What is genital itching?
Genital 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 genital itching every once in a while that goes away on its own.
Genital itching is a problem when it doesn’t go away or keeps coming back. Genital itching can be serious if you also have:
Fluid from your vagina that looks or smells unusual (abnormal vaginal discharge Vaginal Discharge Vaginal discharge is fluid that comes out of your vagina (birth canal). All women have some vaginal discharge at times. Normal vaginal discharge is milky white or thin and clear, without any... read more )
What causes genital itching?
STIs (sexually transmitted infections), such as gonorrhea Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An STI is an infection that is spread from person to person by sexual contact. Gonorrhea infects your genitals and, in women, your fallopian... read more , trichomoniasis Trichomoniasis Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). An STI is an infection that is spread from person to person by sexual contact. Trichomoniasis is more likely to cause symptoms... read more , and chlamydia Chlamydia Chlamydia are bacteria that can cause several kinds of infection. One common chlamydia infection is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An STI is an infection that is spread from person... read more
Creams, powders, soaps, or other items that irritate your vulva
After you've stopped having your period (menopause Menopause Menopause is when women stop having periods (stop menstruating) and can no longer get pregnant. Menopause usually happens after age 40. In the United States, the average age for menopause is... read more ), having a thinner and drier vagina
When should I see a doctor?
See a doctor right away if you have genital 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 genital 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 genital itching?
Doctors treat the cause of your itching, if they can. For example, if you have a yeast infection Vaginal Yeast Infection (Candidiasis) Yeast called Candida is a type of fungus. Some Candida live in your vagina all the time. Your vagina connects your uterus (where a baby grows when you're pregnant) to the outside of your body... read more , 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).