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What Causes Vaginal Itching?


Updated August 10, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Question: What Causes Vaginal Itching?
There are many conditions that can cause vaginal itching, some of which are sexually transmitted diseases and some of which are not. Vaginal itching can also be caused by irritation from soaps, tampons, pads and even by some vaginal medications! If you suffer from vaginal itching, only a doctor can diagnose the cause , but it can be helpful to recognize the diseases that most often cause an itchy vagina.
  • Yeast Infections are one of the most common causes of vaginal itching, but they are generally not considered to be sexually transmitted diseases. They can be transmitted from person to person, but far more often are caused by dietary, hormonal, or other issues that make a woman more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis is another common cause of vaginal itching, and the itching is often accompanied by runny vaginal discharge and a fishy odor after sex. Like yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis is not always considered to be sexually transmitted, but it is clearly associated with sex
  • Trichomoniasis, like bacterial vaginosis, also causes a change in vaginal discharge along with a strong vaginal odor and vaginal itching. Unlike bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections, it is clearly sexually transmitted, although it rarely causes symptoms in men.
  • Mycoplasma Genitalium is one of the bacteria that is associated with bacterial vaginosis infection, but it is occasionally also diagnosed on its own. It's most common symptom is vaginal itching and discharge, but like many STDs it often causes no symptoms at all.

    Other STDs That Cause Itching Around the Genitals

  • Pubic Lice are little bugs, like scalp lice, that like to nest in the pubic area. Their main symptoms are itching and visible lice or nits.
  • Scabies is an infestation, like pubic lice, but the symptoms are slightly different. In addition to itching, people often get pimple-like bumps and a skin rash that can become infected if individuals scratch too much.
  • Molluscum Contagiosum causes raised fluid-filled bumps on the skin that are usually painless, but that can also cause itching and discomfort. It is important to avoid scratching the bumps, however, because doing so can cause the disease to spread or your skin to become infected by other bacteria.
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