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Vaginal itching is an unpleasant sensation that can also trigger worry in many women. It's no wonder that many women turn to SteadyHealth to ask what the cause of their vaginal itching is, then. Itching in the vaginal and vulvar areas can be caused by a wide variety of different issues, many of which aren't serious at all. 

Fortunately, these conditions are accompanied by other symptoms that can give you valuable clues.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Since many women worry they may have an STD when they notice vaginal itching, let's get this one out the way first. Yes, STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes can all lead to itching. Here's what other symptoms these STDs can produce in women.

  • Chlamydia: Often symptomless, chlamydia can cause foul-smelling vaginal discharge or just smelly discharge, painful periods and bleeding between periods, pain when urinating or having intercourse, abdominal pain, fever, and nausea.
  • Gonorrhea: Strangely colored (often green) discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, bleeding between periods and after intercourse, a swollen vulva, and sometimes a sore throat and conjuctivitis, after oral sex.
  • Genital warts: Warts visible to the naked eye.
  • Trichomoniasis: Another often asymptomatic STD, women with this disease may experience painful urination and intercourse, frothy discharge of a green/yellow color, and sometimes lower abdominal pain.
  • Genital herpes: Blisters, fever, swollen lymph nodes.
If any of these combinations of symptoms sound familiar to you, see your doctor or a sexual health clinic, as soon as you can.

Other Infections

Bacterial Vaginosis: A bacterial infection of the vagina can cause excessive discharge that has a fish-like odor, inflammation, burning sensations, and of course itching.

Yeast Infection: Three quarters of all women will experience a yeast infection, an overgrowth of candida, at some point in their lives. Pregnancy, antibiotics, illness, and having sex can all be culprits. A yeast infection will give you discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

Environmental Factors

The wrong washing powder, tight underwear, vaginal douches, toilet paper, and even some sanitary pads can cause vaginal itching, either because you're allergic to something, or because of friction.

Menopause

Vaginal dryness is strongly associated with menopause, and caused by a loss of estrogen. This, too, can lead to itching.

Lichen Sclerosis

Finally, Lichen sclerosis is a rare and dangerous disorder in which white patches appear on the vagina. Itching is one symptom. Lichen sclerosis is more common in post-menopausal women. If you do notice white patches, see a doctor right away.

What Should You Do About The Itching?

Unless you don't have any other symptoms, you're pretty sure your itch was caused by something like washing poweder, and the vaginal itching goes away really soon, seeing an OBGYN is always a good idea. What was the last time you saw your gynecologist for a routine checkup? If you can't remember, it's probably time to make an apopointment even if you are not worried about the itching.

While vaginal itching can be totally benign, it can also be caused by conditions that need treatment right away, in order to prevent complications. Your reproductive health is important! Just see your doctor already.

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