Most women are bothered at one time or another by vaginitis — the itching, burning, pain, and discharge that comes with a vaginal yeast infection. Yeast infections can be caused by a number of organisms, many of which inhabit the healthy vagina. One of the most common causes of vaginitis is the fungus Candida albicans. The annoying symptoms can include itching, discharge that has a “baked bread” odor, and reddening of the labia and, in some cases, the upper thigh.
What is Vaginal Itch?
Vaginal itching is a bothersome problem where the external skin of the vagina, labia and vulva becomes tingly and irritated and often leads to the desire to scratch. This is a distressing problem for many women, especially if it becomes a chronic condition, and it can cause much discomfort.
What Causes Vaginal Itch?
Many women immediately attribute vaginal itching to yet another bout of vaginal thrush and immediately seek over-the-counter thrush creams for relief. However, there are a number of causes for external vaginal itching, and while yeast infections are a common cause, there are many others that should be considered.
Help for Vaginal Itch
There are a number of natural herbal and homeopathic ingredients which can have a very soothing affect, while also helping to address some of the possible causes of vaginal itching. Kreosotum is an example of one such ingredient as it has been shown to reduce and stop itchiness, while also helping to treat vaginal thrush, one of the most common causes of vaginal itching.
Some effective natural cure for vaginal itching are:
- Apple Cider Vinegar: It is suggested that natural apple cider vinegar can inhibit the growth of yeast by killing them. This can help in giving relief from vaginal itching. You can dilute 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water. You may apply this mixture as a topical wash in the vagina and on the vulva.
- Garlic: Experts suggest that the potent antifungal property of garlic can help in destroying yeast, thereby treating vaginal itching. For this, you may crush a whole garlic clove and mix some water into it. Drink the mixture several times a day for few days till your symptom is gone.
- Yogurt: The acidophilus and bifidus bacteria contained in yogurt can help in killing yeast. This remedie may help in treating vaginal itching. Using a plastic tampoon applicator or your finger you may insert some plain yogurt into your vagina.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is considered effective in arresting the growth of yeast infection. This can help in treating vaginal itching. You can smear the vaginal area with some buttermilk or you can drink 2 glasses of buttermilk everyday.
- Apple Cider Vinegar with Yogurt: You can prepare a douche by adding ¼ cup of yogurt and 4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in one liter of warm water. You may lie on a towel on your back and douche gently.
- Merc sol: which is especially useful when vaginal itching is accompanied by offensive discharges and is very useful at soothing itching and burning of the vaginal area.
- Lycopodium is also an excellent ingredient for soothing itching, redness and irritation, while also addressing thrush, especially when it is caused by stress.
- Calc carb helps to treat itchy and irritable skin and is excellent at soothing a bout of vaginitis.
- Sepia is also very beneficial at soothing itchiness, reducing discharge and inflammation, while easing the irritability often associated with vaginal infections.
Tips for Vaginal Itching
- Avoid bubble baths and scented sanitary towels
- Do not use spermicidal gels
- Do not douche and never use soap to wash your vagina. This causes irritation and kills healthy bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to grow. Rather, wash with warm water.
- Let your vagina breathe by wearing only cotton underwear and if possible do not sleep with underwear at all until the itching has subsided.
- Avoid sex until any suspected infection has cleared. In addition, always use a condom to prevent STD infections.
- Use a natural lubricant if intercourse is painful or if you suffer from vaginal dryness.
Young girls should learn to practice good feminine hygiene. This means washing hands before and after going to the toilet and always wiping from front to back to avoid bacteria from the rectum coming in contact with the vaginal area.
Visit your doctor if itching persists to determine the underlying cause as some causes of vaginal itching can be serious. If left untreated certain viruses and bacteria may cause fertility complications.
If a sexually transmitted disease is the cause, then make sure your partner is also treated. Failure to treat both with mean the infection will come back.
Common causes of vaginal itching include:
Stress can increase the likelihood of developing an infection and it can make feminine itch worse or cause recurring vaginal itching.
Yeast infections or thrush, most commonly caused by the fungal organism Candida albicans. A yeast infection is generally accompanied by white curd-like discharge and can be brought on by antibiotics, birth control pills, pregnancy, menstruation, condom use, sexual intercourse, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.
Menopause causes a drop in estrogen, which often results in a thinning of the vaginal wall and less lubrication which can lead to vaginal itching.
Dry Skin is a common problem. Skin needs moisture in order to stay supple, and retaining moisture becomes difficult the older you get.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease and is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Different strains of Chlamydia cause genital, eye, lymph node, and respiratory infections
Vaginitis is an inflammation or infection of the vagina and/or vulva and is often accompanied by discharge and vaginal odor. Vaginitis can be caused by a variety of other infections including bacteria, viruses and sexually transmitted diseases.
Chemical irritants, such as washing detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, scented sanitary towels, ointments, creams, douches, and contraceptive foams or gels.
Vaginal Itch in Children and Babies
Vaginal itching in babies is oftentimes a symptom of yeast diaper rash. Leaving a child in their diaper for extended periods of time, allows Candida to grow due to the warm moist environment. Rarely does the rash go beyond the edges of the diaper; however, it can make the vagina itch, especially in the folds of skin where fungus can easily inhabit.
Alternatively, vaginal itch may be caused by a reaction to soaps, dyes, or perfumes. When bathing your child, make sure you use chemical free soaps and wash their clothes in chemical free detergent.
For older children who aren’t quite aware on how to clean their bodies properly, vaginal itching may be a sign of poor wiping or toilet paper stuck in the folds of the skin of the vagina. Lastly, adolescent girls who are just starting to reach puberty may be suffering from a yeast infection; at this point it is imperative for young girls to have a clear understanding of proper hygiene.