The vaginal itch - an itch you can’t scratch

Best way to handle an itchy vagina? By being informed. 

First of all, vaginal itching is much more common than many realize – nothing to be embarrassed about. Most people will experience it at some point in their lives, so it's helpful to know the possible reasons behind it.  

Many experience temporary irritation due to changes in hormones during certain times of the month. Think about it: vaginas have to have an almost perfect balance of bacteria (wait, did you say bacteria!? Yes, we did) to function properly. When that balance gets out of whack, there are many different reasons for feeling like you’ve got ants in your pants. There's a few things to consider.

 

To clean or not to clean? 

The simple answer is: No. The vagina has a delicate pH balance which means that using vaginal washes and wipes, douching and any other vaginal cleaning products can alter its natural balance, leading to possible irritation and itching. 

The vagina is self-cleaning (unlike your home), meaning that it does not require any products to keep itself healthy and clean. Make sure to use fresh, breathable cotton underwear and ensure the vulva is kept dry after sweating to help prevent bacteria building up. 

 

Hello, Bacterial Vaginosis. 

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an imbalance between the naturally occurring good and bad bacteria in your vagina. When your vagina’s bacterial levels are balanced, the harmful bacteria is fought off by the good bacteria. When you have more baddies than good, your vagina can’t do its job of staying balanced, which can lead to itching, burning and fishy odor. 

Attention please: having BV can make you more prone to contracting an STI. If you think you might have bacterial vaginosis you should see a doctor right away and be sure to use protection during sex, to reduce your risk of getting an STI. 

To answer a popular question about bacterial vaginosis, no, you cannot get it from toilet seats or a swimming pool. Whew.

 

Yeast infection, is that you? 

Candidiasis, in other words yeast infection or thrush, is a common ailment, which is likely to occur in everyone at least once in a lifetime. It is caused by a fungus which thrives in warm, moist conditions, and can be triggered by sex or simply - menstruation. 

Although occasionally there are no symptoms at all, symptoms include an itchy vagina and/or vulva, chunky vaginal discharge and swelling and soreness around the opening of the vagina. The triggering factor for causing infection is not always recognized, but, for example, antibiotics, pregnancy, as well as extensive use of non-breathable panty liners and pads can play their part. Also artificial fibers and tight underwear predispose to infection. 

Since the symptoms of yeast infection are also similar to many other diseases, such as sexually transmitted diseases or infections, over-the-counter medication should be carefully considered, especially if the yeast infection occurs for the first time. 

 

Vagina grooming 

Vagina beautification. Vajazzle. Douching. Call it whatever, it’s worth remembering that your choice of pubic grooming could be the cause of your vaginal itching. We all know the skin of the vulva and inside the vagina is incredibly sensitive; using harsh products on sensitive tissue can cause burning, irritation, redness and itching. We suggest you give your hoo-haa a break - all vagina's are beautiful and perfect just the way they are.

 

STDs 

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases, passed through sexual contact like intercourse, or oral sex. They can spread quickly and can also lead to permanent reproductive damage. 

In many cases, there will be no symptoms at all - 70% of people infected with chlamydia, for example, will not show any obvious signs or symptoms or they may be very mild. 

When there are symptoms of STDs, they will vary depending on the type of disease. Genital herpes can cause severe irritation, while other STDs can include skin rash, bumps or sores, unusual bleeding, swelling or redness on or around the vagina, change in discharge and weight loss.  

If there is a chance of having an STD, it is important to get an examination and a sexual health test. There’s no need to be embarrassed and it’s recommended that any sexually active person has regular sexual health tests! 

 

Hormonal changes 

Throughout your menstrual cycle hormonal changes take place in the body. A few days before your period, progesterone levels decrease and estrogen levels increase again to prepare your ovaries for the next cycle of ovulation. If the estrogen levels don’t increase quickly enough you may experience some vaginal dryness and itchiness. However, this should disappear after a few days.  

When experiencing an itchy vagina, the first thing you need to do is visit your doctor so they can rule out a bacterial or yeast infection. If you’re in the clear, it’s time to look at other environmental factors that could be causing irritation.  

 

Keeping pH levels in check – and itch at bay! 

Menstrual cups can help maintain a healthy vaginal pH - especially since the Lunette cup wont dry you out. The medical-grade silicone used in Lunette is FDA approved, hypoallergenic, toxin-free, durable, and isn't harmful to human tissue!  

Some conventional period products contain materials & toxic chemicals which can dry and disturb your vagina’s pH balance, leading to possible infections, thrush or bacterial vaginosis.  

So, why don't you do your vagina a favor and get a Lunette Cup today

 

Want to talk more about cup use? Come say Hi on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @LunetteCup 

 

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