Fact-Checked By : Dr. Tara Scott, OB-GYN
Everyone gets an itch down there once in a while. An itchy vagina is completely normal, and most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. But after fighting the urge to itch for a few days, it’s time to take action. Whether it’s your actual vagina that’s itching or the area around your vagina and vulva, home remedies can help provide some much-needed relief.
Even though it might be tempting to jump to yeast infection as an explanation, it’s not the only cause of vaginal itching.
While some types of itching can be treated with home remedies, if your itching is persistent, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN. It can be frustrating to figure out why you’re feeling the urge to itch, so here’s a guide to help you do some detective work—and take care of it for good.
Causes Of Vaginal Itching
There are countless (totally normal and treatable) reasons why you might experience an itchy vulva, including:
Bacterial Vaginosis: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by bacterial overgrowth and pH imbalance in the vagina, which can “interfere with the natural pH of the vagina and cause itching, inflammation, and unwanted smells,” according to psychosexual expert Jacqui Olliver.
Shaving Irritation: If you shave regularly, you’re probably already aware that your bikini area is extra sensitive to razor burn and irritation. Especially if you have coarser hair down there, you’re at a higher risk for razor bumps and ingrown hair, since it’s easier for thicker hair to get caught under the skin’s surface.
Yeast Infection: Yeast infections, which are an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, are typically the first thing people think of when it comes to vaginal itching. Yeast infection symptoms include a cottage cheese-like discharge, redness, irritation, and itching.
Hormonal Changes: “Hormonal imbalances—such as menopause or quitting hormonal birth control after a long time—can result in estrogen deficiency, which causes thinning of the vaginal lining and leads to itching and dryness,” according to Dr. Adeeti Gupta, OB-GYN and women’s health expert.
Eczema: In some cases, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can flare up due to allergies or autoimmune issues. There are a few different types of eczema that could cause an itchy vulva, including atopic eczema and allergic contact eczema. Psoriasis can also present on the skin surrounding the vagina, leading to severe itching.
Treating Vaginal Itching at Home
Now that we know what can cause an itchy vagina, let’s take a look at how to fix it. If your itching continues after using home remedies or you’re experiencing other symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your doctor. Some of the best ways to find relief from itching include:
“A high-quality probiotic is my first recommendation to my clients for preventing and/or managing itchiness,” says nutrition consultant Jaclyn Downs. Incorporating a probiotic supplement into your diet is the best way to help introduce healthy bacteria back into your body. Plus, if you have a yeast infection, eating probiotic-rich foods can help fight it.
Eating probiotic-rich foods, such as raw (not pasteurized) sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and water kefir can also help support your microbiome. Foods like cooked-then-cooled potatoes and plantains contain resistant starch, which also promotes good bacteria in your body.
Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil
To combat itchiness, it might be tempting to reach for your nearest moisturizer. However, vulva tissue is the most delicate in the body—and using a moisturizer with fragrance or other harsh ingredients will only make your irritation worse.
Instead, try using high-quality, pure coconut oil for relief from external itching. “Coconut oil is your best friend,” says Gupta. “Apply pure coconut oil down there liberally twice a day for the best results.”
We all know that the vulva can be particularly sensitive to chafing and other skin irritation—and swapping out your lace panties for a more comfortable pair of underwear can help minimize itching and irritation, especially if you experience chronic yeast infections.
At Eve’s Disclosure, our panties are made from breathable Tencel™ Modal fabric that helps to keep you fresh all day long. With an antimicrobial and moisture-wicking panty liner made of Ionic+ material, our underwear helps control odors and eliminate chafing by creating a natural barrier that supports personal hygiene and function.
According to a 2014 study, baking soda kills Candida cells, which can help in treating and preventing yeast infections.
To use baking soda as an antifungal treatment, the National Eczema Foundation recommends adding one-quarter cup of baking soda to your bath. For the best results, soak in your bath for 15–20 minutes up to three times a day.
Taking good care of your vagina can not only help soothe itchiness, but it can prevent an itchy vagina from happening in the first place. When it comes to washing your vagina and vulva, remember that less is more. Vaginas are self-cleaning, so all you need to do is wash your vulva with warm water.
To minimize itching and irritation, avoid using scented soaps and cleansers—even if they’re labeled as feminine hygiene products. Using scented products and over-washing your vagina and vulva can lead to irritation, and some types of soap may cause an allergic reaction or infection.
If other home remedies aren’t working, don’t worry—there are countless antifungal and cortisol creams at your local drugstore that can help provide relief from itching.
OTC creams contain ingredients that help relieve itching, such as benzocaine, which helps relieve itching by temporarily numbing the area. While antifungal creams help kill off yeast, cortisone creams are ideal for relieving razor burn.
Most vaginal anti-itch creams and gels also contain safe ingredients that help control odor and are fragrance-free. If you use an antifungal cream on your vagina, be sure to wear a pantyliner afterward to avoid any potential leaks.
When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough
In most cases, it’s pretty easy to clear up (or at least reduce) vaginal itching at home. But if you’re still concerned about itching, it’s always best to talk to your doctor. They can confirm whether your symptoms are anything to worry about and prescribe treatment as needed.