All About Vaginal Itching: Common Causes, Treatment, and Prevention


Vaginal itching is a common symptom that may be accompanied by redness and burning. It can be caused by a variety of factors and can be treated or prevented in various ways. If you are experiencing vaginal itching and are unsure of the cause or how to manage it, it is important to speak to a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Vaginal itching: An overview

Vaginal itching is a common condition that occurs when the vulva becomes irritated or inflamed. It can occur at any age and may be caused by a variety of factors such as bacteria, allergies, chronic health conditions, injuries, or sexually transmitted infections. Symptoms of vaginal itching can range from mild irritation to severe discomfort that interferes with daily life or sexual function. Treatment options for vaginal itching depend on the underlying cause and may include avoiding irritants, using medications or creams, and seeking medical attention if necessary. If you are experiencing vaginal itching and are unsure of the cause or how to manage it, it is important to speak to a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Possible causes of an itchy vagina

Vaginal itching is a common symptom that can be caused by a variety of factors**:**

Allergic Reaction

Vulva itching can be caused by contact dermatitis, which is a skin reaction that occurs when the external genitals come into contact with irritants. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include redness or a rash, itching, swelling, burning, and dry or scaly skin. In more severe cases, bumps and blisters may develop. Some common irritants that can cause contact dermatitis include perfumes or dyes in laundry detergent, latex in condoms or sex toys, and medications or prescription creams. In rarer cases, vaginal itching may be linked to certain foods such as coffee, tea, chocolate, tomatoes, soda, milk, and peanuts.

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene practices may also be a cause of vaginal irritation. The vulva, inner thighs, groin, and buttocks may collect bacteria if they are not kept clean. The vulva has natural mechanisms to prevent dust or bacteria from entering the vagina, and vaginal secretions help to clear out excess bacteria. It is not necessary to clean the vagina with soap, as this can interfere with the natural cleaning process and potentially cause irritation with the sensitive skin of the vulva and vagina due to the presence of perfumes and dyes in many soaps.


Vaginal irritation may be a result of an injury that is healing in the vagina or vulva. Examples of injuries that could cause an itchy vagina include swelling or irritation from sexual activity, waxing or shaving the hair around the vagina, and birth-related injuries such as tears or recovery from an episiotomy.

Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, are a common occurrence for many women, with about 75% experiencing at least one in their lifetime. These infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans in the vagina. Symptoms of a yeast infection may include redness, swelling, burning during sexual activity or urination, vaginal pain, a rash, and an odorless discharge that is either watery or thick and clumpy.


Vaginal itching and burning can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is caused by bacteria entering the urethra and potentially spreading to the bladder or other parts of the urinary system. UTI symptoms may include burning during urination, a frequent urge to urinate, difficulty passing more than a small amount of urine, cloudy or pink urine, pelvic pain, and urine with a strong odor. In addition to vaginal irritation, UTI symptoms may also include discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen or back. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider.


Vaginal itching or irritation can be caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as trichomoniasis, scabies, and chlamydia. These STIs are easily transmitted and can cause symptoms such as itching, redness, and discharge. Scabies, which is caused by a burrowing mite, may also cause small red bumps, redness, and scaling skin, while chlamydia may cause discharge and pain during sex. The only way to treat these STIs is with prescription medications or creams.

Skin Condition

Certain skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and lichen sclerosus, may cause a flare-up in the vulva area that results in symptoms like red patches of skin, scaling, dryness, cracking, and itching. It is important to consult a doctor before attempting to treat vaginal itching if you have a preexisting skin condition.

Other conditions

Vaginal itching can be a symptom of serious health conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, lymphoma, kidney failure, celiac disease, and hyperthyroidism. These conditions often have other symptoms that require medical treatment. Vaginal itching in this context is rare, but it is important to speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing persistent or severe vaginal irritation.

Treatment for vaginal itching

Vaginal itching can have many different causes, including allergic reactions, personal hygiene issues, injuries, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, skin conditions, and underlying health conditions. Treatment options will vary depending on the cause of the itching and may include avoiding certain trigger foods, using hypoallergenic laundry detergent, wearing breathable underwear, and using over-the-counter or prescription medications. It is important to speak with a doctor if you are unsure of the cause of your vaginal itching or if your symptoms persist despite at-home treatment.

When to see a doctor

If you are experiencing persistent or unusual vaginal itching, discomfort, or irritation, as well as other symptoms such as painful or burning urination, it is recommended that you see a doctor or gynecologist. This is especially important if you have recently had sex with a new partner or multiple partners, if your symptoms persist after trying non-prescription treatment, or if you have a history of yeast infections, STIs, or UTIs. Other indications to see a doctor include experiencing fever or chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, worsening or development of a rash or blisters, or vaginal pain. It is important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment in order to address the underlying cause of your symptoms.

The takeaway

There are numerous potential reasons for vaginal itching. If you are experiencing persistent or worsening irritation of the vagina, it is advisable to see a doctor. With proper treatment, it is possible to find relief from vaginal itching.