5 Reasons Why Your Crotch Itches

It’s incredibly uncomfortable—and can be downright worrisome—when your nether regions are itchy. The good news is that there are a few simple explanations for why you may have vaginal itching, along with some easy remedies. “Most of the time when women experience itching in the pubic region, it is the vulva, or the area around the vagina, that is affected,” explains Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale Medical School. While vulvar itching is a common issue, Dr. Minkin adds, “these problems are seldom worrisome or dangerous, although they’re quite annoying.”

Here are the top five reasons for vulvar itching and how to nix them:

1. Yeast Infection. The normal pH of the vagina is below 4.7, which is on the acidic side of the pH scale. Usually, our body’s lactobacilli bacteria—the good kind of bacteria that help maintain acidity—keep yeast away. But when the vagina loses acidity, yeast can build up on the vulva, causing an infection. This often happens when women take antibiotics, which wipes out all bacteria including the good kind, and aren’t taking a probiotic simultaneously to replenish the supply. Yeast also multiplies in warm, moist environments, making your vulva the perfect location to set up shop. The result is cottage cheese-like discharge and itchiness around the labia or tissues around the vaginal opening.

Treatment: If this is your first yeast infection or if you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your primary care physician to get checked out. If you’ve had yeast infections in the past and are experiencing those all-too-familiar symptoms, apply an anti-fungal over-the-counter cream like Gyne-Lotrimin or Monistat to the affected area for several days. To reduce irritation, dab on some topical 1 percent hydrocortisone on the vulva or take an Epsom salt bath. Yeast feed on sugar, so cut sugary foods out of your diet for a while. If the itching doesn’t improve after three to four days, you may have something other than a yeast infection at play and need to see your gynecologist.

2. Vulvitis. This is a general term that can include contact dermatitis or general irritation of the vulva. The most common reason for irritation is that women either scrub that area too hard when bathing or use harsh soaps or other products such as bubble baths or vaginal deodorants that contain fragrance or perfumes, which inflame the vulva. “Remember, the vulva is the most sensitive skin on the body, so be delicate with it,” warns Dr. Minkin. Other culprits include toilet paper with irritating dyes or spending a prolonged period of time in sweaty gym clothing or a wet bathing suit.

Treatment: Use only warm water to wash your genitals. If you must use soap, choose Dove White or Neutrogena, which are very gentle to the skin. Rinse the area and pat dry. Use only white toilet paper and ditch vaginal deodorants.

READ MORE: Vaginal Dryness 101

3. Douching. Let’s cut to the chase here: Douching is dangerous. It messes with the vagina’s delicate pH balance by washing away good bacteria, and it may also carry dangerous bacteria further up the canal. In fact, douching predisposes you to bacterial vaginosis and the odor that comes along with it. And it’s drying.

Treatment: Two words: Stop douching. Your vagina is a self-cleaning oven that rarely needs your help if you don’t mess with it.

4. A Skin Condition. Some common skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can cause itchiness in the vulvar region.

Treatment: If you have a chronic skin condition and your itching doesn’t subside in a few days, contact your primary care physician or dermatologist for an exam and treatment recommendations. Certain medications can help mitigate the itching and bring on relief. For example, for psoriasis affecting the vulva, using a low-strength topical corticosteroid for a limited period of time and applying a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer on the affected area can help.

5. An STD. Don’t panic just yet: Minkin explains that itching as the result of a sexually transmitted infection is rare. That’s because many STDs have no symptoms at all and if they do, they tend to present with symptoms of pain rather than itching. However, occasionally people who have a recurring STD may experience itching in the vulvar region.

Treatment: If the itch continues for several days and none of the above methods are helping, avoid sexual contact and see your primary care physician to diagnose the problem and prescribe medication for the STD.

READ MORE: On Dating With Herpes

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  • Isabelle Lactar

    I don’t normally comment on articles, but I have an experience I’d like to share that will hopefully help others in a similar position as myself. I’ve had yeast infections problem over 2 years. I tried everything, of course I went to the DR. about a hundred times, probably not that many, but it sure seems like it. It never did any good for long and caused all kinds of other issues having to do with taking too many antibiotics. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this natural remedy
    ( TINYURL.COM/Treat-yeast-naturally ), that my life changed completely. I’m feeling so much better now, my quality of life returned and every one of the symptoms had gone.

  • Jasmine gyuro

    So am young and only 16 I don’t have any of those effects just I wash my vagina alot and now I feel itchy and once I wear no underwear it stops is it bcuz I keep washing it and not giving it air?? I wash it alot with summers eve vagina wash.?

