Vaginal itching: Just due to inflammation or also due to other causes?

Vaginal itching: Just due to inflammation or also due to other causes?
Photo source: Getty images

Often it is a sign of a minor illness, an infection, or just a bad ratio of the body's own bacteria. Hormonal changes can also be responsible. Gynaecological examination is important.

Itching in the vagina can be a symptom of an infection, an inflammatory disease in or around the vagina. Sometimes it is even a symptom of a skin infection or other disease.

Itching in the private part is not necessarily caused only by an inflammatory or other disease. There are also situations when it is the result of a trivial cause.

This symptom should not be underestimated, especially if there are other symptoms besides itching. They may occur directly on the vagina or in its surrounding environment.

Likewise, it is a good idea to be alert if one notices certain physiological changes and deterioration in other parts of the body.

Inflammation as a cause of itching

a woman has pain in the genital area, itching of the vagina, inflammation of the vagina, pain in the area and in the lower abdomen
In addition to itching, there is also unpleasant pain. Photo: Thinkstock photos

As the most common cause of itching in the vagina is counted inflammation. Infectious cause is diverse. The main causative agents of trouble include viruses, bacteria, yeast.

The viral cause may take the form of herpes genitalis (genital herpes), where, in addition to itching, skin manifestations are also associated. It is dangerous mainly during pregnancy. It is classified as a sexually transmitted disease.

Another viral infection is genital warts (Condylomata accuminata), caused by HPV (human papillomavirus).

Bacterial infections are most often caused by streptococcus, staphylococcus, but also E. coli, enterococci, chlamydia trachomatis, neisseria gonorrhoeae. Typically, there is also a problem with urination.

Inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis) is manifested by redness, sensitive skin, itching in the groin and also swelling. If the inflammation spreads to deeper layers, phlegmon or abscess may develop.

Inflammation of the Bartholini gland occurs as a blockage of the gland's duct. The risk is the formation of an abscess. There is pain on walking, itching, fever, swelling in the area. Mycoplasma infection is also an example. It is most often transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Itching of the vagina, but also itching of the surrounding skin, can occur very often with mycosis. Cutaneous candidiasis is common, especially in areas with higher humidity and insufficient air supply, including the genitals.

Read also: article about fungus on fingers and nails.

In this case, the skin may also have a redder colour. The itching is quite intense and vaginal discharge may also be present.

Itching of the vagina is typical for a yeast infection of the vagina. This disease is extremely widespread. Up to three out of four women are affected at least once in their lifetime. Its symptoms are much more serious and unpleasant in women than in men.

The infection is caused by a yeast known as Candida albicans. The most typical symptom is itching in the vagina. But in addition to this, white vaginal discharge and burning in the vagina can also be observed.

The infection can spread to the uterus, the most important sexual organ in women. It affects various parts of the uterus, including the cervix, from the lining of the body of the uterus to its musculature. Many women experience vaginal itching between the labia.

Pain in the lower abdomen, when urinating and bleeding outside the normal menstrual cycle are also characteristic. Often, a purulent and smelly vaginal discharge appears as a complication.

Sexually transmitted diseases

man and woman in bed in a love position
Frequent sexual partner changes are a high risk of STD transmission. Photo: Thinkstock photos

Sexually transmitted diseases are a very common cause. Sexual intercourse is responsible for up to 75% of the spread of mycoplasma, as is the case with gonorrhoea.

This is caused by the aforementioned bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Interestingly, it does not occur in the wild. Gonococcus is very sensitive to the external environment. Only humans are its source.

Chlamydia infection is also a sexually transmitted disease. It is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. It can cause conjunctivitis and blindness.

Itching is present in this case not only in the vagina but also in the urethra. Many women also experience burning and pain in the lower abdomen. In most cases, treatment is quick and is done with antibiotics.

With itching of the vagina and rectum, it is necessary to think about other sexually transmitted diseases. These include the already mentioned herpes genitalis, but also genital warts.

Syphilis can be another source of trouble. This sexually transmitted disease is characterised by the development of an ulcer. Its early treatment will prevent late complications. The worst complication is brain damage and death.

Lymphogranuloma venereum is also an ulcerative disease. Its causative agent is chlamydia. This disease is mainly prevalent in Asia, Africa and South America.

It is important to think about this disease in case there is itching after sexual intercourse. And in case it was unprotected or with an unknown partner.

The topic is also addressed in a magazine article on the threat of changing sexual partners.

Itching can also be caused by parasitic diseases such as scabies. Another type is the pubic louse, known as filthy lice. Both are caused by intimate intercourse or inadequately cleaned bed linen.

In urinary tract infections

In women, it is common for inflammation of the genital tract to be associated with inflammation of the urethra and bladder. This is due to the anatomical location of the urethra.

Several inflammatory diseases can also manifest with itching, for example, urinary tract inflammation. Here, in the case of women, itching in the urethra is typical. If it is transmitted, itching at the vagina or itching in the vagina also appears.

It is important that the infection in this area is treated in time. There is a risk of the infection progressing to the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and abdominal cavity and pelvis. It can also be accompanied by its ascent to the bladder and kidneys.

