When it comes to women’s bodies, the most delicate areas often demand extra attention. Vaginal itching can be a source of discomfort and concern. However, understanding vaginal itch causes and treatments can lead to effective relief. Valentina Milanova, a women’s health expert and founder of gynecological health startup Daye, says there are five top culprits to that unwelcome itch.

Potential Vaginal Itch Causes

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Milanova says BV is a common infection caused by an imbalance in the vaginal microbiome.

“An overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis, a pathogen associated with BV, can lead to irritation and discomfort,” she explained.

Yeast Infections (Thrush)

Yeast infections can occur when there’s an overgrowth of Candida in the vaginal area.

“This overgrowth can cause itching and irritation, making it essential to recognize the symptoms early for prompt treatment,” Milanova said.

Low Levels of Lactobacilli

Lactobacilli is known as the friendly bacteria in the vaginal microbiome. It plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and acidic pH levels.

“When their levels are low, vaginal itching can occur due to an imbalance in the microbiome,” the expert said.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Milanova warns that STIs such as chlamydia, trichomoniasis, or gonorrhea can all contribute to vaginal itching.

“It’s vital to seek specific treatments based on the infection type and undergo antimicrobial resistance testing to ensure efficacy,” she said.

Chemical Irritants

Chemical irritants found in vaginal soaps, washes, and even menstrual products can trigger itching.

“Identifying and avoiding these irritants is crucial for restoring comfort and vaginal health,” Milanova emphasized.

Treatment Options

“It’s crucial to understand which pathogen is causing your symptoms to tailor treatment effectively,” she explained. “Prescribed antibiotics or antifungal medications are effective for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.”

Milanova stresses the significance of personalized vaginal itch treatments based on the underlying cause.

“It’s important to identify irritants in your environment to avoid potential triggers. For itchiness due to menopause and vaginal dryness, hormonal therapies may provide some relief,” Milanova added.

For STIs, specific treatments are necessary, along with antimicrobial resistance testing,

Some women opt to try natural remedies before taking medicine. Milanova shares that they may help.

“While natural remedies like probiotic supplements and dietary adjustments may offer relief, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider,” Milanova advised. “Probiotic-rich foods, vitamin C, and vitamin D supplements can support the body’s natural defenses against vaginal infections.”

She says it’s equally important to assist your body after being prescribed meds to combat vaginal problems.

“If prescribed antibiotics or antifungals, investing in boosting your gut and vaginal microbiome afterward is essential,” she adds.

Diet and Lifestyle Tips

Maintaining a balanced diet low in sugar and rich in probiotic foods is key to supporting vaginal health.

“Overconsuming sugar can increase your risk of yeast infections,” Milanova cautioned. “Choosing breathable cotton underwear and avoiding scented products can prevent irritation.”

She also warns against wearing tight clothing specifically after physical activity.

“Changing out of tight clothing after workouts and opting for loose, breathable attire can create an environment less conducive to bacterial growth,” Milanova concluded.

By understanding the root causes of vaginal itching and adopting targeted strategies for relief, you can reclaim comfort and confidence in your intimate health.