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Itchy Vaginal Area, Vulva, Swollen Vag Lips No Discharge, Worse at Night, Causes, Treatment & Home Remedies

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Various conditions may lead to an itchy vagina, vulva or vaginal lips (labia minora or majora). Depending on the cause, the itchiness may have no discharge or might become worse at night. It is common to have an itchy vagina before, during or after period. Similarly, you may experience vaginal itching during pregnancy or after birth. This post presents facts, causes, signs, and symptoms of itchy vaginal area. Also, it explores how to get rid of an itchy vagina with treatments and home remedies.

Overview

It is not uncommon to have an itchy vagina or vulva (outer vaginal area).  Most women experience a slight vulvar itch now and again due to irritants, normal discharges, perspiration, stress or hormonal imbalance.

These usually resolve on their own but you can relieve the itching with an itching cream for private parts such as Vagisil cream (Vagisil anti-itch cream).

However, if the itching is severe and persistent it might an indication of a health problem and is called pruritus vulvae. Common causes include yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis or some skin diseases.  Very rarely, it might be an indication of vulvar cancer.

Itching vagina can cause distress and disrupt your day-to-day life activities. It can cause embarrassment and lead to social withdrawal.

Worse still, it can really disturb your sleep, considering that it tends it worsen at night. However, in most cases, you can relieve the itching can easily managing or treating the underlying causes.

Itchy Vagina Symptoms

An itchy vagina is characterized by a sensation that causes an urge to scratch. This occurs on the vulva (opening of the vagina), especially on the vaginal lips (labia majora or labia minora). However, it can occur in the general vaginal area.

Besides, virginal itching is often accompanied by other signs and symptoms, depending on the specific condition causing it. Common ones include:

Itchy vagina, vulva, vaginal lips (labia minora majora)
An itchy vagina can cause disruption and embarrassment
  • irritation
  • Burning sensation
  • Rashes
  • Dryness
  • bleeding
  • Unusual odor
  • Growths, bumps or blisters
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain, especially while urinating

Causes of Vaginal Itching

The cause of itchy vagina range from exposure to irritants, vaginal infections, sexually transmitted diseases to various skin conditions. In addition, hormonal changes, normal discharges, period or perspiration may disrupt your bacterial balance resulting in odor, itching, and irritation around the vaginal area.

1. Exposure to Irritants

You may develop vaginal itches if you expose your vagina to substances that irritate it. Usually, the irritants trigger allergic reactions that cause an itchy rash on the vaginal area.

Typically, different irritants will affect different women in different ways.  Some of the common substances that may find their way to your private parts and cause irritation include:

  • Toilet soap
  • Bubble baths
  • Detergents
  • Douches
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Deodorants and antiperspirants (roll-ons or sprays)
  • Topical contraceptives
  • Topical medications (creams and ointments)
  • Fabric softeners
  • Perfumed toilet paper

Normally, the inching will stop after removing the irritant, although this might take a few days.

2. Stress

Both physical and emotional stress may trigger production of blood protein or more body oils or around the vagina. Blood proteins often produce allergic reaction whereas excessive oils may irritate the skin or cause infections.

Severe stress can lead to an itchy vagina
Severe stress can lead to an itchy vagina

Furthermore, stress may weaken your immune system, making your skin prone to infections. The irritation, allergic reactions or infections resulting from stress may cause vaginal itching.

3. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal variations may cause various changes on your vagina, vulva or vaginal lips, leading to vaginal itching. Hormonal changes may occur due to stress, sexual intercourse experience, during periods or pregnancy.

For instance, a drop in estrogen levels in the vaginal tissues may cause the vaginal wall to dry out. The resulting dryness and irritation may cause your vagina to itch.

Similarly, hormonal imbalance may cause the body to produce blood proteins or excessive body oils around the vagina. These may trigger infections or allergic reactions that may lead to vaginal itching.

4. Menopause

Women who are in perimenopause or in the menopause stage experience a reduction of estrogen levels. This makes the vaginal area tissue to degenerate (undergo atrophy).

The wasting away of the vaginal mucous membrane, which secretes mucus around the vagina, may lead to excessive dryness. In turn, the vaginal dryness can cause vaginal irritation and itching.

This condition may be managed using various itching cream for private parts such as estrogen cream. Doctors may also use tablets, or a vaginal ring insert to manage vaginal itching due to menopause.

5. Vaginal Infections

Various infections, including skin diseases,  sexually transmitted diseases and other vaginal infections can lead to vaginal or vulvar itching. Notable ones include:

(a) Yeast infection

Yeast infection is probably among the most common causes of vaginal itching. It is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans fungus. Lack of adequate good bacteria that helps check yeast may lead to this infection, even with proper vaginal hygiene.

