One of the most common complaints that women have is that of vaginal itching and burning, that can occur at certain times or which be almost constant. Most women are likely to experience burning and itching down there at some point and to some extent and there are various underlying causes for this – some problematic, some less so.
Yeast infections/bacterial vaginosis
In the vagina there is usually a certain amount of bacteria always present, but in cases the balance of friendly and harmful bacteria is disturbed.
When the harmful bacteria populations overgrow, there could be vaginal itching and burning and other symptoms such as unusual discharge, or unpleasant vaginal odors and inflammation could also be present.
A thick white discharge is usually noted with yeast infections such as candidiasis. A fish like odor can be caused by bacterial vaginosis.
Women with diabetes or women who are HIV positive tend to be particularly prone to yeast infections and may experience burning and itching more frequently.
Trichomoniasis or other sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted diseases such as trichomoniasis as well as others such as gonorrhea, genital herpes or warts, Chlamydia and so on can also cause itching and burning in the vagina. There will also typically be other symptoms of these STIs such as the typical frothy, yellowish discharge of trichomoniasis and so on. For these diseases, it is important to get medical attention promptly.
Reactions to chemical and personal hygiene products
Sometimes the reasons for vaginal itching and burning can be quite innocuous and easily treated. It could be reactions to douching, soaps, creams, lotions, detergents (left over in clothing at times), fabric softeners or even scented toilet paper or deodorants can cause irritation and hence the itching/burning sensations.
It could even be the tampons or sanitary towels used that could be causing the problems. Usually changing brands of the product being used and switching to unscented products could help resolve the burning and itching.
During menopause and Perimenopause, the levels of estrogen in the body go down considerably, causing the walls of the vagina to become thinner and dryer. This estrogen depletion can cause the problem of burning and itching.
In some rare cases, it could be a cancerous or a precancerous condition that causes vaginal itching and burning.
Infrequently, it could be allergies that cause women to experience burning and itching in the vaginal area. They could be allergic to semen (of some men so the allergy may not in the case of all semen), to the latex that is used to make condoms and so on. If using latex free condoms decreases the vaginal itching and burning, it could be allergies that cause the problem.
Regular visits to the gynecologist for health checkups are a good idea for all women, and in particular for those women who frequently experience vaginal itching and burning. Since the causes underlying the problem can be serious in a lot of cases, it is always a good idea to detect it early.