What Causes Itchy Vulva and Labia?

Vulvar itching is a common feminine problem. Vulva is the external part of a woman's genital organ and more often than not, it is mistaken for a vagina. Vulva is made up of the following organ surrounding the vagina:

Any irritation, infection, allergy, inflammation and cancer of the vulval parts can result in vulvar itching, sometimes itchy labia. The itch may be mild and short lasting, but often persistents and is mostly felt at night, causing sleep disturbance.

Allergy and irritation of the skin may be attributable to exposure to irritants like products relative to feminine hygiene, lubricants, soap, douches, perfumes, creams, and latex.

Symptoms of vulvar itching (or pruritus vulvae) include itching, stinging, or burning sensation. The vulva may appear swollen and red at times.

Causes of Vulvar Itching

There are various conditions that can cause vulvar itching, which can be classified as follows: 

Infections

CAUSES

DESCRIPTION

SYMPTOMS

Thrush

Thrush is an infection resulting from an increased presence in the vagina of the fungus called Candida albicans affecting the natural balance of the hormone and bacteria of the vagina.

  • Mainly soreness or itching, getting worse a week before menstruation or a period
  • Slight discharge similar to a cottage cheese and has no foul smell

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a disease that is sexually transmitted. It is caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex.

Blisters in the affected area which develop into ulcers within the 5th to 14th day.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is an infection resulting from the spread of a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis via sexual contact.

  • Itch in the inner thighs
  • Pain or discomfort during intercourse
  • Greenish-yellow discharge that is thin and foamy
  • Vulvar itching
  • Swelling of the "lips" or the labia or itchy labia
  • Foul odor coming from the vagina

Pubic Lice

Parasite called "crabs" that thrive in pubic hair.

  • Itching arouns the vagina
  • Crab eggs or nits that are yellow or white
  • Dark spots on your pubic area

Tinea Cruris

Tinea Cruris, also known as jock itch is a fungal infection or ringworm in the groin.

  • Itching in groin, anus or skin folds in the thigh
  • Raised scaly red patches
  • Itching, rashes, sores, thin lines on the skin

Scabies

A skin disease brought about by tiny mites.

  • Off-white discharge with fishy odor
  • Mild itch

Bacterial Vaginosis

Mild infection caused by an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the vagina.

  • Yellow or grayish white vaginal discharge with fishy smell
  • Some may not have any symptoms

 

Skin Conditions

CAUSES

DESCRIPTION

SYMPTONS

Psoriasis

A common condition that involves intense itchiness especially in the genital area and may reach the groin and anus.

Painful cracks and redness of skin

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis

A chronic condition marked by an inflammation and itching of the skin.

Persistent itching

Lichen Sclerosus

Another chronic disorder of the skin characterized by extreme itchiness of the vulva thereby resulting in changes in skin of the genitals.

Intense itching, including itchy labia

Lichen Planus

A skin disorder that can lead to vulval cancer. This condition may affect other body parts as well especially the mouth, hands and shins.

Discomfort during sex accompanied by bleeding and pain

Lichen Simplex

Similar to Sclerosus, Simplex is a chronic condition that involves scratching, itching and thickening of skin

Itching and thickening of the skin

Vulval Intraepithelial Neoplasia

A skin disorder affecting older women resulting from skin abnormalities. This condition can likewise develop into cancer of the vulval skin.

Itching in small areas only

 

Cancerous Skin Disorder

As mentioned in the previous discussions, some of the causes of vulvar itching may develop into vulvar cancer. Vulval cancer is characterized by a presence of sore or lump in the vulva that can cause itchiness. Although it can affect women of all ages, vulval cancer is mostly examined in older women. Symptoms may involve the following:

Others

Home Reliefs for Vulvar itching

First and foremost, it is best to consult your doctor or gynecologist for the proper treatment of vulvar itching. Self-treatment can sometimes aggravate the condition.

There are, however, measures that can be taken to ease or lessen vulvar itching as well as itchy labia.

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