Causes of vaginal pruritus-Vaginal Itching: Causes, Treatments, and Diagnosis

Vulvitis is not a disease, but refers to the inflammation of the soft folds of skin on the outside of the female genitalia, the vulva. The irritation can be caused by infection, allergic reaction, or injury. The skin of the vulva is especially susceptible to irritation due to its moistness and warmth. Any woman of any age can be affected by vulvitis. Girls who have not yet reached puberty or post-menopausal women may be at higher risk of vulvitis.

Causes of vaginal pruritus

But aggressive cleansing can add to the irritation. The itching will usually go away after a woman stops using these products. An itchy vulva can result in a lot of psychological distress and sleeplessness. Show More. Psoriatic lesions on the vulva are gaginal common in children than in adults. Pubic lice can generally be treated with nonprescription lice treatments.

Keys to a female orgasm. 1. Introduction

You can prevent most causes of vaginal itching through good hygiene and Causes of vaginal pruritus habits. The sample of skin is then examined in a laboratory. If you are feeling particular itchy, applying some cool emollient from the prurritus on to the skin may be soothing. After menopause, the hormonal changes you experience can cause vaginal dryness and thinning of the skin, which is called vaginal atrophy, says Dr. Exposing the vagina to irritating chemicals can cause vaginql itching. Occasionally, some people become sensitised to various ingredients that are in some emollients. Most women experience a slight vulval itch now and again. Read on to learn about the medications, home remedies, and…. If you think you have thrush and have been using cream that you have bought from a pharmacy but it isn't getting Big bootys sitting on faces after a week, stop using the cream and go to see a doctor. Use it very liberally. How to manage lichen sclerosus Drew lachey gay genital itching. Persistent vaginal itching that doesn't improve could be a sign of vulvar cancer. These are treatments which are Causes of vaginal pruritus to help with an itchy vulva pruritus vulvae whatever the cause. Sign up for our Women's Health Newsletter!

Pruritus is a frequent symptom in many dermatological diseases.

  • Most women have dealt with vaginal itching at some point in their lives—and it can be a huge discomfort whenever you experience it.
  • Vaginal itching is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptom that often occurs due to irritating substances, infections, or menopause.
  • Vaginal itching, sometimes called vaginitis, occurs when the vagina becomes inflamed, often also causing discharge and pain.
  • Most women experience a slight vulval itch now and again.
  • .

  • .

You may routinely pamper your face and work hard to keep it moisturized and irritation-free, but what have you done lately for the more sensitive skin of your vulva, the external genital area surrounding your vagina? Many women have been primed to think no further than "itch equals yeast infection. These conditions aren't getting the medical attention they need — and women aren't getting the relief they deserve. The vulva Latin for womb or covering consists of several layers that cover and protect the sexual organs and urinary opening.

The fleshy outer lips of the vulva — the labia majora — are covered with pubic hair and contain fat that helps cushion the area. Inside the labia majora are the thinner, more pigmented and delicate flaps of skin called the labia minora. The labia minora join at the top to enclose the clitoris. The labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris are made up of erectile tissue, that is, tissue that can become engorged with blood.

The area between the labia minora, the vestibule, contains the openings to the urethra and the vagina, as well as the Bartholin's glands, which are located on either side of the vaginal opening and produce lubricant for the vestibule. The flesh between the vaginal opening and the anus not part of the vulva but often involved in vulvar skin problems is the perineum.

This is where the incision called an episiotomy is sometimes made during childbirth. Vulvar skin conditions are highly treatable, but the treatment depends on the specific cause.

And identifying the underlying diagnosis can be very challenging. Tell your clinician about any other past or present medical conditions including bladder and bowel issues and any skin problems elsewhere on your body. For example, psoriasis anywhere on the body raises the risk of a vulvar condition known as lichen sclerosus. This condition and others are described, below, in "Vulvar conditions and their treatment. A mouth condition called lichen planus is another cause of vulvovaginal problems.

The term "lichen," as applied to skin disorders, refers fancifully to skin lesions that resemble lichen on rocks. Long-term treatment with oral steroids, immune suppressants, or antibiotics can affect vulvar skin and raise the risk infection. Your clinician will want to know how you care for your vulvar skin, which can help identify possible sources of irritation.

Even if you can't pinpoint a change, that doesn't mean your standard routine isn't the culprit. Sometimes vulvar problems are the cumulative effect of long-term practices. It's often what you've done day after day, year after year, that causes the problem.

If you wear abrasive clothing and engage in abrasive activities like bicycling or spinning class and wear tight workout clothes that expose your vulva to sweat or to detergent or soap residue, eventually it might catch up with you.

Report all the symptoms that concern you, including itching, burning, soreness, discharge, bumps, and any rashes the vulva. It will also help if you can provide a history of your symptoms and recall what seems to make them better or worse. Your clinician will examine the vulva, perhaps using a magnifying glass, and insert a speculum to inspect the vagina. She or he may test the pH acid-base balance of the vagina and take samples of secretions to examine under the microscope or culture for yeast.

