What causes itching in the vagina and also discharge around the clitoris and in the vagina...
Glands in the cervix and the walls of the vagina normally produce a clear mucus. This is very common among women of childbearing age.
- These secretions may turn white or yellow when exposed to the air.
- The amount of mucus produced varies during the menstrual cycle as hormone levels in the body change.
The following factors can increase the amount of normal vaginal discharge:
- Feeling stressed
- Ovulation (the production and release of an egg from your ovary in the middle of your menstrual cycle)
- Sexual excitement
Different types of infections may cause itching or a discharge in the vagina. These include:
- Infections spread during sexual contact. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea (GC), and trichomoniasis.
- Vaginal yeast infection, caused by a fungus.
- Normal bacteria that live in the vagina that overgrow, causing a gray discharge and fishy odor. This is called bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is not often spread through sexual contact.
Other causes of vaginal discharge and itching may be:
- Menopause and low estrogen levels, which may lead to vaginal dryness and other symptoms.
- Forgotten tampon or foreign body, which may cause a foul odor.
- Chemicals found in detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, ointments, creams, douches, and contraceptive foams or jellies or creams, which may irritate the vagina or the skin around the vagina
Less common causes include:
- Cancer of the cervix or vagina
- Skin conditions, such as desquamative vaginitis and lichen planus
Keep your genital area clean and dry when you have vaginitis.
- Avoid soap and just rinse with water to clean yourself.
- Soak in a warm, not hot, bath may help your symptoms. Dry thoroughly afterward.
Avoid douching. Many women feel cleaner when they douche, but it may actually worsen symptoms because it removes healthy bacteria that line the vagina. These bacteria help protect against infection.
Other tips are:
- Avoid using hygiene sprays, fragrances, or powders in the genital area.
- Use pads and not tampons while you have an infection.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels in good control.
Allow more air to reach your genital area. You can do this by:
- Wearing loose-fitting clothes and not wearing panty hose
- Wearing cotton underwear (rather than synthetic), or underwear that has a cotton lining in the crotch. Cotton increases air flow and decreases moisture buildup.
- Not wearing underwear at night when you sleep.
Girls and women should also:
- Know how to properly clean their genital area while bathing or showering.
- Wipe properly after using the toilet -- always from front to back.
- Wash thoroughly before and after using the bathroom.
Always practice safe sex, and use condoms to avoid catching or spreading infections.