One of the most aggravating issues a woman deals with is vaginal irritation. It's embarrassing because you feel like everyone can smell it and it's uncomfortable because it itches and burns constantly. The first time it happens you go to your care provider to find out what's causing it and how to treat it, and it may never happen again, or it may happen often. The key is knowing how to tell what it is so you can treat it properly--and thankfully, there are many over-the-counter products that may offer relief.
Causes of Vaginal Irritation
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina and is characterized by a fishy odor and a gray/yellowish discharge, itching, burning and inflammation. Most commonly BV is treated with antibiotics to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of taking antibiotics is yeast infection.
Yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis) is an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina and is characterized by a thick white discharge, itching and burning. Yeast infections frequently occur during pregnancy, after intercourse and after taking antibiotics. You are more likely to get a yeast infection if you have a weakened immune system. Treatment is with antifungals.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD's) can cause vaginal irritation. If you suspect an STD, you should see your care provider immediately.
Menopause can cause hormonal changes that make the vagina dry and irritated. Your care provider can prescribe estrogen cream or tablets to help balance hormones.
Chemical irritants/allergies are a common cause of vaginal irritation. Scented toilet paper, soaps, detergents, dryer sheets and feminine deodorant products may be the irritant. A latex allergy could make the vagina very irritated after sexual activity.
Common Sense Approaches to Remedy Vaginal Irritation
Always wipe front to back. Avoid scented toilet paper, sprays, detergents/fabric softeners, soaps and bubble bath. Wash your vagina every day, but only once a day using soap. Wear cotton panties (no thongs) and avoid tight clothing that might trap moisture. Keep your vagina dry--change out of a wet bathing suit immediately. Avoid sex when vagina is irritated. Cut back on sugar, alcohol and products made with yeast (bread, moldy cheeses, pastries, bagels) Don't scratch; this will only cause more irritation Strengthen immunity by eating nutritious foods, get plenty of rest and exercise, stay hydrated and take a daily multi-vitamin. Take a probiotic every day.
Natural Cures for Vaginal Irritation
Lactobacillus acidophilus taken daily; you can purchase capsules or eat yogurt with acidophilus. You can also use these products internally, inserting them into the vagina.
Apple cider vinegar (acv) is widely used to balance the yeast and bacteria in the vagina and giving almost instant relief. Fill your bathtub with ankle-deep water and pour in 1-1/2 cups of acv. Sit in the water for 20 minutes. You can also wet a cloth with acv and hold it directly on your vagina. It may sting for a few moments, but will give relief. Don't do this more than twice a day as it can dry the skin excessively.
Taking garlic tablets will kill bacteria and strengthen your immunity. Other products that will help in the same manner include neem oil, Beta 1,3D-glucan, B vitamins, vitamin c, Zinc and oil of oregano (you can also apply this directly on the vagina).