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Vaginal itching is uncomfortable and embarrassing for some people because of the social aspect associated with it. The itching itself can be a result of many different causes such as infection, poor hygiene, irritants, vulvar cancer or even menopause.

In most cases, vaginal itching is not something that is very serious or requires a doctor visit, but if the affected individual has accompanying vaginal discharge or is worried that a serious underlying condition is precipitating this itching then a visit to the gynecologist is advised.

Here are some of the most common reasons behind vaginal itching.

Irritants

This is the most common cause which is responsible for vaginal itching. In most cases, the affected individual would have shifted to a new detergent or fabric softener, something which may not agree with their skin. A new body wash, perfume, scented toilet paper, and creams or ointments are also products that may contain the irritant.

Skin Conditions

The cause of the itching may be a dermatological problem such as eczema or psoriasis. These conditions can present with rashes anywhere on the body, however, the vaginal area is one of the most common areas that is affected.

Fungal Infection

Fungi or yeast are part of the normal micro-organisms found in the vagina. In most conditions they do not cause any problems, however, under certain conditions these yeast grow unchecked and start to cause symptoms.

The infection is extremely common and most women would experience this at some time in their lives. Commonly, the yeast colonies can grow after a course of antibiotics or when the person is suffering from another illness that compromises their immune system.

Bacterial Infection

The basic reason behind a bacterial infection is the same as that of the yeast infection. A compromised immune system or an imbalance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ micro-organisms leads to this infection. The symptoms include vaginal itching, discharge, bad odor and even some pain during urination.

STDs

Most STDs will be associated with vaginal itching alongside other symptoms that vary with specific infection. Your doctor may choose to test you for these, particularly, if you have had multiple sexual partners over the last 6 months.

Menopause

The most significant changes that occur during menopause are associated with a decrease in the level of estrogen in the body. It has wide ranging effects and one of those is a thinning of the mucosa of the vagina. This can lead to a drier vagina than previously and manifest through an itching sensation. Sexual intercourse also becomes more difficult for women that are experiencing this dryness.

Treatment

The treatment for vaginal itching will depend on the final diagnosis of the doctor. Some of the possible treatments include the use of anti-fungal medication, antibiotics, antivirals, estrogen creams and ointments.

Some of the things that affected individuals can do on their own are to maintain good hygiene, clean the area with warm water and a gentle, non-irritating cleanser. The use of any products like perfumes, non-medicated ointments and creams should be avoided.

A condom should always be used during intercourse with newer sexual partners.

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