Got an itchy sensation down there? There’s no worse feeling than experiencing a vaginal itch in public. Don’t be embarrassed, you’re not alone. In fact, most women have experienced an itching or irritation of the genital area at some point in their lives. According to various studies, young girls are more prone to vaginal itching and irritations, making it the most common gynecological problem in pre-pubertal girls. Young girls are more susceptible to vaginal itching as the skin around the vulva (area outside the vagina) is quite thin and sensitive, making that area easily irritated.
Vaginal itching and irritation can cause tingling, stinging or burning sensation of the external skin surrounding the vaginal area, making it uncomfortable and downright inconvenient. The itching comes with swelling, burning and sometimes milky discharge. The color, smell, and consistency of this discharge can vary, depending on the cause of the problem
Reasons why young girls have an itchy vagina
Some of the possible causes for itchiness of the vagina and the surrounding area are:
Vaginal exposure to certain chemicals can cause irritation and itching. The use of soaps, scented toilet paper, detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, and creams may trigger an allergic reaction, causing redness and itching in the vaginal area.
Candida albicans is a common type of fungus that is normally present in the vagina. Infection occurs when there is an imbalance of healthy bacteria and yeast in the vagina. Yeast infections can also occur when the girl is diabetic, obese, eats too much sugar, or is under stress. Certain antibiotics that are prescribed for some bacterial infections can also cause vaginal yeast infections.
It is another common reason for vaginal itching. It occurs when there is an imbalance in the unhealthy and healthy bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis can cause a thin, gray or dull white vaginal discharge with a fishy odor.
Vaginitis is common in pre-pubertal girls. It is the inflammation of the vagina characterized by discharge, itching and irritation. Vaginitis may occur due to any imbalance in vaginal bacteria, other infections, and low levels of estrogen (female hormones) in the body.
Certain skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis, can cause redness and itching in the vaginal region.
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that can occur on any part of the body, including the vulva. The condition is triggered by physical irritants (such as scented toilet paper) as well as emotional stress. Eczema in vulva can cause vulvar itching, scratching, and burning sensation.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that can affect the skin and make them sore and itchy. Genital psoriasis develops around the genital area and looks like patches of red skin with thick, shiny scales.
Urinary bladder infections are common among young girls as their urethra is short and is closer to the anus. The main symptoms of these infections are pain or burning sensation when passing urine. It can also cause redness, sore, and itching in the vaginal area.
Pinworms are the most common worm infections in school-age children. The small pinworms usually affect the intestine causing intense itching around the anus. In some cases, the adult pinworm will travel into the vagina. These pinworm secretions are very irritating, causing severe itching in vagina and surrounding areas.
Labial adhesions usually affect infants and young girls. It happens when the vaginal lips or folds are stuck together instead of staying separated. Labial fusion can cause pain in the vaginal area with itching and heavy vaginal discharge.
In young girls before puberty, improper cleaning and poor toilet hygiene of the genital areas can also cause itching. Any stool left on the vulva or traces of dirt and chemical irritants can cause irritation of the vagina or genitals.
Care at home
The key to avoiding vaginal discomfort and irritation is self-care and hygiene. To help improve the symptoms and prevent vaginal irritation, the following measures are advised:
- Wash the vaginal area well, using a gentle soap.
- Keep the genital area clean and dry.
- Use soft, colorless, unscented toilet paper.
- Avoid scented soaps, lotions, and bubble baths.
- Wear cotton underwear.
- Wear loose-fitting pants or skirts.
- Always wipe from front to back after having a bowel movement.
- Change out of wet clothes, especially wet bathing suits or exercise clothing, as soon as possible.
When to seek medical help?
Occasional episodes of itching around the vulva area can be common. But if the itching is severe and continues for a long time with the following symptoms, you should seek medical advice.
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Blisters or ulcers on the vagina or vulva
- Bleeding or discharge from the vaginal area
- Fever or abdominal pain
Your doctor will initially review the signs and symptoms and will conduct a pelvic examination. In addition, some lab tests may be done to find the cause. The treatment will depend on the underlying cause of vaginal itchiness.
Based on the diagnosis, your doctor may recommend drugs, such as:
- Cream or lotion for yeast infections
- Certain antihistamines (allergy medicines) for relief of itching
- Hydrocortisone creams or lotions
- Oral antibiotics
- Natural supplements that include probiotics to alleviate your symptoms.
- Vaginal itching and discharge – child. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003159.htm. Accessed on: 10-09-2020.
- Vulval skin care for children. https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Vulval_skin_care_for_children/. Accessed on: 10-09-2020.
- Vaginitis in Teens. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=P01659 . Accessed on: 10-09-2020.
- Itchy vulva. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/the-itchy-vulva/. Accessed on: 10-09-2020.
- Vulva & vaginal irritation. https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation . Accessed on: 10-09-2020.