Monday, September 22, 2014

Table of Contents

Definition

Vaginal itching is a tingling or uneasy irritation of the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area (vulva). The itching may cause a desire to scratch the affected area.


Alternative Names

Pruritus vulvae; Itching - vaginal area; Vulvar itching


Common Causes

Common causes of vaginal itching include:

  • Chemical irritants -- such as detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, ointments, creams, douches, and contraceptive foams or jellies.
  • Menopause -- the drop in estrogen causes thinning of the vaginal wall and less lubrication.
  • Stress -- may increase vaginal itching and make you more susceptible to infections.
  • Vaginal yeast infection -- often includes a discharge that is white and curd-like. Vaginal yeast infections can be brought on by antibiotics, birth control pills, pregnancy, menstruation, condom use, sexual intercourse, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.
  • Vaginitis -- inflammation, itching, discharge, and odor caused by other infections (including sexually transmitted diseases). Vaginitis in girls before puberty is common. If a young girl has a sexually transmitted vaginal infection, however, sexual abuse must be considered and addressed.

Other possible, but less common, causes of vaginal or vulvar itching include:

  • Certain skin conditions affecting the vulvar skin, some of which may be precancerous
  • Pinworms (a parasitic infection mainly affecting children)


Review Date: 10/18/2009
Reviewed By: Daniel N. Sacks MD, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology in Private Practice, West Palm Beach , FL. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)