When your vulva and surrounding genital areas get itchy, it can be highly unpleasant. Occasional vulvar itching happens to nearly all women, but if your itching occurs regularly or won’t go away, that might indicate you have a condition that needs treatment.
Vulvar itching can occur for a variety of reasons, and whether the cause is routine or more unusual, relief is available. Our skilled team of OB/GYNs at Women's Health Associates of Southern Nevada, Northwest in Las Vegas, Nevada, explains what you can expect if you’re experiencing recurring vulvar itching.
The external areas around your vagina are called the vulva. Your vulva includes your labia majora and labia minora (or vulvar lips), vaginal opening, and clitoris.
Your vulva also has nerves and glands that help your vagina lubricate. The skin folds and other areas making up your vulva tend to be quite sensitive.
Experiencing frequent vulvar itching isn’t uncommon. And the causes of acute or chronic vulvar itching can be wide-ranging.
Sometimes, your vulvar itching can be a result of a skin condition in the area, like eczema, contact dermatitis, or psoriasis. You can also experience allergic reactions that irritate your vulva or develop vulvitis, which uncomfortably inflames your vulva.
Infections are another common cause of vulvar itching. Yeast infections make your vulva itch while also producing white discharge and a burning sensation, and bacterial vaginosis can make your vulva itchy and inflamed. Some sexually transmitted infections cause itching as well.
You’re also more likely to experience vulvar itching if you’ve gone through menopause. Menopause makes you more prone to a condition called vaginal atrophy, which causes uncomfortable itching as a result of your vagina walls drying out and losing elasticity.
In rare cases, vulvar itching can indicate you have lichen sclerosus, which causes patches or lesions to form on your vulva, or vulvar cancer.
Make an appointment with our team at WHASN - NW if your vaginal itching is causing enough discomfort that it disrupts your daily routines, sleep, or continues for more than a week. You should also come in for an evaluation if your vulva is swollen, red, painful, has ulcers or blisters, you experience vaginal discharge, or you have difficulty urinating.
Most causes of vulvar itching aren’t serious, but it’s important to treat any underlying conditions or infections causing it, and our team offers treatments that provide lasting relief.
During your appointment, our providers usually ask you about your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam. They might also perform testing on your vulvar skin tissue, vaginal discharge, or urine. This helps determine if you have an infection or allergy.
Our team recommends a personalized treatment course after determining the cause of your vulvar itching. For skin conditions and allergies, they might prescribe skin creams to reduce your discomfort and advise you in avoiding products and clothing that irritate your vulva.
Yeast infections are treated with antifungal medication, while bacterial vaginosis and most STDs can be treated with antibiotics. If you’re experiencing itching as a result of menopause, hormonal creams and pills or the non-hormonal MonaLisa Touch® can provide relief.
If you’re experiencing vulvar itching that’s driving you crazy, help is available at WHASN - NW. To schedule a consultation, request an appointment online, or call our office today.