70 out of 100 women have complained of chronic genital itching at some point in life. The most common conclusion for any vulvar infection or unease is yeast or bacterial infection.Often women take to medications by themselves as the whole idea of genital irritation appears to be extremely humiliating.
However,gynaecologists and doctors all across the world have suggested that there are several other reasons for itchy genitalia. Moreover, taking wrong medications or using any ordinary antibacterial ointment might worsen the condition.
Therefore, women are encouraged to come forward with these intimate issues to ensure proper treatment.
5 causes of vulvar itching in women, apart from yeast infection-
Vulvovaginitis or Vaginitis is a kind of yeast infection that causes inflammation of the vulva or vagina, accompanied by a thick white discharge. According to Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 30% of bacterial vulvovaginitis affects at least 30% of women at some point in their life.
The causes for this are many:
- Certain bacteria like Staphylococcus, Gardnerella and Streptococcus
- Pinworms, lice or scabies
- Irritation caused by constant rubbing of tight synthetic clothes against the vaginal walls
- Use of chemical soaps, sprays and perfumes
- Vaginal contraception
Vulvovaginitis is also prevalent in prepubescent children. Doctors feel the cause to be low level of estrogen. Similarly, this condition is also common among post-menopausal women.
- Genital warts:
Genital warts are uneven soft growths that appear on the vaginal walls.These cause chronic genital itching and a burning sensation. In worse situations, vaginal bleeding has also been reported by patients.
Genital wartsare a sexually transmitted disease, caused by certain strains of HPV (human papillomavirus). Medical researchesshow that almost 50% of those who have sexual intercourse develop genital warts. It is more prevalent in those who:
- Have a history of child abuse
- Whose mothers had viral infection during childbirth
- Have a weakened immunity system
Urethritis is the inflammation of the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the urinary opening. Usually, the bacteria of chlamydia and gonorrhea cause urethritis in women.
However, you must note that urethritis is different from Urinary Tract Infection or UTI. It might occur both in men and women, but the symptoms are more uncomfortable in women.
It causes vulvar itching in women, burning or irritation at the urethral opening and more frequent urge to urinate.
Are you suffering from an external itchy vulva and not an internal itching? Then, it might be dermatitis or inflammation of the skin.
Doctors have often stated that 25% of the time when women complain of chronic genital itching, they do not find an infectious cause. It is most commonly caused by inflammation of the outer vulva or vaginal walls.
The major reason for this is lifestyle choices. Staying in sweaty workout pants, using dull razors, wearing synthetic panties or even very tight pants lead the skin to get continuously rubbed. Because the intimate parts have very delicate and sensitive skin layers, inflammation occurs more easily.
Yes! You heard that right!
Frequent genital itching or infection is also a sign of Type 2 Diabetes. In diabetes, the blood glucose level can go abnormally high which creates the ideal situation for bacterial or yeast infection to thrive and multiply.
If the infection does not seem to cure even after regular treatments, it is advisable to visit a diabetes specialized doctor. If left untreated, it can lead to further diabetic complications.
Moreover, if you are already a diabetic patient and experiencing chronic genital itching, it might be an indication that your blood glucose level is going high.
Estrogen- a lead cause for vulvar itching in female
As mentioned in point 1, dropping level of estrogen is a leading cause of chronic genital itchiness in women. Consequently, post-menopausal women are at the highest risk of contracting postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis. While vaginal atrophy is widespread, only 20% women seek medical help.
Without estrogen, the vaginal walls start thinning and drying out. The moisture in the vulvar area creates a thin line like protection from harmful foreign particles. When this starts drying out, the risk of infection increases multiple times.
Moreover, atrophy leads to changes in the acidic environment of the vaginal area, making it susceptible to bacterial, yeast or viral infections. This,as a result,causesvulvar irritation, burning sensation,and itching in women.
Want health? Think hygiene!
More than estrogen levels, another primary cause of vaginal infections is poor personal hygiene. Most doctors feel that post-puberty, girls should be given a thorough training in the do’s and don’ts of genitalhygiene. It will help to bring down by large percentage those whosuffer from chronic vulvar infection or itchiness.
What is the solution?
While vulvar itchiness can be as minor as dermatitis, it can also get as severe as vulvar cancer. Therefore, the best solution is to visit a doctor or a gynecologist (to be more specific) at the earliest. Depending on the nature of your infection, you will be prescribed a few courses of antibiotics and anti-allergens.
There are also innumerable varieties of intimate care goodies available to keep your nether area clean and dry.
Additional to that, here are a few preventive measures all women must abide by to avoid genital infection.
- Washing underwear regularly with detergents and antiseptic liquids.
- Avoiding wearing pants that are too tight to cause friction.
- Avoiding using blunt razors to shave pubic hair. Also, razors are a part of personal hygiene. DO NOT SHARE YOUR RAZOR.
- Using V-wipes and V-washes.
- Avoiding using perfumes or deodorant sprays near the genitalia area.
- Ensuring protected sex to avoid contraction of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs).
Following these will surely help you prevent chronic genital itching!
This goes out to all women – thereis no shame in developing agenital infection. It is as normal as catching cold or flu. Seek the help you need and be actively verbal about your problem.
Once you reach out for help, you will find ten other helping hands stretched out in your direction!