Vaginal discomfort such as itching sensations are common to many females. This can be caused due to a number of underlying reasons. Many women experiencing itchy vagina symptoms will automatically assume that it is caused by thrush or other yeast infections. However, vaginal itching can be caused from a number of other factors as well. This condition is referred to as vaginitis and is associated with infections or inflammation in the vagina or vaginal region. Some causes of vaginal itching can be bacterial infection, yeast infection or virus. It can also be due to chemical interactions with elements such as creams, sprays, contraceptives or clothing that comes into contact with the vaginal area. In some cases, vaginal itching can be a result of infections passing in from sexual partners. Medical treatment may have to be considered if certain over-the-counter medications do not reduce the symptoms of itchy vag.
Various Causes of Vaginal Itching
The symptoms of vaginal itching can be mild or severe. Apart from chemical irritants such as detergents, creams and sprays, vaginal itching can also be due to allergies and infections. A more dangerous cause for vaginal itching is sexually transmitted diseases. These include bacterial vaginitis, genital herpes, Chlamydia, Syphilis, vaginal pinworm infections and vaginal yeast infections etc. Some women may experience vaginal itching due to rough sexual intercourse, douching, or leaving tampons in for too long. Antibiotics too can lead to bacterial infections as antibiotics cause an imbalance of good bacteria growing in the skin and will prompt bad bacteria to proliferate, causing itchy symptoms. Other factors that contribute to vaginal discomforts include endometriosis, diabetes, weak immune system, etc. Menopausal women experience vaginal itching due to fluctuating hormone levels. Increased stress is another factor that contributes to vaginal infections, resulting in discomfort of this nature. Pregnant women are quite susceptible to developing vaginal infections as hormone levels are affected during this time. Although some reasons for vaginal itching are not cause for alarm, it is not to be ignored as the condition can worsen and lead to an unpleasant and aggravated condition. It is, therefore, best to seek the advice of a gynecologist if you are suffering with prolonged symptoms of itchy vag.
Symptoms of Vaginitis
Vaginitis caused by infections can bring about a number of other symptoms. Of these symptoms, the most common are burning sensation, abnormal pain, and vaginal discharge. The itching can be anywhere in the vagina or in the outside area. As a result of the itching, many women will feel the need to scratch the affected area. This can cause lacerations which will in turn cause extreme pain when urinating, and also lead to further inflammation and secondary infection. Apart from these common symptoms, itchy vagina symptoms include dryness, unpleasant odor, pain and discomfort due to inflamed sores etc. Not all women with vaginal itching will experience all of these symptoms. Some may experience discomfort only during intercourse or during urination. Some may not experience any of the symptoms other than an itchy feeling. The type of odor and the appearance of discharge also differ according to the type of infection. Therefore, frequent checkups are advised to diagnose and treat vaginal itching according to its root cause.
Preventing and Treating Vaginal Itching
The prevention and treatment of itchy labia depends on the underlying cause of the itch. For example, vaginal itching caused by a sexually transmitted disease needs to be treated with antibiotics. However, there are home remedies that will successfully prevent or treat mild cases of vaginal itching. Nonetheless, it is recommended to seek medical attention before considering any treatment method. This will help rule out STDs or STIs. Medical advice is essential for pregnant women with vaginal itching, as this can be due to an infection that can lead to complications and cause miscarriage.
Preventative measures to avoid itchy labia symptoms include maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, keeping the vaginal area dry, and using a mild antiseptic vaginal cleanser. Avoid the use of vaginal douches, soaps and other strong detergents that can cause dryness and irritation in these sensitive areas. Use of cotton underwear and avoiding wearing underwear during sleep is recommended. Practicing safe sex with the use of a condom and restricting sexual partners to one is another important preventative measure for vaginal infections.
Diagnosing and Treating Vaginitis
When diagnosing vaginitis, a gynecologist will consider a woman’s history of vaginal infections as well as the exposure levels to sexually transmitted diseases. A physical or pelvic examination will be performed, and a sample of vaginal discharge will be tested to establish the underlying cause of the vaginal infection. Medications can be prescribed depending on the results of the examination. Treatment for fungal infections, viral infections and bacterial infections differ vastly. Upon proper diagnosis, antifungal creams, antibacterial creams, vaginal suppositories and oral medications will be prescribed depending on the cause and severity of the symptoms. Oral medication may be delayed as vaginal creams are the preferred first line treatment method for this condition. Commonly used topical creams include Lidocaine, Flagyl, Diflucan, Candid, Dactarin and Azithromycine, etc. In addition, home remedies such as vinegar douches, baking soda baths, cold compresses and eating yoghurts containing acidophilus culture can help to relieve itchy vagina symptoms.
Vaginal itching is an uncomfortable and, often, embarrassing problem. However, with proper medication and treatment it can be relieved. Good hygiene and preventative actions are the best means of avoiding the recurrence of vaginal infections.