    • Carrissa

      That summers eve vagina wash can cause irritation down there too..

      • Jasmine gyuro

        Thank you (:

    • Jinnae

      I stopped wearing underwear and the itching slowed to stop. the elastic bothers my skin. Also I only use die free perfume free laundry soap and that does wonders.

    • Lorrie

      It’s avtually not good to douche, doctors say you should use mild soap like dove white or Neutrogena. You shouldn’t wash to much, taking a daily shower should be enough and make sure you don’t scrub

      • Calvin – Marcia HomemadeProduc

        I haven’t in a while, douche, but when I do I use vinegar and water. That is what a doctor told me before, because the vinegar is good for you.

  • Were vamp

    Jasmine why do you wash ur vag so much? Use a different face towel each time you wash & don’t use the same wash cloth or loufa u use on ur body or feet to wash ur vag, also use a separate towel (hand towel or smaller) to dry with too. only use vag wash like summers eve once a day if that, maybe once every couple of days & don’t use anything but water the days in between. Soap makes mine smell weird & worse sometimes (coz of the perfume) so I just use water & wash with Femfresh once a week or when I feel I may need to balance the ph levels.

    I’ve had itching most of my life since teens. Back then I had something similar to psoriasis spot above my clit in pubic region but it went away after a while.

    I still get itchy there & when I scratch there & my lips it feels better than sex!! It was worse before but I change toilet paper coz I found I was itching more using certain types & as I vagscape I also find I get really itchy when hair is growing back.. But I know it’s not an STD as I’m not sexually active & haven’t been in years but it does get rather annoying scratching the absolute bageezus outta my cooch & enjoying it. I had to wear socks on my hands as mittens to try stop the urge. The last couple of days I’ve smashed some chocolate so the sugar intake could be making me itchy but it not thrush I don’t get the symptoms just itchy cooch /:

    Anyone else?

    • Christina Shottie Patterson

      YES I have although I have been sexual active… but the only symptoms I’ve been getting is the itching I dont got a burn, or weird discharge It started after my period.

    • Calvin – Marcia HomemadeProduc

      I completely understanding about good it feels when you break down, and itch, good substitution for sex. It has so bad a few times, I have itched till I made myself real sore. I have no insurance to go to any doctor, so what is some good suggestions on taking care of this issue. I don’t have the symptoms of any infection, yet. I use a good vaginal wash. You almost want did this, but then again, you know you have to before something does become wrong.

  • Fluff

    Ok so here is my itchy story. I know this may sound super weird. So about a month ago I started experiencing this itching. Well my boyfriend at the time was a cheater and he told me well maybe you need to go get tested. So I went and got tested. Everything came back and I didn’t have anything at all. So my doctor prescribed me some medicine and I went on but the itching kept coming back. So I went on a cruise a couple weeks after my doctors appt. I did not experience the itching I was my happy go lucky self for about 5 days. Well then I get back home shower at home and guess what yep the itching came back. I haven’t had sex in a month now so I went back to my doctor and she told me that I cannot have a STD if I am not having sex. So I started freaking out. Well then I said let me think on this; I stopped taking showers and started doing wash offs on the top of my body and then only using feminine wipes for my vagina no itching. So is it safe to say that there maybe something in the water at my house that is causing the itching? Has anybody went through this before. I am on an outside of the city limits country water supply; that constantly has issues with their water and I believe this may be my problem. I just hate to keep going to the doctor and they can’t fix it. I don’t use harsh soaps or nothing like that because I know I am sensitive in that area. Please help me out.

    • Christina Shottie Patterson

      Your story is very similar to my story

      • Fluff

        Lol I finally figure out my itching problem. It was the cheap tissue I was using oh and cheap pads. I can only use angel soft tissue and always pads. I am better now unless I go somewhere and use the restroom and they have cheap tissue. Most of the time I keep tissue in my car. Lol people look at me crazy because I carry around my own tissue. Lol

        • CamryGurl

          Wow. Something to consider

  • Chanel Aerielle

    Also, women can get jock itch! I don’t think this information is shared enough. None of the feminine care companies offer products for women’s jock itch. Most of the products just mask the irritation and you have to keep purchasing the same temporary solutions. Grab some jock itch spray for men and clear it up for good.

  • Robyn Gilll

    I am only 11 years old. I am not a women but my “area” is super itchy on the inside and it won’t go away!

    • Lorrie

      Robyn gilll you should talk to your mom so she can take you to a doctor to get checked where you are so young. ITS BEST to be safe