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.

Many women are confused when it comes to vaginal discharge.

However, often this isn’t a topic you would openly discuss with your friends or even your doctor.

You may have questions such as “ Is it normal discharge? Why does my discharge always vary in amount and colour? Should I see a doctor? When should I be worried?”. These are perfectly common and normal questions to ask as vaginal discharge varies from individual and they can be quite confusing.

Usually there is really nothing to worry about unless your vaginal discharge is associated with itching, pain or bad smell. Having vaginal discharge is normal in all women. But of course, it will be helpful to know what normal discharge is or looks like.

Click here for our New Article on Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal Environment

Before proceeding any farther, let us realize that a normal healthy vagina is never free from a type of bacteria known as ‘lactobacillus’. When balanced in amount, it is a ‘friend’ and ‘protector’ of the vagina. Its role is to protect the vagina from infection by releasing certain proteins and maintaining a vaginal pH of 4.5. Once the bacterial count decreases, vaginal pH changes and various infections of the vagina can occur. Green, yellow, gray and white, thick, cottage-cheese like discharge, usually with odor, itching and pain are signs of infection.

normal discharge

Normal and ovulation discharge

Clear, whitish, thin or thick odorless discharge are usually normal and shoudn’t be alarming. It can happen at any time during your menstrual cycle. This discharges means your reproductive organs are ‘cleansing’ the vagina and cervix, getting rid of dead cells and bacteria which is being transported by these discharges.

Somewhere around the 14th day of your cycle (i.e when an egg is released from your ovary -termed ovulation), you may notice clear colourless and elastic discharge resembling egg white. It is usually much more in amount than your usual vaginal discharge. This is a good sign for those who are trying to concieve as this when you are most fertile.

Sometimes, white and more watery discharge can be found after heavy physical activities, when you are sexually excited or sometimes when you feel extremely tired.

Common causes are Infections, Hormonal Imbalance, Vaginal Environments Changes and maybe it’s just Normal Discharge!

 

Menses discharge

Besides having bright red blood discharge during menses, you can also have dark brown discharge which usually occurs towards the end of your menstruation or 1-2 days after menstruation.  This is the leftover menstrual blood in the vagina which was not completely cleared. It is brown as dead blood cells turn brown. Sometimes, this dark brown discharge can also be seen during your mid cycle when ovulation occurs and is normal.

2

Infections

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Bacterial vaginosis (vaginal infection caused by bacteria) is one of the most common causes of gray, foul fishy-smelling vaginal discharge. Redness of the vulva, itching and burning sensation during intercourse may accompany. Green, thick fishy-smelling discharges are commonly caused by gardnerella infections.

Gonorrheal infections are manifested by cloudy yellow discharge often accompanied by pelvic pain and frequent urination.

Trichomoniasis (a parasitic infection) gives yellowish frothy discharge with bad odor. This is usually transmitted through unprotected sex. These infections are commonly treated with over-the-counter antibiotics, most effective one being metronidazole in forms of tablets, vaginal gel/creams and suppositories.

White, cottage-cheese-like discharge often accompanied by itching is due to yeast infection known as candidiasis.

Other type of infections that you could get which could cause abnormal vaginal discharge includes chlamydia, ureaplasma and mycoplasma.

Click here for Info on STD Symptoms in Women

If you are pregnant, consult a doctor before taking any medications. Pay attention to your personal hygiene. Changing your panty liners frequently, keeping your feminine area cool and dry by avoiding tight clothing and linen panties may help prevent from such infections.

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Lifestyle

We must not overlook some other simple facts that may lead to changes in normal conditions of vagina. Decreased bacterial count and an increased vaginal pH more than 4.5 are the main culprits causing infection. You may not notice that using fragrant soaps, vaginal douching and frequent bubbly baths may be some of the causes. For those who are sexually active, sticking to one partner is the best prevention, as STDs are often associated with such infections. Pregnancy and menopause may sometimes lead to imbalanced vaginal conditions due to hormonal changes. It is then best to maintain a good personal hygiene.

Although less frequently red discharge or spotting is a more serious case. When this is noted, question yourself: Have you had any unprotected intercourse recently? If yes, this may be a sign of pregnancy and you might want to do a pregnancy test. Spotting during early pregnancy may mean miscarriages or threatened abortion. Some other reasons are vaginal tear and lacerations during rough intercourse, and, if you are more than 40, it may be due to cancers. This is the time when you should be worried and tell your doctor.

 

advise

 


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784 Comments

  1. Thick white stuff itching n burning

  2. Ntombizanele

    My private part is itching and i have pimple around and at the mouth of my vigana with with head
    any advice

  3. Hi I’m writing again cos the over comment didn’t make sense…I am 14 years old and I’m a virgin and down there where my pubes are is flakey skin where every time I itch it,it goes all wet and slimeyou feeling…I have had this for a while but I really want to know what it is…cold you plz tell me what it could be

  4. HI I am 14 years old and on my virgina and I’ve been having flakey skin down there underneath where my pubes are and every time I itch it,it goestrogen all wet and slime you feelinget….plz give me an idea what this is…

  5. hi am seeing another mouth almost after my vagina opening n it look n touch is not smooth at all..when I try to touch it, it just as if am touch a rough wood

  6. Mrunmayee

    my vagina is looking like the second photo posted on this site..same thing in white colour is seems to be on my vaginal entry.by searching on other sites ,it seems to be yeast infection.but i am 21 year old virgin.how can i have yeast infection? or is there any other problem with my vagina?( evrytime i take bath,and if soap comes in contact with vagina its feel like burning and itching..what is it?)

  7. Hi, I have vagina itching it’s been a year or so… I have changed 3-4 doctors but when I take medicines and apply cream then it stops but after some time it re appears
    Kindly suggest what should I do plz

  8. I am 18 years old. I have itches in privet parts , n also little pimpels . I have rashes around p p . plz give me advice.

    • I am sorry. We cannot given medical advice over the internet. Please see your doctor to get a diagnosis and formal medical advice.

  9. prisca ufo

    My daughter is 7yrs old she always itches her private part and i noticed this foul smell and dirts that stains in her panties am worried pls advice me on what to do.

    • Apologies. We cannot give medical advice over the internet. Please bring her to see a doctor.

      • shanna hng

        hi i might need help alittle. i’m recently having some itchiness and i read up and it seems like yeast infection. but i’m on a tight budget so may i know how much will it cost if i get a yeast infection treatment?

        • You will need a proper assessment in order to be treated correctly. Yeast treatment is approximately $20 – $150 depending on the condition. It is best to come in for a consultation first.
          You can find us here: LOCATION

  10. I am 17 year old for past three weeks I am experiencing frequent urination and I after passing urine .I am sensation of getting urine again with in no time interval and with all this I am having a sensation of discharging something .after urinating a foul smell comes out along with the discharge causing me to urinate again

    • Your symptoms sound typical of a urine infection. You really should see a doctor asap to get tested and treated. If you have been sexually active, you should also screen for STDs especially Chlamydia. You are welcome to see us. We have lady doctors to attend to you. Please Click HERE for location info.

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