Got an Itchy vag???
Your vagina didn’t exactly come with an owner’s manual, but after a couple of years of getting your period, seeing a gynecologist, having sex, and birthing kids, you pretty much know how to take care of it.
Yet, if an unexpected itch arises out of the blue, many of us are at a loss as to what to do — and struggle to identify what has caused the sudden irritation! If you have vaginal itching and irritation rest assured you are not alone, these symptoms happen to women of all ages.
When surveyed, one woman (aged 45-54) said:
“I get itchy particularly just before my period. I hate getting the urge to itch in public.”
Another woman (aged 35-44) said: “I get quite frustrated when I am itchy because it comes on at the most inappropriate times and it is very hard to discreetly relieve the itch!”
Many things can cause itching and irritation of the vagina — hormonal changes, chemical sensitivity, and infections are all common culprits. However, many women immediately attribute the itching to a bout of vaginal thrush and immediately seek over-the-counter thrush creams for relief.
Did you know there are more than 60 causes for external vaginal itching? And while yeast infections are a common cause, there are many others that should be considered as well.
Here are the most prominent reasons for women in Australia..
1. You Have a Yeast Infection (Thrush)
The feisty warning signs of an oncoming yeast infection can strike at any time, but the major symptoms are irritation, burning and discharge. A vaginal yeast infection is caused when there is an excessive build-up of microscopic fungi that takes place in a woman’s nether regions. Yeast can grow out of check when a person is stressed, has recently used antibiotics or has a weakened immune system.
The good thing is that thrush is easily treated – just zip down to your local pharmacy. There are loads of great options. Here are a few that can be purchased online (if you don’t want to head into the chemist!):
- Canesten Clotrimazole Thrush Treatment – 6 Day Cream
- Canesoral Oral Capsule – One tablet – once. Very convenient!
2. You have perspiration in Your Thatch
Did you know you have more sweat glands in your intimate area than under your arms? A sweaty genital creates an ideal environment for microbes to thrive. The dampness encourages the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina leading to bacterial vaginosis and vaginal yeast infection, and some other nasty infections. Excessive sweat in the vaginal region cannot be totally eliminated but the good news is that you can control and manage it by using creams to relieve the itch, discomfort and burning promptly.
3. Your Undergarments are Irritating
Vaginal dryness for some women is unavoidable, but the irritation and itching it causes can be made even worse by underwear made with synthetic fabrics or of a certain cut. To make sure that any treatment for vaginal dryness is effective and to avoid irritating your genital area further, search for comfort-fitting styles or pure cotton.
4. You are Using Perfumed Soaps or Washes
It’s a good idea to avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina, and cause irritation. Use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently every day. The vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions (discharge), so you only have to worry about the outside. Brands like Cetaphil are a good choice.
5. Use of Antibiotics
Yeast infections often follow a dose of antibiotics, since in addition to killing the bacteria that’s making you sick, the medicine also kills bacteria that keeps your body, and your vagina healthy. The good news is that many of the same practices that help prevent yeast infections under normal circumstances can also protect you when you’re taking antibiotics.
6. Stress Induced Vag Itch
When you are stressed or anxious, your nervous system is on alert, and small sensations can become amplified into unpleasant itching or even pain. This is particularly true if you become stressed from vaginal itching, and the idea that it might be something that requires you to see a doctor. Be mindful of what’s going on in your head before jumping to conclusions.
7. Tight Clothing
Tight, binding clothes made from synthetic fabrics can inhibit airflow, increase perspiration and trap heat and moisture. These variables create a climate which enhances growth of the microorganisms, which can cause external vaginal itching. Choose things that keep you cool on hot days, or spend some time at home running commando to calm it down.
If you become concerned about any symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention – we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice – https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/