Women's Health Friday June 12, 2015

4 Possible Reasons For An Itchy Vagina

Many of us have that irrational fear when something goes wrong downstairs. Am I pregnant? Do I have an STI? Do I have ALL THE STIs? I'm pregnant WITH all the STIs! Oh jeez, I'm going to die…

See how things can escalate.

Of course, this is coming from a mind slightly on the hypochondriac side, but it is never wise to let an itchy vag persist, especially when it could be caused by any one of these conditions.

Brace yourselves – here are just a few of the gazillion reasons why your vagina is being a pest, the accompanying symptoms and what you need to do about it.

Good ol' fashioned thrush

Or a yeast infection in general is the most common cause for vaginal itching – not STIs. The typical symptoms you may experience are:

  • Itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Possible pain during sex
  • Soreness
  • Redness or a rash
  • Vaginal discharge

A whole host of factors could contribute to your thrush woes, the most common being sex, however pregnancy, douching (cleaning your area faaaar too much), sugary foods or sugar based lubes, stress and antibiotics could all be a factor.

How to fix it:

To ease the symptoms, try:

  • Thrush tablets and cream
  • Loose clothing and comfortable underwear
  • Keep your vagina clean but avoid over-washing or douching

You're not 'Wet Wet Wet' enough

'Love is all around me and so the feeling grows'; Marti Pellow and co have never been so poignant. On closer inspection, 'Love Is All Around' might actually be directly connected to itchy vaginas… it was a warning from the crooners all along!

Love IS all around you when you're getting down with the lovemaking, but if you aren't well lubricated, then a (nasty) feeling will certainly grow. If your symptoms include pain deeper inside you, possibly even bleeding after sex, then chances are you weren't wet enough or it was particularly rough. The effect is not only discomfort and feeling itchy all the time ("It's everywhere i go"), but any cuts and scraps your vagina gets makes it easier for STIs to worm their way into your system.

How to fix it:

  • Use lube (water or silicone-based if using condoms)
  • Take your time
  • Make sure your partner knows to be patient
  • Talk to your doctor if matters don't improve

Allergic reaction

The minute you, as a consenting adult, raise your itchy problem with a doctor you will be given a range of STI tests – maybe even a pregnancy test for good measure, regular periods be damned – because it MUST be an STI.

We're under the impression STIs are everywhere, ruining your sex life, gnawing away at your inners, producing unthinkable fluids – you could be under the impression they're as everyday as the common cold. However, your woes could be down to a simple allergic reaction to latex or soap.

Not only that, but the thrush creams you're probably using to subdue the scratching in a public place could be exacerbating your condition. Depending on your reaction, your GP can offer you cream and washes in varying strengths to treat the symptoms and cure the reaction once and for all.

How to fix it:

  • Keep a close eye on factors that could be causing the reaction
  • Avoid using creams and lotions (even if they're specifically made for genitalia) until the problem has been confirmed
  • Talk to your doctor


Ok, so sometimes this really is the cause. Unprotected sex leads to STIs; you know this. However, many of us still take the risk.

Whilst you are more likely to have a couple of additional symptoms if you experience any at all, an itchy vagina could signal one or more of these STIs:

  • Genital herpes
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Hepatitis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea

How to fix it:

The only way to cure a bacterial STI or manage a viral STI is to obtain a prescription treatment from a doctor or sexual health/GUM clinic. You can also get an STI test online, and order treatment once you have a confirmed diagnosis.

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