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Many women immediately think "Yeast!" when they deal with vaginal itching, burning, and rawness, but treating a yeast infection you don't have can make the problem worse. The vagina is home to a variety of "good bugs" that keep the "bad bugs" in check. If you start killing microorgansisms indiscriminately, you can lose the probiotic bacteria that keep other infections in check. On top of that, products that you apply directly to the skin of the vagina often contain propylene glycol or alcohol, which can drying, which is followed by itching, which is followed by scratching, which is followed by more itching and more scratching and eventually raw skin. 

Here's how you break the cycle of vaginal itching, burning, and rawness:

1. Wash with water. It's especially important to avoid any kind of soap with big bubbles, especially bubble bath. They are very irritating. Pat dry with a clean towel. Never rub irritated skin to dry it.

2. If you have a bidet, use it after urination. Urine makes skin irritation worse.

3. Wear loose cotton underwear, loose cotton-lined panty hose, or no underwear at all (at times and places when wardrobe malfunctions aren't a problem). Scratchy underwear will make itching, rawness, and pain worse. Tight clothing will also make itching and burning worse.

4. Banish deodorants, talcum powder, fragrances, and dyes from your personal hygiene. Every woman isn't allergic to the chemicals in these products. Some women are very allergic to the chemicals in these products. If you have a reaction to Aspirin, you are likely to have a reaction to colors and fragrances.

5. If it itches, don't scratch it. Ice it. Ice packs and other creative applications of household items (a package of frozen peas, for instance, more specifically an unopened package of frozen peas) can relieve the itch so you can let the skin heal.

6. Avoid latex condoms for sex. That doesn't mean that you should use no protection of any kind, but if you are using condoms, they should be sheep skin. If you are allergic to bananas, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, cantaloupes, or any kind of tropical fruit that has a "sap," then you are probably also allergic to latex condoms.

7. Avoid IUDs and spermicidal foams, too. They also make vaginal itching worse.

8. If you have oozing and cracking, you may have eczema. Just as some women get "hand eczema," other women get "vaginal eczema" even without symptoms elsewhere on the body. There's usually a dietary trigger for eczema outbreaks. In babies and girls it may be cow's milk, but a different kind of milk may not cause a problem. If you usually consume cow's milk, goat's milk may be OK, and vice versa. In the United States, girls are often sensitive to soy or peanuts (although this is rare in other parts of the world). Women who have intimate eczema may have problems with wheat, fish, shell fish, peanuts, or tree nuts. This wheat problem is an allergy, not celiac disease, so the sensitivity isn't a problem that has to be addressed with absolutely total elimination of wheat from the diet, although the more you can avoid it, the better.

9. Dry skin that seems to get scaly and then peels and itches may be psoriasis. What you can't do for psoriasis of the vagina is to treat it with the products that you would use elsewhere on your body. You really need to discuss this problem with a doctor to get the right treatment.

10. Pregnancy sometimes aggravates eczema and psoriasis of the vagina. It certainly places pressure on the skin. All the home remedies for vaginal and vulvar itching, burning, and rawness still work, but become even more important.

11. If your vaginal itching, burning and rawness is accompanied by rash, you are probably dealing with dermatitis. If your vaginal itching, burning and rawness is accompanied by red clustered small bumps (cluster about 1-3 cm or 1-2 inches) in diameter, you might have genital herpes HSV1 or HSV2). In this case, you should   get a blood test to confirm that and antivirals might help treat the infection and reduce the possibility from occurring. 

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