to the labia.
To apply cold, you need to put a clean towel under cold running water until it is wet. After that, squeeze out the water and apply it on the intimate area for 5-10 minutes.
Make sure to wash the towel after use. If you want to repeat the cold compress, you should use a new towel.
You can also use ice packs. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a clean tissue and do not place it on the intimate area for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Eliminate irritants. Irritants from laundry detergents, soaps, or other products can cause vaginal itching. Switching to an unscented laundry detergent and not using fabric softener can help relieve itching in the intimate area caused by allergies. You should also use a mild cleanser to remove potential irritants from your shower gel.
For example, you can use a Dove bar of soap or a gentle Cetaphil skin cleanser.
Avoid using hygiene products, wipes, powders, or products with fragrance to avoid irritating the intimate area.
Use moisturizer. You can buy water-based creams or emulsifying ointments at most pharmacies to help relieve vaginal itching. Be sure to follow all instructions for applying the cream/ointment. Note that these products do not help treat the underlying cause of vaginal itching.
Avoid scratching. Scratching will only aggravate the irritation and cause more itching. Scratching can even cause an infection if it causes a tear, so you should avoid scratching at all costs.
Treat the cause. Some women may experience occasional vaginal itching that doesn’t require treatment, but if you have severe or persistent itching, it could be due to a few underlying causes. Determining the cause is important to help treat an infection or to help avoid exposure to an irritant.
Prevent itching caused by yeast infection
Diagnosis of a yeast infection. Yeast infections can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from other infections, so you should see your doctor right away if you are unsure of your self-diagnosis. Common symptoms of a yeast infection include inflammation, a burning sensation, pain in the vagina, and an odorless vaginal discharge (which can be liquid or thick and white).
If your vaginal discharge looks different, you may have another type of infection.
Women who are pregnant, are taking antibiotics, have diabetes, or have weakened immune systems are at increased risk for yeast infections.
If you are pregnant and suspect an infection, you should see your doctor for an evaluation. The infection can harm an unborn baby if it’s not actually a yeast infection.
Use over-the-counter products. Many vaginal creams and suppositories used to treat yeast infections are available at most pharmacies. These products are effective in treating the majority of yeast infections.
Some products need different treatment time. If you have recurrent yeast infections, you should choose a product that can be used for 7 days.
If you feel too uncomfortable, you should look for a yeast infection treatment product that contains ingredients that reduce itching.
Butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, and terconazole are a few common active ingredients in medicines that treat yeast infections, and they have all been shown to be effective in treating yeast infections.
Consider alternative treatments. If conventional medications don’t work or you’re looking for something more natural, there are a few options for you.
Use boric acid suppositories. Boric acid is very effective in killing the bacteria that cause yeast infections. You can buy boric acid suppositories at most health care stores. Never self-treat a yeast infection with boric acid powder because the powder makes the irritation worse. Note that boric acid is toxic, so do not give it to others when you are taking boric acid.
Use tea tree oil. You can cure a yeast infection by using tampons that are soaked in tea tree oil. Be careful when using this method and remove the tampon if uncomfortable. Although tea tree oil is believed to be antifungal, further testing is needed to demonstrate its effectiveness in treating yeast infections.
Treat infections with probiotics. There is some evidence that it is possible to fight yeast infections by increasing the amount of good bacteria in the body. To increase the amount of beneficial bacteria, you can insert Lactobacillus tablets (available at natural health food stores) directly into the vagina. You can even cure an infection by eating probiotic-rich yogurt or applying yogurt to your intimate area. Note that these treatments are not as effective as conventional methods and can be more expensive.
Know when to see a doctor. Most yeast infections can be treated at home; But in some cases, you need to see a doctor. In general, it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you’ve never had a yeast infection because you may be misdiagnosing yourself. In addition, you should also see your doctor if your yeast infection does not improve after treatment.
If a yeast infection doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments, your doctor may prescribe oral medication.
Yeast infections are often accompanied by thick, white vaginal discharge. If the discharge is grayish, yellowish, or greenish, you should see your doctor, as it may not be a yeast infection.
If you want to confirm a yeast infection but don’t want to see a doctor, you can purchase a home screening test kit, such as the Vagisil Screening Test, to confirm the diagnosis. However, you still need to see your doctor if your symptoms do not improve with home treatment.
Prevent future yeast infections. While it’s not possible to prevent all recurring yeast infections, there are some ways that can help reduce your risk of yeast infections.
Don’t take antibiotics if you don’t need them. Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina, causing a yeast infection. Even so, you still need to take antibiotics if you really need to.
Wear cotton underwear.
Avoid wearing tight pants, tights, and underwear.
Keep the intimate area as dry as possible by removing wet clothing immediately and avoiding hot tubs.