Yeast infection on vagina usually causes severe itching

Yeast thrives in warm and moist places. Accordingly, tends symptoms tend to worsen at night due to the worm conditions under the blanket and moisture, for those who have night sweat.

Besides itching, typical symptoms include burning (especially while urinating), redness and swelling, white and thick clumpy discharge that resembles cottage cheese. It can be treated using over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription antifungal medications.

(b) Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is equally a common cause of vaginal itching. It is also triggered by an imbalance between natural good and bad bacteria in the vagina.

In addition to itching, it causes much yellow or gray discharge with fishy odor. The symptoms typically may worsen at night or after sexual intercourse.

Doctors treat bacterial vaginosis with topical or/and oral antibiotics. Though some cases may clear up on their own, it is better to treat any bacterial infection promptly.

(c) Chlamydia (STD)

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. Typically, there are no physical symptoms at an early stage, but they occur in later stages.

The symptoms include burning sensation when urinating, yellow or green discharge, lower abdomen pain and painful sexual intercourse. The discharges may cause vaginal itching.

Later chlamydia may cause infertility or pregnancy problems. Doctors treat chlamydia with a one-time or multiple dosage oral antibiotics.

(e) Gonorrhea (STD)

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. It tends to infect warm, moist areas such as the vaginal area, urethra, eyes, throat, and the female reproductive tract.

In women, symptoms include a fever, watery or creamy greenish discharge, frequent urination, heavier periods and spotting, sore throat and painful sexual intercourse. The discharges may cause vaginal itching. Doctors treat gonorrhea with antibiotic injection or oral medication.

(g) Trichomoniasis (STD)

Trichomoniasis is a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.

Symptoms in women include itching, burning, redness or soreness around the vagina. In addition, there can be discomfort while urinating and unusual and increased vaginal discharge, which may be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish with an unusual fishy smell.

Doctors treat trichomoniasis with oral medication, usually metronidazole or tinidazole.

(d) Genital Warts (STD)

Genital warts develop as a result of viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) a caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms include growths or usually painless bumps that are flesh-colored or gray that may be itchy, unusual discharge, burning and rarely bleeding.

Genital warts can be managed by topical prescriptions. In case the growths do not disappear, your doctor may remove them excision, electrocautery, cryosurgery or laser therapy.

 (f) Genital Herpes (STD)

Genital herpes is a viral sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms include painful and itchy red bumps or blisters that might ooze.

Like any other viral infections, there is no cure for genital herpes. However, the symptoms can be managed using antiviral medications.

6. Skin Conditions

There are skin diseases and conditions that cause an itchy vagina but are not infections. Besides, some of the conditions may be risk factors for vaginal infections. They include:

(a) Razor Bumps

Razor bumps usually develop around the vagina or vaginal lips due to ingrown hairs. This especially occurs a few days after hair removal by shaving, waxing, or plucking.

razor bumps may cause an itchy vagina
Razor bumps around vagina are usually very itchy

Vaginal razor bumps are characteristically itchy. Occasionally, they may get infected and cause pain in addition to the itchy sensation. Razor bumps may resolve on their own, especially if not infected. Doctors treat razor bumps with home remedies or topical and oral antibiotics.

(c) Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that may affect various parts of the body, including genitals in both men and women.

Eczema on vagina may cause itchy vagina
Eczema on vagina may cause itchy vagina

Eczema (dermatitis) is a general term that refers to a condition characterized by an inflamed, itchy, red and dry skin. Other possible symptoms include blisters, oozing, and/or peeling.

Although doctors do not know the exact cause of eczema, researchers associate it with environmental factors. Hence, treatment aims to mainly manage symptoms i.e. reduce inflammation, relieve itching, especially by avoiding triggers.

 (c) Vulvodynia (Burning Vulva Syndrome)

Vulvodynia, also known as burning vulva syndrome, refers to chronic vulvar pain or discomfort condition that lasts for at least than 3 months.

Symptoms include super itchy, burning, painful, red and swollen vaginal lips without abnormal discharge. Anything that comes into contact with the vaginal area or labia, including sexual intercourse, aggravates the burning and itching.

There are no clear causes vulvodynia. Hence there are no particular treatment approaches to vulvodynia. However, doctors may prescribe topical creams to ease the pain and itching, especially when this happens during and after sexual intercourse.

 (d) Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a condition that mostly affects the genital area. It especially in girls who have not started menstruating or in women after menopause but it can also affect males.