Remember, even if you're seeing an experienced clinician, several visits may be needed to diagnose and improve certain vulvovaginal conditions. When vaginal or vulvar itching occurs, women usually assume it's a yeast infection and treat it with an over-the-counter antifungal cream. Often this does the trick, but not always.

Instead, the cause of the symptoms might be dry skin, a sexually transmitted disease or bacterial infection, a less common strain of yeast that required special medication, or irritation by and allergic reactions to common products such as soaps, creams, and lotions.

If yeast isn't the problem, an antifungal cream isn't the solution. And if your skin is already irritated, you may exacerbate the problem by introducing preservatives such as alcohol or propylene glycol and other ingredients contained in many antifungal remedies.

That's why it's important to see your gynecologist or dermatologist if a problem persists after you've tried a standard antifungal cream. Another common response of women faced with a vaginal discharge or itch is to wash the vulvar skin vigorously, on the assumption that this will disinfect the area or remove irritants.

But aggressive cleansing can add to the irritation. Until the problem is diagnosed, it's best to follow a gentle skin care routine see "Gentle vulvar care".

In fact, gentle cleansing applies whether you have a vulvar skin condition or not: Wash the area gently with your fingertips or a soft cloth and pat dry with a soft towel. Don't use a rough washcloth, and don't rub. If initial treatment hasn't eased your symptoms, the clinician may need to take a small tissue sample biopsy to make a diagnosis. The procedure, which is minor and done under local anesthesia, can be extremely valuable, often changing the diagnosis and treatment plan.

Several vulvar skin conditions are familiar from other areas of the body but may be difficult to recognize when they appear on the vulva. These include the following:. This inflammatory skin condition disrupts the skin's surface, causing red patches and thin cracks, weeping, and crust formation. On the vulva, crusts are less likely, but eczema may initiate a cycle of vulvar itching and scratching that leads to lichen simplex chronicus — thickened and intensely itchy skin.

If eczema affects an area of the vulva called the vestibule, it may cause stinging and burning. Sometimes eczema appears in early childhood and its cause is unknown. More often, it begins with exposure to an irritant or allergen see "How irritating". Many things can cause an allergic reaction or irritate vulvar skin. Here are some of the leading suspects:. Stewart, M. To diagnose vulvar eczema, the clinician will ask about your symptoms; your history of eczema, allergy, and related conditions; your vulvar cleansing habits; and any products the vulva has been exposed to.

During the exam, she or he will look for redness, scaling, cracking, and thickening. All eczema requires gentle skin care. In simple cases, patients use topical corticosteroid ointments twice a day for two to four weeks and then gradually reduce the frequency until the symptoms are gone.

Severe cases may require a short course of a potent corticosteroid ointment. During treatment, you must stop scratching, so your clinician may prescribe an antihistamine usually taken at night to prevent daytime drowsiness. A cold pack can also help relieve itching.

This is a common condition in which new skin cells are produced too rapidly, leading to thickened, scaly patches of inflamed and red skin on various parts of the body. On the vulva, skin surfaces are usually too moist for dry scaling, so psoriasis is more likely to appear in the form of pink patches with defined edges. It most commonly affects the labia majora.

If the skin cracks open, infection may result. You may have treated psoriasis outbreaks elsewhere on your body with remedies containing coal tar, vitamin D, or anthralin. Do not apply these products to the vulva, as their harshness can worsen your symptoms. Your clinician may prescribe a topical steroid cream or ointment. If splits in the skin have opened the way for infection, an anti-yeast or antibiotic component may be added. Whether you have a vulvar skin problem or are just prone to irritation, gentle care of the area is a must.

Wear loose clothing. Choose cotton underwear and go without when at home. To cleanse the area, use your fingers instead of a washcloth and an unscented, non-alkaline cleanser such as Cetaphil or Basis plain water is also fine. Soak for five minutes in lukewarm water to remove any residue of sweat or lotions or other products. Pat dry, and apply any prescribed medication or a soothing and protective substance such as Vaseline or olive oil.

Avoid products with multiple ingredients. In the bathroom, forgo moistened wipes. If you want moisture, use a spray bottle with plain water, and then pat dry.

Lichen planus. This skin condition, believed to result from an overactive immune system, can affect the vulva, the vagina, the inside of the mouth, and other skin surfaces. In most areas of the body, lichen planus causes itchy purple bumps sometimes streaked with white.

On vulvar skin, the most common symptoms are soreness, burning, and rawness. The vulva may appear pale or pink, sometimes with a white lacy pattern. If the vulvar skin breaks down, the eroded areas appear moist and red. Lichen planus often affects the vagina as well, causing a sticky yellow discharge and erosions that can make intercourse painful. Eventually, lichen planus can affect underlying as well as surface tissues and produce scarring that alters the vulva's shape, sometimes leading to the virtual disappearance of the labia minora.

