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Vaginal Itching

What is vaginal itching?

Vaginal itching is an abnormal, uncomfortable itching sensation in and around the vagina.

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Causes of vaginal itching that cannot be passed sexually:

  • Yeast infection
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Allergic reaction to soaps or detergents
  • Friction from tampons or feminine pads
  • Medications or lubricants
  • Lotions or feminine hygiene products
  • Friction from clothing

Yeast infections are accompanied by a chunky white discharge (with a cottage cheese-like appearance). Both yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV) can be treated with medication. Vaginal itching can also signify an STD and is often the first noticeable a symptom of an infection. Getting tested for STDs can quickly identify the cause of vaginal itching due to an STD.

Which STDs cause vaginal itching?

Trichomoniasis, known as trich, is most commonly associated with vaginal itching. The protozoan parasite that causes trich also causes the inflammation that contributes to the itching sensation. Genital herpes (usually caused by HSV-2) can also cause itching if an outbreak is present. During an outbreak of genital herpes, clusters of small, painful lesions appear before rupturing and oozing clear fluid. The bumps clear up on their own, but can cause itching and irritation, especially during the process of healing.

Getting tested for STDs is the only way to be completely sure of the cause of vaginal itching. Sexually active women should get tested regularly because many STDs do not cause symptoms and, therefore, go untreated.

  1. "Is it normal to have a slight vaginal itch? Even if I don’t have abnormal discharge, and it doesn’t smell?" Center for Young Women's Health. https://youngwomenshealth.org/2018/07/31/is-it-normal-to-have-a-slight-vaginal-itch/
  2. "Vaginal yeast infections." Office on Women's Health. U.S Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections
  3. "Vaginal Yest Infection: A Fact Sheet from the Office on Women's Health." Office on Women's Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/files/documents/fact-sheet-vaginal-yeast-infections.pdf
  4. "Vulvitis." Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15175-vulvitis
  5. "Disorders of the Vulva: Common Causes of Vulvar Pain, Burning, and Itching." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Disorders-of-the-Vulva-Common-Causes-of-Vulvar-Pain-Burning-and-Itching
  6. "Vaginal itching and discharge - adult and adolescent." Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003158.htm

Medically Reviewed by on Jun 18, 2019

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