Perimenopause & Menopause

Why is My Vagina Itchy and How Do I Treat it?

Written by Dr. Staci Tanouye, OB/GYN, MD
30 Dec, 2020
5 min. Read
Why is My Vagina Itchy and How Do I Treat it?

Why is My Vagina Itchy and How Do I Treat it?

Why is My Vagina Itchy?

A question I often hear with my patients is, “Why does my vagina itch?” The fact is, if you’re experiencing itchiness or dryness in the vaginal area, you are not alone. There are several factors that can cause it, and in most cases, it requires a frank conversation with your doctor to help diagnose and treat the source cause.

First and foremost, it’s important to identify what area the discomfort is coming from. It’s most likely the vulva and not the vagina. The vulva is the external area and is generally the area that people are referring to when they ask about itching. The vagina is the internal area where a tampon is placed.

Let's face it, vulvar itching and dryness is not fun to manage, but once you’ve identified the cause, finding a solution is relatively easy and there are several options of products to keep you comfortably fresh.

Causes of Itchiness or Dryness

So, what does it mean when your vagina (vulva) itches? A dry or itchy vaginal opening can be brought on by a few different reasons. Typically, the vulva and vagina are perfectly capable of lubricating themselves, but there can be a few factors that lead to these conditions:

  • Yeast Infection:

    This naturally occurring bacteria often helps regulate the vagina, however excess growth can cause an infection. Learn more about Yeast infections.
  • Low estrogen levels:

    Low estrogen can make the lining of the vagina and vulva thinner, which makes it more prone to dryness and sensitivity. With this, women are also more prone to urinary incontinence, which can irritate the skin. learn more about yeast Low estrogen levels.
  • Lichen sclerosis:

    This is a dermatologic skin condition where the skin becomes thin, fragile, and pale, often accompanied by itching or burning sensations of the vulva, perineum, and perianal areas. It is thought to be auto-immune related although it’s not completely understood. hormonal changes such as menopause may trigger it. learn more about Lichen sclerosis.
  • Lichen simplex chronicus:

    This is a dermatologic skin condition caused by exposure to either an allergen or irritant that causes the vulvar skin to be persistently itchy. It often starts with a rash, but can also persist even when the skin is no longer exposed to the allergen or irritant that initially caused the rash. Learn more about Lichen simplex chronicus .

While it’s important to know the cause, there are remedies that can help in any situation to lower your chances of itchiness or dryness:

  • When it comes to hygiene, the type of pad that you use matters. I recommend keeping skin fresh and clean to prevent irritation
  • Replace your pads and underwear often. I recommend switching these out when you feel any discomfort or moisture.
  • Use warm water to clean the genital area. You don’t need fancy soaps or scents – those can sometimes cause even more irritation!
  • Change damp or sweaty clothing after swimming, exercising, etc.
  • Try wearing cotton underwear to better absorb sweat or moisture. You can even try going without underwear at night.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing since it is more breathable.

Staying Comfortable and Fresh All Month Long

For patients experiencing both bladder leaks and periods at the same time, I encourage the use of a 2-in-1 pad to deliver on freshness during both types of leaks and to keep skin itch-free, One by Poise®.

It is a uniquely designed pad which locks away period flow and bladder leaks through an innovative 2-in-1 Absorbent Core. The Dual Leakblock™ System with stay-in-place wings and Leakblock™ sides helps keep you clean and comfortably fresh*. *for ObP Reg and Heavy Pads

I always encourage talking to your doctor and OB/GYN about any concerns or abnormalities you’re noticing. They can recommend the right treatment(s) based on the condition. They are here for you to help you find the right solutions to keep you happy and healthy!

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Author Summary: Dr. Staci Tanouye, MD, board-certified OB-GYN is a physician in a private practice and an expert in adolescent health, sexual health, reproductive health, and menopausal health. She has become one of the leading gynecologists on social media with the mission to educate women and all people with vulvas to love their bodies through knowledge and empowerment.

Kimberly-Clark makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.