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Quick Facts

Vaginal Itching

By The Manual's Editorial Staff,

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What is vaginal itching?

Vaginal itching is when your vagina (birth canal) or the area outside the opening to the vagina (called your vulva) feels scratchy and itchy.

Most women have a little vaginal itching every once in a while that goes away on its own.

Vaginal itching is a problem when it doesn’t go away or keeps coming back. Vaginal itching can be serious if you also have:

What causes vaginal itching?

  • Vaginal infections, including yeast infections

  • STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), such as gonorrhea and chlamydia

  • Creams, powders, soaps, or other items that irritate your vulva

  • After you've stopped having your period (menopause), having a thinner and drier vagina

When should I see a doctor?

See a doctor right away if you have vaginal itching with pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal discharge. See a doctor when you can if your itching lasts more than a few days but you don't have pain or abnormal discharge.

What will happen when I go to the doctor?

Doctors will ask questions about your vaginal itching and any other symptoms.

Doctors typically do a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor looks inside your vagina, holding it open with a small instrument called a speculum. Doctors may use a cotton swab to take a sample of any vaginal discharge (fluid) for testing.

How do doctors treat vaginal itching?

Doctors treat the cause of your itching, if they can. For example, if you have a yeast infection, doctors may give you antifungal medicines.

They may also suggest you:

  • Keep your vulva as clean as possible

  • Put ice packs on your vulva

  • Soak in a warm bathtub

  • Stop using creams, powders, soaps, or other items that irritate your vulva

If your itching doesn't get better, doctors may suggest medicines (such as a corticosteroid cream).