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Curiosity Central

Why does my vagina itch?

Navya (15)  often has that sudden and dire need to itch down there. It leaves her embarrassed, especially in her class, in front of other students. It sometimes bothers her so much that she can’t focus on anything. Does this seem like your story? Why does vaginal itching happen? Let’s find out why and what can help in this week’s Curiocity Central. 

What is a vagina? 

The word vagina is often used to describe the genitals or female sexual/reproductive organs, but actually, it is just a part of them. The external part of the female reproductive organs is called the vulva, which covers the opening to the vagina and other reproductive organs inside the body. 

What is a vaginal itch? 

Vaginal itching is an irritable sensation that makes you want to scratch your skin around the vulva/vagina. It sometimes causes uncomfortable feelings and can be painful. 

Symptoms of a vaginal itch

  • Itching, irritation, burning and discomfort in the genital area
  • Sometimes with a white, grey or foamy discharge
  • In rare cases, it can be painful
  • Scratching the irritated area can result in pain and occasional bleeding from the skin

What are the causes of the vaginal itch? 

The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. It has the ability to clean itself by natural secretions or discharge. The normal environment of a vagina can be disrupted due to the following reasons:

  1. Irritants – Creams, foams used in bubble baths, laundry detergents, soaps, scented toilet paper, and fabric softeners can cause irritation in the vagina.
  2. Bacterial Vaginosis – In a woman’s reproductive years, the bacteria in the vagina can overgrow and create a natural imbalance. This results in inflammation and irritation in the vagina and an abnormal-smelling discharge which is generally dull grey or white in colour. It can be foamy in texture in many cases.
  3. Yeast infection – A very common cause of vagina itching. Every woman has some amount of fungus in their vagina. Every 3 out of 4 women develop a yeast infection in a lifetime. When the yeast candida grows unchecked and excessively in the vagina and vulva, irritation with white discharge occurs. The intake of antibiotics, which kills the good bacteria along with bad bacteria can cause yeast infections in the vaginal area. Women with weak immune systems are more susceptible to this infection.
  4. Stress – Stress is responsible for deteriorating our immune system which results in low fighting strength against fungus, bacteria etc which can cause vaginal itching. Though stress is not the direct contributor to vaginal itching.
  5. Skin diseases – Skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis, cause redness and itching in the genital region.
  6. Vulvar cancer – The vulva is the external part of the vagina which includes the inner and outer lips of the vagina, the clitoris and the opening of the vagina. Cancer can grow in the vulva. One of the symptoms of vulvar cancer is vaginal itching. Pain in the vulva or abnormal bleeding is another symptom of vulvar cancer. This can be treated successfully if it has been diagnosed by the Doctor in the early stages.
  7. STISexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also the reason for itching in the vagina.  

Precautions to avoid vaginal itching 

  1. Maintain good genital hygiene – washing the vaginal area with plain water after every use of the loo and dabbing it dry.
  2. Avoid scented products like pads, creams, sprays, toilet paper etc.
  3. Always wash from front to back after every bowel movement. 
  4. Avoid nylon panties and always wear cotton panties.
  5. Always change damp clothes to avoid the panty becoming the breeding ground for microorganisms.
  6. Change sweaty clothes after working out. 
  7. Eat healthy to improve your immunity.

If the itching in your vagina does not stop even after a week or is very uncomfortable for you, despite keeping the area dry and clean, consult a doctor. You could visit a gynaecologist. 

Photo: Shutterstock/BodyStock

Do you have any questions that are bothering you? Share with us in the comments box below. Remember no rude words or personal information in the comment box! 

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