If you’re taking estrogen-containing birth control pills and have recurrent yeast infections, you should consider switching to a progestin-only pill or using an alternative method of birth control, as increased estrogen levels can cause a yeast infection.
Prevent itching caused by bacterial vaginosis
Be aware of other symptoms. Other symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include a burning sensation, inflammation, and a gray-white liquid discharge with a fishy odor. You may have all, some, or even none of the symptoms listed above.
The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis is unknown, but some women are more susceptible to bacterial vaginosis than others. Many people who have had bacterial vaginosis will have a recurrence at least once a year. It may be because some women have low levels of natural probiotics.
Go to a doctor. Unlike yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis cannot be effectively treated at home. To cure an infection and relieve symptoms, you must see a doctor and take prescription medication. You may be prescribed an oral medication, such as Metronidazole or Tinidazole, or a cream, such as Clindamycin.
To diagnose a bacterial vaginosis, your doctor will need to perform a pelvic exam and a vaginal smear to examine the cells under a microscope. Your doctor can use a stick to check the pH of your vagina.
Prompt treatment is very important if you are pregnant, as bacterial vaginosis can lead to serious complications.
Prevent recurrent vaginal yeast infections. While there’s no way to prevent all vaginal yeast infections from recurring, you can reduce your risk by taking a few simple steps:
Avoid douching, as this can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and lead to an infection.
Avoid scented products like soaps, tampons, and sprays.
Reduce the number of sexual partners. Although the cause is not entirely clear, women who have sex with many people, have recently had sex with someone new or have sex with men, are at higher risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.
Dry the vaginal area after bathing and avoid hot tubs.
Always wipe from front to back after using the bathroom to avoid introducing bacteria from the stool into the vagina.
Prevent itching caused by sexually transmitted diseases
Know the warning signs of a sexually transmitted disease. Vaginal itching can be a symptom of many sexually transmitted diseases. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or have any other reason to think you’ve been exposed to an STI, you should see your doctor right away. Note that you can have an STI even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Trichomoniasis typically causes vaginal redness, a strong odor, and a yellow-green vaginal discharge.
Chlamydia often has no symptoms but can cause abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, and abdominal pain.
Gonorrhea usually causes a bloody or thick, cloudy vaginal discharge, anal itching, and pain when urinating.
Herpes usually causes red bumps, blisters, or sores around the genitals.
HPV or genital warts usually cause small, flesh-colored warts near the genitals that may appear in clusters.
Go see a doctor. If you have a sexually transmitted infection, you need to see a doctor for medical treatment. If left untreated, some STIs can lead to serious complications. Therefore, you need to see a doctor immediately and take the medicine as directed.
Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, and syphilis can all be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the infection, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or injections.
HPV can’t be cured, but your doctor can recommend treatment options to help reduce the appearance of genital warts.
Herpes can be suppressed with antiviral drugs to reduce flare-ups, but the disease is not curable and cannot guarantee that an infected person will not infect others.
Prevent future infections. The best way to avoid STIs is to practice safe sex.
Your risk of STIs is lowest if you don’t have sex or if you only have sex with someone who doesn’t have the disease.
If you have sex with more than one person, you need to protect yourself by using a condom when you have sex.
Prevents itching when vaginitis is not caused by an infection
Understand the causes and symptoms. Non-infectious vaginitis is a general term to describe irritation in the vagina that is not caused by any kind of infection. Vaginitis can have many causes, including allergic reactions, skin irritation, and hormone imbalances.
It can be difficult to distinguish between infectious and noninfectious vaginitis. Yeast infections are often confused with laundry detergent allergies. So it’s important to see a doctor if you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms. Common symptoms include a burning sensation in the vagina, vaginal discharge, and pelvic pain.
Discontinue use of potentially irritating products. Vaginal itching can be caused by an allergy to a product you are using, such as a soap or lubricant.
Avoid products with fragrance if you are prone to sensitivities.
If you experience vaginal itching shortly after starting a new product, you should stop using it immediately and avoid products with the same ingredients.
Control hormonal changes. Some women experience vaginal itching just before and during menopause due to a drop in estrogen. To avoid this, your doctor may prescribe an estrogen cream, an estrogen pill, or an estrogen vaginal ring.
If you experience vaginal dryness during menopause, you can reduce vaginal dryness by using over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and water-based lubricants during sex.
Treatment of skin problems. In some cases, the skin around the vagina can become irritated due to a skin problem. In that case, it’s best to see a dermatologist for treatment.
Vulvar vitiligo is a condition that causes patches of white and scaly skin. The disease can be treated with strong prescription steroid creams.
Eczema and psoriasis can also cause vaginal itching. Your gynecologist or dermatologist can prescribe medications to help control these conditions.