Irritation or allergy Vaginal itching is an uncomfortable, yet common occurrence. There are a number of causes, and most require medical treatment. This article provides an overview of common causes of vaginal itching, along with links to more detailed articles. Yeast infections Most women will experience a vaginal yeast infection during their lifetime.
Though these aren't usually serious, yeast infection symptoms can be bothersome. Normally, a balance of healthful bacteria and yeast live in the vagina. The bacteria keep yeast in check, preventing overgrowth.
When the vagina's bacteria do not properly control the yeast balance, yeast overgrowth can occur. Yeast infections can cause bothersome itching and burning. Symptoms of yeast overgrowth can include: A weakened immune system or uncontrolled diabetes may increase the risk. Learn more about yeast infections here. Bacterial vaginosis BV This common bacterial infection, also known as BV, often affects women of childbearing age.
BV occurs when the normal, healthful bacteria in the vagina become unbalanced. Many women who get BV have no symptoms. However, it can cause a watery vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, as well as burning and itching around the vaginal area.
The cause of BV isn't always known. But, in many cases, BV is caused by one of the following: However, it can be potentially dangerous to a pregnant woman and her fetus. A pregnant woman should discuss any vaginal itching, burning, or discharge with her doctor and get tested for BV when needed.
A BV test involves taking a sample of fluid from the vagina and sending it to a lab for analysis. If the test is positive, a pregnant woman will likely undergo treatment with antibiotics.
Because BV is a result of an imbalance of bacteria, replacing the body's "friendly" bacteria may be helpful in some women. A review found that certain probiotics, when taken by mouth, might help prevent or treat BV. Various probiotics are available to buy online. Compare products, and the specific probiotics they contain, before making a purchase. People can reduce the risk of getting an STD by: Different types of condoms are available to buy online. It's important to have STDs treated, as some may cause long-term problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease , infertility , and pregnancy complications.
A woman can also pass certain STDs to her baby during childbirth. For women, symptoms of chlamydia may include: It often has no symptoms, so people who are sexually active should be tested regularly for chlamydia. If the test is positive, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics for both partners to clear the infection. Both partners will need to avoid all sexual contact until treatment is complete and the infection is gone and should use condoms to prevent future infection.
Genital herpes The herpes simplex virus, also known as HSV, causes genital herpes. Genital herpes can cause vaginal itching and burning, followed by the appearance of blisters around the genital area. These blisters break and leave behind sores that can take many weeks to heal. When herpes symptoms appear, this is known as an outbreak. In this case, a person with genital herpes should avoid all sexual contact to avoid spreading the herpes to others..
If a woman has an outbreak during childbirth, she can pass it to her baby. This can cause dangerous, even fatal, complications for the baby. There is no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral medications can reduce outbreaks. In many cases, pregnant women who have genital herpes will be advised to undergo a cesarean delivery instead of a vaginal birth. This may help protect the baby from contracting the herpes infection. Genital warts Not to be confused with herpes, genital warts usually appear as flesh-colored or gray bumps on the genital area.
They are caused by HPV. Vaginal itching or burning may occur, but some people have no symptoms. Genital warts can usually be cured with surgical removal, freezing, topical medications, or other options. Treatment is needed to reduce the risk of passing genital warts to others and to prevent discomfort. Pubic lice crabs Pubic lice pass from person to person through close contact, usually during sexual activity.
They can cause intense itching of the vaginal and pubic area. Pubic lice may also cause red or blue spots on the skin, and the lice, or their eggs, may be visible. The eggs may look like yellowish-white ovals, while adult lice are gray-brown with 6 legs.
Pubic lice can generally be treated with nonprescription lice treatments. However, if these treatments don't work, a person should see their doctor. Trichomoniasis Trichomoniasis, or "trich," affects nearly 3. Like many STDs, it may cause vaginal itching or burning, or it may cause no symptoms.
Trichomoniasis is curable with antibiotics and should be treated. Treatment is also crucial for pregnant women, because trich during pregnancy can cause a low birthweight baby, preterm birth, or an infection in the unborn baby. Irritation or allergy In some cases, minor vaginal itching may result from using scented laundry detergent or feminine products such as pads, tampons, or feminine deodorants. The itching will usually go away after a woman stops using these products.
Occasionally, minor itching can be caused by scented feminine products like pads and tampons. To avoid this issue, women may choose to use products labeled "fragrance free" or "unscented. Some women may have an allergic reaction to latex condoms, which may result in vaginal itching or irritation.
People who suspect they might be allergic to latex condoms should ask their doctor about alternatives. Latex-free condoms are available to buy over-the-counter and online. Although vaginal itching can be embarrassing or bothersome, most cases of it can be treated by consulting a doctor. To help avoid possible long-term health problems, it's best to push aside any embarrassment and determine the cause of the itching, so proper treatment can be provided.
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