Vaginal itching - Overview
Pruritus vulvae; Itching - vaginal area; Vulvar itching
Definition of Vaginal itching:
Vaginal itching is a tingling or uneasy irritation of the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area (vulva). The itching may cause a desire to scratch the affected area.
Common causes of vaginal itching include:
- Chemical irritants -- such as detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, ointments, creams, douches, and contraceptive foams or jellies.
- Menopause -- the drop in estrogen causes thinning of the vaginal wall and less lubrication.
- Stress -- may increase vaginal itching and make you more susceptible to infections.
- Vaginal yeast infection -- often includes a discharge that is white and curd-like. Vaginal yeast infections can be brought on by antibiotics, birth control pills, pregnancy, menstruation, condom use, sexual intercourse, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.
- Vaginitis -- inflammation, itching, discharge, and odor caused by other infections (including sexually transmitted diseases). Vaginitis in girls before puberty is common. If a young girl has a sexually transmitted vaginal infection, however, sexual abuse must be considered and addressed.
Other possible, but less common, causes of vaginal or vulvar itching include:
- Certain skin conditions affecting the vulvar skin, some of which may be precancerous
- Pinworms (a parasitic infection mainly affecting children)
- Reviewed last on: 10/18/2009
- Daniel N. Sacks MD, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology in Private Practice, West Palm Beach , FL. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Clark LR, Atendido M. Group B streptococcal vaginitis in postpubertal adolescent girls. J Adolesc Health. 2005;36(5):437-440.
Edwards L. The diagnosis and treatment of infectious vaginitis. Dermatol Ther. 2004;17(1):102-110.
Reid G, Bruce AW. Urogenital infections in women: can probiotics help? Postgrad Med J. 2003;79:428-432.
Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2007.
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