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Vaginal itching

  • 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)