The vagina is the opening that connects the uterus to outside the body. It expands for sexual intercourse and the birthing process. Medical conditions such as bacterial infections, yeast infections and atrophy due to menopause or chemical irritants may cause vaginal itching for a woman. The skin in and around the vagina may become irritated easily and scratching may intensify the itching and irritation. Some conditions require the use of antibiotics to stop the itching, while other causes respond well to home treatments.
Using proper hygiene may help stop vaginal itching. Changing cotton underwear daily and taking a bath or a shower will keep the vagina clean. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ and does not require the use of harsh soap or douching to keep it clean. Using a mild soap with no fragrances is best because the chemicals in soap may cause or intensify itching. Excessively washing the vagina may cause the skin to dry out and cause more itching. Applying a cold washcloth to the vagina may temporarily relive itching. To decrease the likelihood of developing a bacterial infection—whichmay cause or increase vaginal itching—women need to wipe front to back, from the vagina to the anus.
Yogurt contains live and active cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus. This probiotic food contains good bacteria that are helpful in maintaining a balance of natural bacteria and microflora in the vagina. An overabundance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina can cause uncomfortable itching and the active cultures in yogurt may help balance the ratio. Taking antibiotics may wipe out the good bacteria in the vagina and can allow an overgrowth of the bad bacteria that causes the itching. Eating yogurt while taking antibiotics may help reduce vaginal itching. Individuals who dislike yogurt can take a supplement of lactobacillus acidophilus, notes MedlinePlus.
Chemical irritants may cause or increase symptoms of vaginal itching. Avoiding the irritation will reduce the symptoms. Heat and excessive perspiration can intensify vagina itching. Fragrances added to products such as toilet paper, laundry detergent and bubble bath may cause irritation to sensitive vaginal tissue. Avoiding additional scented products, such as feminine hygiene sprays and douches, helps prevent itching. Once the irritating chemicals cease contact with the vagina, the itching will stop.
Women who have excessive dry vaginal tissue may find relief after using an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream on the vagina. For extreme itching, some women may achieve relief with an oral antihistamine medication, according to the Merck Manuals.