In females, usually occurs on the vulva and labial folds but can also appear on the clitoris, perineum area, and the anus.

Initially, small, white, shiny and smooth spots appear on the skin. Later, larger creased patches appear, the skin becomes fragile with bright red or purple bruises.

Other symptoms include itching (very common), burning, pain, bleeding, and blisters. Doctors use very strong cortisone cream or ointment for several weeks to treat lichen sclerosus.

(e) Bartholin Gland Cyst

A Bartholin cyst is formed when a flap of skin grows over the biathlon gland making fluids to accumulate in the gland.

A biathlon cyst is usually painless unless it gets infected to form an abscess. However, it can be painful and itchy, especially during or after sexual intercourse.

Symptoms include a usually huge lump at the vaginal opening especially one side of the labia. Others include itching, redness and swelling, odorless discharge, especially when it gets infected

Doctor treat Bartholin cysts by surgical drainage. They may also use antibiotics in case the cyst gets infected and forms an abscess.

 (f) Vulvar Cancer

Cancer is a condition caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a given part of the body. There are several types of cancer, usually classified by the part of the body they affect. The typical signs and symptoms of vulvar cancer include:

  • Persistent itching, burning, and irritation on the vulva or around the vaginal area
  • Pain in your pelvis, particularly while urinating or having sexual intercourse.
  • Bleeding on some parts of the vulva that does not go away.
  • Changes in the vulvar skin color, which usually becomes redder or whiter than normal
  • Skin texture changes on the vulva, including dry scaly or flaky skin or rash-like
  • Appearance of lesions such as sores, ulcers, or bumps on the vulva that do not go away.

Itchy Vagina and Period

Why in periods? The cause of an itchy vagina (vulva or vaginal lips) before, during or after period revolves around the hormonal changes that occur in this duration.

Itchy vagina before period: The pH level of a healthy vagina is 3.5-4.5, which is slightly acidic. As you approach your period, the level of estrogen goes up, increasing in sugar in the vaginal tissue. As a result, the pH level drops around the vagina drops slightly, making it more acidic.  And as it turns out, yeast thrives in acid. So you might have at least a mild yeast infection, which can trigger the itching.

Itchy vagina during period: The pH of blood is 7.34 to 7.45, which is much higher than the pH of a healthy vagina (more alkaline). Hence the presence of blood around the vagina can make it relatively too alkaline. This might lead to bacterial vaginosis which can lead to vaginal itching.

Itchy vagina after period: After your period, there is a relative decrease in pH levels around the vagina. This is because the pH value of blood is much higher than that of a healthy vagina. This means that the vaginal area is relatively more acidic, a condition favorable for yeast infection. It is also possible that an infection you develop before or during your period still causes the itching.

Itchy Vagina and Pregnancy

Just like during periods, the causes of vaginal itching during pregnancy revolves around hormonal changes, vaginal discharges, and variations in pH value.

Discharges during pregnancy may cause irritation in the vaginal area. Similarly, hormonal changes may affect PH values in such a way that it encourages infections.

Generally, these irritations or infections may trigger vaginal itching in pregnancy. Nevertheless, itching during pregnancy this does not rule out any of the other causes which are not associated with pregnancy.

Itchy vagina after Sex

The possible causes of an itchy vagina after sex include hormonal changes during the activity. It could also be due to irritation caused by the sexual fluids produced or the condoms that you used.

Furthermore, it might be an indication that you have lichen sclerosus. Still, it may a sign that you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as yeast infection from your partner.

Itchy Vagina after Birth

During birth, the vaginal walls, vulva, vaginal lips and the vaginal area generally undergo great stretch and later contraction. In addition, there is a discharge of fluids that flow out of and over the vagina.

Understandably, these vents disturb and irritate the vaginal tissues. As a result, you may experience various symptoms such as pain, burning and vaginal itching. These might linger for some time as the vaginal area recovers.

Vulvar Itching Worse at Night

Typically, vaginal or vulvar itching worsens at night when you bundle up yourself under the blanket. Essentially, it is because there is increased general body warmth.

Besides, there is an increase in moist, especially for those who have night sweat. Furthermore, because any discharge is trapped around the vagina since there basically no movement.

Naturally, most infections tend to thrive in these conditions. Such infections particularly include yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis and lichen sclerosus. Accordingly, their symptoms such as itching are likely to escalate at night.

