Vaginal itching: a common problem of the young and old

A woman smilesIf you are experiencing itching or irritation at your private parts, your body is trying to tell you something.

Itching of the vulva and vagina are one of the common complaints in many women, varying from as young as 5 years old to some who are more than 60 years old. It can be really disturbing and stressful when it persists for numerous days. Severe itching can lead to pain, ugly scratch marks and darkening of the vulval skin.

Vulva Itching

Let us start from the vulva. Persistent itching of this site may be caused by infection, allergy, or a reason as simple as poor personal hygiene.The latter is common in most children, the poor, the elderly and from individuals who may be suffering from psychological illness. In short, personal hygiene is poor when one is unable to look after themselves well.

Itching can also appear when one’s private areas are warm and moist, which is a favourable condition for bacterial and fungal growth.

In the elderly, vulval and vaginal itching can be due to dryness of the skin and vaginal lining. This is a normal condition of aging caused by low level of female hormones. But sometimes, it may be caused by cancer.

Common causes are infections, allergies and poor hygiene

lichen sclerosis

Skin Conditions and Allergies

Skin diseases and allergies are not to be missed. Eczema may spread to the private parts and cause irritation. Other skin conditions such as psoriasis, lichen simplex chronicus or lichen sclerosus may also be considered.

candida

Infections

In younger women who are more likely to be sexually active, infections which are mainly sexually transmitted is a more probable cause of vaginal itching. Infections such as genital warts, herpes, trichomoniasis, yeast infections (candida) and bacterial vaginosis are some causes to be named.

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Pubic lice (also called ‘crabs’) may also be included.

Scabies and tinea cruris (a fungal infection also known as ‘ringworm’) are also some underlying causes. Though, they are not limited to the private parts. They cause itching of various parts of the body including the private parts. They are not transmitted by sexual contact, but rather normal contact with close people such as relatives and friends.

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Tips, Tricks and Treatments

You may be confused to what is the cause of the itching and irritation you are experiencing. You could drop by the pharmacy and get some over-the-counter medications first. However, if the itching is not better and it is driving you nuts, you may want to consult a doctor.

In the elderly or pregnant ladies where hormonal levels are most probably the main causes, baking soda baths and pastes can help.

Changes in hormonal levels causes increased pH of the vaginal lining which can cause itching. Sexual intercourse may help in these cases as male semen has a lower pH level which can then reduce the pH level of the vaginal lining.

Another tip is after defecating, it is better to wash and then wipe from front to back to avoid any bacteria from entering the vagina.

In general, always keep your private parts clean, dry and airy. Also, try and avoid wearing tight undergarments.

Be sure to see Our Doctors if your itching persists.

Most causes of vaginal itching are not serious, however, if your symptoms are persistent, you should see a doctor to rule out any possibilities of infection including STDs and also cancer.

If you are pregnant, always seek a doctor’s advice before trying out any over the counter remedies.

If you are not sure or worried about your vaginal itching, it is better to consult a doctor for further advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Where to find us.

Related topics.

More on vaginal discharge.

Vaginal bleeding.

Candida (Yeast/vaginal thrush)

Bacterial vaginosis

Trichomoniasis

Chlamydia

Gonorrhoea

If you have any questions, visit our free online forum on sexual health, HIV and STDs.

Dr (Ms) De Souza

MD (Russia), MMed (Obs&Gyn)

654 Comments

  1. Hi doctor..
    I have this problem of vagina itch every month before 1 week of my menses. There’s white discharge coming together too. I am quite worried if it’s any illness or something. I had sex before. And are your charges high if I visit ur clinic ?

    • It sounds like a yeast infection. Charges as follows: Consultation $60 Tests for vaginal infections including all STDs $345 (all prices before GST).

  2. Gozie Ezenwa

    Dear Dr,
    I have been having itches around my private parts (Vagina) for a very long time now and its driving me nuts. Sometimes I see yellow discharge and I urinate regularly.
    Please doctor, Is there any drug I need to take to stop the itching? Help me because the problem is giving me sleepless night.

    • When you say you “urinate regularly” I assume you mean you urinate frequently. All your symptoms suggest that you have a vaginal infection. Before you know what medicine to take you need to find out what exactly you are infected with. For this, you must see your doctor and get some swab tests done. If you wish to see us you can use the contact form on the right to make an appointment.

  3. hi Doc,
    I am a 14 year old virgin and I have masturbated(not fingering). It hurts to pee sometimes and there is an odor, also it’s swollen. I use a fragranced body wash of that matters. Do you have any advice or could help me on this?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. STD Symptoms in Women | STD - […] here to learn about Contraception. Click here to learn about Vaginal Discharge. Click here to learn about Vaginal Itching …
  2. Women’s Health Clinic Singapore | Women's Health - […] here to learn about Contraception. Click here to learn about Vaginal Discharge. Click here to learn about Vaginal Itching …
  3. STD General Info | STD - […] 9. *Syphillis 10. Candidia 11. *Herpes simplex type I/II 12. Molluscum contagiosm 13. Crab lice 14. Scabies 15. Chancroid …

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