These serious complications threaten a woman's health and also her life. In addition to renal dysfunction, a woman's sexual and reproductive system may be impaired. Frequent and recurrent infections lead to infertility.


Cancer can also occur in low numbers. These are mainly cancers of the vagina and vulva. In both, itching in or near the vagina may be present. They are most common in old age.

Diseases outside the private parts

Apart from infection and sexually transmitted diseases, other diseases should also be thought of. The main representative is diabetes. Diabetes mellitus in particular is characterized by complications throughout the body.

These include frequent infections. Infections of the skin in the female genital area and the resulting itching are also examples. In addition to infection, diabetes also damages nerve endings, which may also be related.

In addition to diabetes, Crohn's disease can also be involved in itching. Psoriasis can also be hidden behind itching. Sometimes it is a consequence of psychological problems. Itching in the vagina without discharge occurs mainly.

Another cause may be a weakened immunity. In addition to other causes, the sexually transmitted disease AIDS should also be thought of. In any case, examination is important. Both the general practitioner and the gynaecologist, as well as the immunologist, work together in the detection.

Other causes of vaginal itching

a woman in a white dress is holding her crotch, her lower abdomen hurts and her intimate area itches
Itching can also be caused by a weakened microflora. Photo: Thinkstock photos

Vaginal itching also occurs after taking medication. Vaginal itching is common after antibiotics and when taking corticosteroids. Medications such as antibiotics have the effect of disrupting the body's own microbial flora, which has a protective role.

When self-protection is disrupted, foreign bacteria, yeasts and viruses and pathogenic strains of lactobacilli come to the fore and gain strength. Therefore, early support with probiotics is advisable.

Frequent hygiene also leads to a disruption of the own microbial culture. When performing intimate hygiene, it is also important to think about the use of the right products for intimate hygiene and especially clean water.

In summer, infections are common after swimming in a pool, natural reservoir, pond or lake. Shaving the area can also cause itching in the intimate area.

Read more.

Allergies are also another cause. When you change your toiletries, laundry detergent, but also when you buy underwear. It is the same with the use of airless underwear that is made of artificial fibers.

Tango panties cause the transfer of bacteria from the rectum to the genital area. Anal intercourse is also a risk. Penetration of the rectum and then vaginal intercourse ensure the transfer of microbial flora from the digestive tract to the vagina.

Urinary incontinence results in irritation of the skin and the surrounding area of the vagina and causes itching of the area. It is important to bear in mind the possible complications and frequent skin inflammation and associated urinary and genital tract infections.

Hormonal changes are also one of the causes, especially during the menopause. An example is also the itching in the vagina before menstruation. Hormonal changes occur in the same way and can manifest themselves in this way.

Itching in the vagina during pregnancy

Pregnancy is also characterised by a number of changes in the body. One of these is the change in pH in the vagina. This can be a source of overgrowth of bacteria that occur naturally there.

As a result of this overgrowth, itching occurs, as well as discharge. Itching in the vagina and discharge can indicate an overgrowth of bacteria if the discharge is grey-white in colour. If the discharge is yellow-white, it is probably a yeast infection.

Can vaginal itching be taken as a sign of pregnancy? If you have no other midwife advice, yes. Based on the hormonal changes mentioned, it occurs in pregnancy.

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An objective result will be given by a pregnancy test. But a clearly objective result whether you are pregnant or not will be given by a gynaecologist.

During pregnancy, these inflammations are common. However, a gynecological examination is needed, because it may not be only this cause. Neglecting it could have a negative effect on the pregnant woman and the fetus as well.

Is home treatment of vaginal itching appropriate?

If the cause of the itching is insignificant or minor, then yes. But beware, in case of insufficient treatment there is a risk of complications. Therefore, if the problem persists and especially if accompanying symptoms occur, a professional examination is advisable.

In addition to itching, warning signs may be present:

  • pain in the vagina
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • pain when urinating (burning, cutting)
  • discolouration of the discharge (yellow, green, brown, white)
  • smell of discharge
  • increased body temperature, fever
  • vaginal bleeding
  • blood in the urine
  • painful intercourse, but also pain after it
  • redness of the mucous membranes and skin
  • swelling in the area
  • rashes, skin changes

Itching in the vagina in children

a young girl sitting on a swing, with a neutral look, blue eyes
Early screening is needed for young girls. Photo: Thinkstock photos

Inflammations of the vagina and vulva are also present in the childhood period. They occur in a small proportion already in newborns. Bacterial infections represent the main crowd, until puberty.

Otherwise, there is a risk of irritation of the skin and genitals with moisture, which also favours the multiplication of microorganisms.

After hormonal activation, infections of fungal origin and a parasite called trichomoniasis also occur. Young girls may complain of itching in the vagina because of this.

As in adulthood, it is necessary to think about diabetes or Crohn's disease or psoriasis. As well as itching of the vagina and its surroundings after antibiotics.

In some cases, itching is a complication of scarlet fever, tonsillitis, pneumonia. But most often with urinary tract infections. You know dandruff?

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