Itchy Swollen Vag Lips No Discharge

Typically, irritants may cause an itchy swollen vagina or vaginal lips without any vaginal discharge. They include

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Fabric softeners and scented toilet papers
  • Topical medications such as antibiotic creams
  • Topical contraceptives
  • Detergents, toilet soap. Bubble baths
  • Body care and conditioning products such as deodorants and antiperspirants

Similarly, some infections and vaginal conditions may irritate the vaginal area, causing itchy and swollen, typically without vaginal discharge. These have been covered in earlier sections of this post and they include:

  • Vulvodynia (Burning Vulva Syndrome)
  • Genital Herpes
  • Lichen sclerosis

Vaginal Itching Treatment

Your doctor will carry out diagnosis which may involve a physical examination and lab tests to find out the underlying cause. Your doctor will then recommend the appropriate treatment options for you. Most of these treatments are outlined under each cause discussed in earlier sections of this post.

Vagisil Cream

Vagisil cream (Vagisil anti itch cream) is one of the most common itching cream for private parts. You can use this cream when you associate your vaginal itching or irritation with period, pregnancy, tight clothes or perspiration.

Vagisil cream (Vagisil anti-itch cream) for itchy vagina
Vagisil cream

However, you do not use this cream when the vaginal itching is as a result of infections, STDs or other conditions. Instead, you need to visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How to Apply Vagisil Anti Itch Cream

  1. Use your fingers to gently rub the cream on the affected area.
  2. Only use the smallest amount needed
  3. Apply Vagisil to the outside of your vagina only, such as your labia and vulva and around the vagina
  4. Apply the cream only on the part of your vaginal skin that is affected by the itching.
  5. Be patient and allow your skin to absorb the Vagisil cream for a few minutes to relieve the itching
  6. Apply the cream three to four times per day or as directed by your healthcare provider

Warning: The active component in Vagisil (benzocaine) can cause severe side effects when put in mouth or ingested. Seek immediate medical attention for serious side effects. Common side effects include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bluish, grayish or pale color on lips, fingernails or skin

Itching Vagina Home Remedies

The home remedies for itching in private parts are mainly aimed at preventing vaginal irritation and infection. These are the common causes of an itchy vagina. However, you do not usually use these remedies for serious infections or other conditions where they can’t help. Basically, vaginal home remedies entail proper vaginal hygiene and avoiding irritants:

  • Clean your genital area regularly with warm water and a gentle cleanser.
  • You may want to avoid perfumed soaps, lotions, douches, and bubble baths.
  • Avoid body care and conditioning products, such as deodorants, antiperspirants.
  • Replace wet or damp clothing right away, especially after swimming or exercising.
  • Wear cotton underwear to minimize skin irritation and moisture trapping
  • Change your underwear with another one every day.
  • Always wipe yourself from front to back after having a long call.
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures improve your bacterial environment and minimize chances of getting a yeast infection.
  • Maintain a faithful relationship with one partner. Otherwise, always use a condom when having sexual intercourse to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

When to See a Doctor

Typically, most causes of vaginal itching are not serious and can resolve on their own. However, you may want to quickly get rid of the condition or just rule out the rare but serious possible causes. Visit your doctor over itching vagina in case of the following:

  • The itching is so severe that it disrupts your daily life or sleep.
  • The itching does not go away after one week.
  • There is redness or swelling in your genital area.
  • There is burning,  pain or tenderness in the genital area.
  • You have trouble urinating.
  • Besides the itching, you are also having an abnormal discharge.
  • You experience discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
  • You notice anything unusual or abnormal on the vulva such as a rash, sores, blisters or bumps.

Sources and References

[showhide type=”links” more_text=”Show Sources and References” less_text=”Hide Sources and References”]

  1. Itchy Vulva: https://patient.info/health/vulval-problems-leaflet/itchy-vulva-pruritus-vulvae
  2. What Causes Vaginal Itching? https://www.healthline.com/symptom/vaginal-itching
  3. Vaginal Itching Or Swelling During Pregnancy: https://www.thebump.com/a/vaginal-itching-swelling-during-pregnancy
  4. Why Does Your Vagina Itch Right Before Your Period? http://monthlygift.com/blog/period/why-your-vagina-itches-right-before-period/
  5. Why Does Your Vagina Itch During Night? http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/vaginal-itching-at-night.html
  6. Vaginal Itching Before, During, After Period: https://www.optiderma.com/articles/vaginal-itching-before-after-period/
  7. Genital Itchiness: What You Need to Know about Lichen Sclerosus: http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/genital-itchiness
  8. 5 Common Reasons For Vaginal Itching Other Than A Yeast Infection: https://www.prevention.com/health/5-common-reasons-for-vaginal-itching/slide/4 [/showhide]

Posted Comments [1]

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