The vast majority of women have experienced itching around their vulva, which is the outer area surrounding your vagina, at some point in their lives. The vulva is a sensitive area, so ongoing itching can be irritating and uncomfortable.
Because vulvar itching can be a symptom of a number of conditions, ranging from minor to more serious, it’s always important to get it looked at by a doctor. Our team of OB/GYN doctors at The Association for Women’s Health Care, Ltd., explains some of the most common conditions that can cause vulvar itching.
About 75% of women have a yeast infection at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common causes of vulvar itching. Yeast infections occur when candida yeast overgrows in your vulva or vagina. Along with severe itching, yeast infection symptoms include a thick, white discharge and a burning sensation.
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection caused by problems with bacterial growth. If you have this common condition, you might also experience vulvar inflammation and discharge.
Vaginal atrophy is a frequent side effect of menopause that causes your vaginal walls to become dryer and thinner. This can cause your vulva to feel irritated and itchy.
Irritation from chemicals
Some chemicals can cause you to experience allergic reactions or irritations that cause vulvar itching. Examples of these kinds of irritants include soaps, creams and douches, laundry detergent and fabric softener, and contraceptive spermicide.
Vulvitis is the irritation and inflammation of the vulva. It can occur as a result of low estrogen, allergic reactions, and wearing tight, non-breathable clothing. It’s most common in post-menopausal women and pre-pubescent girls.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Vulvar itching can sometimes be a symptom of certain STDs. These include chlamydia, genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis.
Lichen sclerosus is a rare condition that most often occurs in post-menopausal women. It causes white patches, lesions, and thinning skin in the vulvar area.
Occasionally, vulvar itching can be a symptom of vulvar cancer or precancerous cells. Other indicators of possible vulvar cancer can include a lump, sores, or inflammation of your vulva.
Treatment for vulvar itching
The best treatment for your vulvar itching depends on the underlying cause. For this reason, it’s important to visit our doctors at The Association for Women’s Health Care, Ltd., before trying over-the-counter remedies that might cause further irritation to your vulva or vagina.
At your appointment, our doctors examine you and, if needed, perform further testing to determine the cause of your vulvar itching. Treatments for vulvar itching can include steroid creams, hormones in pill or cream form, MonaLisa Touch® laser treatment, and antibiotics.
If you’ve been experiencing vulvar itching or other related symptoms, make an appointment with our team, led by Anita Gondy, MD, Saovaros Michaels, MD, and Henry Luh, DO, in Las Vegas, Nevada, to solve the problem once and for all. Schedule your consultation at The Association for Women’s Health Care, Ltd., online or by phone.