Lichen planus is diagnosed by its appearance although it can be difficult to distinguish from atrophy caused by a lack of estrogen or the excessive use of steroids , and the diagnosis is confirmed with a biopsy. The condition may start as a reaction to certain medications — thiazide diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, certain antibiotics, or antimalarial drugs — so be sure to tell your clinician about any drugs you take. The most common initial treatment is high-potency topical steroid medication.

Unfortunately, lichen planus is persistent and likely to require long-term maintenance treatment. Lichen sclerosus. Although it can occur elsewhere on the body, this inflammatory skin disorder usually affects the vulvar or anal area in postmenopausal women. By some estimates, one in 30 older women has lichen sclerosus; it's especially common in women with psoriasis.

Itching is usually the first symptom, and it may become severe enough to disrupt sleep and other activities. During an examination, the clinician may notice white sometimes crinkly or shiny patches. Some may contain tears or red areas from bleeding often the result of scratching and these areas may be painful and sting.

As the disease progresses, there's a danger that vulvar tissues will scar and shrink. Lichen sclerosus is diagnosed by its appearance and sometimes by biopsies. No matter how mild the symptoms, it should be treated to prevent progression. The usual treatment is application of a high potency corticosteroid ointment for several weeks, then slowly tapering the dose.

Women also need regular examinations after treatment for lichen sclerosus because the condition can make affected skin more likely to develop skin cancer.

Learn about…. The infection often occurs after taking a course of antibiotics, as these types of medications can destroy good bacteria along with the bad bacteria. If you're having some itching, but you're not experiencing any of those discharge-related symptoms associated with something like a yeast infection or a bacterial vaginosis, it might be worth asking: What have I changed in my hygiene or clothing routine lately? Getty Images. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy.

Causes of vaginal pruritus

Causes of vaginal pruritus. When should I see a doctor?

.

Pruritus in Female Patients

Updated in January The vulva, or external genitalia of the female, includes the mons pubis, labia majora outer lips , labia minora inner lips , clitoris, perineum the tissue between vagina and anus and the external openings of the urethra and vagina. Itching often affects the vulva. The sensation of itch in this site in the absence of a known skin condition is referred to as pruritus vulvae. Pruritus vulvae should be distinguished from vulval pain and from vulvodynia , which refers to chronic burning symptoms in the absence of clinical signs.

Vulval itch, pain and burning can co-exist. Girls and women of any age and race can experience mild, moderate or severe vulval itch, which can be intermittent or continuous.

They may or may not have an associated skin condition. Candida albicans infection vulvovaginal thrush is the most important microorganism to consider in a postpubertal woman with vulval itch. Candida can be a cause of napkin dermatitis in babies.

Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common cause of an itchy vulva at all ages. It can be acute , relapsing or chronic. It may be due to various reasons, including:. Latex rubber and semen are potential causes of contact urticaria. Benign and malignant neoplastic disorders of the vulva are often asymptomatic in their early stages, but they can cause itch. The most common cancerous lesions are:. Neuropathy should be considered as a cause of vulval itch if there are no signs of infection or skin disease apart from lichen simplex — which can be secondary to a pruritic neuropathy — especially if vulvodynia is present.

The neuropathy may be caused by injury, surgery or disease locally pudendal entrapment , within the pelvis or in the spine.

The clinical features depend on the underlying cause of the vulval itch. There may be an obvious or subtle rash or no signs of disease at all. Itch often only affects one anatomic part of the vulva:. The itch can also involve other adjacent skin of the abdomen, thighs and perianal area.

An examination may reveal healthy skin, scratch marks excoriations and the specific features associated with the underlying cause of the itch.

Morphology may be modified according to the site, with minimal scale evident. An itchy vulva can result in a lot of psychological distress and sleeplessness.

Scratching injures the skin, which can lead to pain and secondary bacterial infection. The cause or causes of an itchy vulva may be diagnosed through careful history include genitourinary and musculoskeletal systems and examination of the vulva.

A full skin examination may reveal a skin condition or disease in another site that gives a clue to why the vulva is itchy.

Contact dermatitis occurs quite readily when inflamed skin affects the genital area. Tricyclic antidepressants may be prescribed to control intractable itch, even in the absence of a defined neuropathy. A vulval itch cannot always be prevented, depending on its cause. However, vulval health is optimised by the nonspecific measures described above.

Vulval itch is usually a minor, short-lived nuisance. However, some women may suffer from a vulval itch for years, and may only receive temporary relief from treatment if not correctly diagnosed. See smartphone apps to check your skin. DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice. Itchy vulva — codes and concepts open. Pruritus vulvae, Vulval itching, Itching of vulva, Pruritus of vulva.

Age site specific. Infections, inflammatory dermatoses, neoplasia and neuropathic causes of vulval itch.

Causes of vaginal pruritus

Causes of vaginal pruritus

Causes of vaginal pruritus