Vagina Itching is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptom that occurs as a result of irritation, menopause, infections, or vulvar cancer. Vagina Itching among Nigerian females is not an unusual thing. Daily, Nigerian female health is in danger because of how they are exposed to harsh weather and chemical substances in the skincare products they use. All of these are enough to trigger vagina itching. Plus, the slogan “poison no dey kill black man” is so engraved into us that we feel it is okay to use just any product. If you know that you are always trying to make the vagina smell like perfume, leave it because every vagina should have a smell and yours is not different.
The good news is that vagina itching is not always a bad thing or a cause for alarm. But if you believe that your vagina itching could have an underlying cause, maybe you should plan an appointment with your gynaecologist. Most times, it could be poor hygiene that is making your vagina itch but doesn’t hesitate to call a doctor if it begins to get out of hand.
Causes of Vagina Itching
When you expose your vagina to harmful chemical substances, it can cause itchiness. These substances can trigger an allergic reaction. Forget the narrative of “Africans have no allergies.” Almost every human being, regardless of race, has an allergy. Some common chemical irritants are:
- Feminine sprays
- Scented tissue paper
If you are suffering from diabetes or urinary tract infections, you are most likely going to experience vagina irritation.
2. Skin diseases
Skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis cause itchiness around the genital region. Eczema is a common skin disease in Nigeria but psoriasis? Not so common. Psoriasis is a skin condition where red, itchy flakes grow around an area of the skin. Eczema is a reddish rash that has an itchy scaly texture. It affects people with asthma or allergies. This can spread around a woman’s genital area to cause itchiness
3. Yeast infection
Yeast is a naturally occurring organism in the vagina. The problem begins when it overgrows. What causes this overgrowth? When you take antibiotics which are supposed to get rid of harmful bacteria, it also destroys the good bacteria. The good bacteria is meant to keep the growth of yeast in check but when it is not available, everything that shouldn’t overgrow begins to grow. This can cause itchiness around the vagina.
4. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial Vaginosis is another major cause of vagina Itching. It is similar to yeast infection but it is caused when there is an imbalance between the naturally occurring good bacteria in the vagina and the harmful ones. Most times, this condition is not accompanied by any symptoms. But when the symptoms come, they typically include vagina itching and an abnormal, foul-smelling discharge. Sometimes, the discharge could either be thin and dull gray or white. In some other cases, it is usually foamy.
5. Sexually Transmitted Infections
STIs are contacted when you have unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is already infected. Some of these infections can cause itchiness around the vagina. These conditions can also cause additional symptoms like abnormal growths around the vagina, green or yellow vagina discharge, and pain while urinating. Some of the sexually transmitted infections that can cause itchiness around the vagina are:
- Genital warts
- Genital herpes
Women who are going through or have already gone through menopause are at a higher risk of suffering from vagina itchiness. This is because they have lower levels of estrogen which leads to vagina atrophy or vagina dryness. If it is not treated properly and prevention measures are not put in place, vagina itchiness will occur.
Physical and emotional stress can cause irritation and vagina itching. Though, it is not very common. It might occur when stress weakens your immune system which leaves you more prone to the infections that cause itching.
8. Vulvar Cancer
In very rare cases, vagina itching is a symptom of vulvar cancer. This is a type of cancer that develops in the vulvar which is the external part of the vagina. It includes the outer and inner parts of the vagina, the clitoris, and the opening of the vagina. Vulvar cancer may not always cause symptoms but when symptoms do occur, they may include itching, abnormal bleeding, or pain in the vulvar area. Vulvar cancer can be treated successfully if it is diagnosed early. That is why it is good to go for yearly gynaecological checkups.
When To See A Doctor About Vagina Itching
You are to see a doctor if the vagina itching is severe enough to disrupt your day or your sleep. If your vagina itching persists for more than a week or is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- ulcers or blisters on the vulva
- pain or tenderness in the genital area
- genital redness or swelling
- trouble urinating
- an unusual vaginal discharge
- discomfort during sexual intercourse
Medical Treatment Of Vaginal Itching
After you have been examined by your doctor, here is how you are most likely to be treated. You are going to be treated based on the reason for the vagina itching. But no matter the reason for the vagina itching, don’t panic because it can be managed.
Yeast infections can be treated with antifungal medication. Ointments, pills, or creams can be used. Over-the-counter prescriptions can also be used. But amidst all these, you are not supposed to self-medicate.
BV (Bacterial Vaginosis)
BV is often treated with antibiotics. It could either be in the form of ointments or to be taken orally. Always make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions.
STIs can be treated with antibiotics, antivirals, or antiparasitic. Take your medication regularly and abstain from having sex until the infection is cleared.
Menopause-related vagina itching can be treated with estrogen tablets, creams, or a vagina ring insert.
As a Nigerian female, before you get a doctor’s appointment, you can go to your local pharmacy for steroid creams or lotions to reduce the itchiness and discomfort. Other times, the itchiness will clear on its own.