Normally acid environment is maintained in the vagina. Disturbance of the pH balance serves the ground for the development of pathological microflora and appearance of vaginal irritation. Apart from infections, vaginal itching may result from menopausal symptoms, oncological diseases, allergy and pediculosis pubis (pubic lice). Telling the difference between them, as well as prescribing adequate treatment is only up to the gynecologist, who will need to make all the necessary analysis in advance.
Physiologically, the vagina maintains acid environment (about 4.0 pH). This medium is supported due to the generation of the agents of normal vaginal microflora, namely lactobacilli. This level of acidity prevents excessive growth and development of other microorganisms, providing for maximal comfort in genitalia.
Occurrence of vaginal itching is a pathological symptom, which may be associated with multiple diseases. Pathological discharge, which is able to provoke itching, should be mentioned in the first place. This discharge can have a bad smell and various forms. In the majority of cases, the reason for this discharge is inflammation of lower segments of the genital tract (vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis, cervicitis). Though, sometimes such discharge may be associated with helminths, psychogenetic or hormonal stimulation (for example, intake of certain drugs or diseases of the nervous system).
Besides, itching may be indicative to:
- Oncological diseases;
- Age-determined urogenital atrophy;
- Allergic reaction;
- Pubic lice and scabies;
Various infections, serving the cause for vaginal irritation
All the infectious diseases shout be classified according to their incitant agents: bacteria, fungi or viruses. Let us discuss the most common variants of vaginitis:
Very often, inflammation of the vagina is being caused by the Candida yeast. The signs of this disease include acute vaginal irritation and curdy discharge with a foul odor. This pathology requires rather a long-term treatment, which is, unfortunately, little effective. Apart from essential antifungal medication, immune-enhancing drugs should be applied, since Candidiasis is a veritable indicator for critical decrease of protective resources of the organism.
Bacterial vaginosis is the condition of pathological predominance of Gardnerella vaginalis over lactobacilli. Gardnerella also makes part of normal vaginal microflora but only in a limited number. This disease is characterized by smelly, cream-like discharge, which provokes vaginal itching, reddening, and irritation. Local antiseptic drugs treat Dysbacteriosis in combination with special medication for intimate hygiene, used for the recovery of microflora and the pH balance in the vagina.
Another type of bacterial vaginitis, which is referred to as Trichomonas infection, is also marked by itching and irritation of the external genitalia, on the background of excessive green foamy discharge.
To achieve complete recovery, it is required to consult a specialist for the prescription of an optimal antibiotic, which should be taken according to the recommended schedule.
4. Genital herpes
Classical symptoms of the primary case of virus infection includes severe pain syndrome and genital vesiculation, the elements of which eventually turn into ulcers. Burning and itching are observed at vaginal vestibule 2-3 days prior to the appearance of the rash. Nevertheless, the disease may often take an asymptomatic course. It may also involve general symptoms, such as a common cold, general weakness, myalgia, nausea, diarrhea, and fever.
Treatment of herpes is a little effective. It involves the usage of an antiviral medication. Ulcers usually heal over in 10-22 days. It is common for the disease to recur quite frequently.
5. Condyloma acuminata
Another viral disease, condyloma acuminata (in this case, induced by the human papilloma virus), shows up in the form of characteristic warts on any parts of anal-genital area. These blotches cause vaginal itching and may also bleed, in case of being traumatized.
They are removed surgically, by laser eradication or application of the cryotechnology.
Cervicitis (inflammation of the uterine cervix) is also characterized by purulent discharge, which is able to provoke irritation of the skin and the mucous membrane, causing itching and burning. Gonorrheal diplococcus is one of the most common incitant agents of cervicitis, for which the treatment involves massive antibiotic therapy.
Oncological pathologies and vaginal itching
Nonmalignant affection of the vaginal vestibule occurs due to chronic scratching and friction. The main complaint among the patients is “vaginal itching before period in the places of thickening of the skin». Besides, patients report pain during intercourse, painful urination and burning.
In the case no malignant transition is observed, medicamental treatment may be substituted by the application of soothing creams, renouncing too tight synthetic underwear and taking other measures, preventing irritation of the tumor. Neoplastic diseases of the vagina, like any other sites of chronic vaginal irritation, accompanied by itching and not responding to local treatment, are absolutely subject to biopsy.
Cancer of the vaginal vestibule and the vagina is a virulent pathology, which can also be characterized by vaginal irritation and require a course of treatment, prescribed by the gynecologist-oncologist.
Itchy vagina before period in women in perimenopause
At the age of 45-50, women overcome another critical period in their life, namely the perimenopause. In this period hormone-determined secretion decreases, and the counterbalance of estrogens and androgens (male hormones, which are normally produced in a very little amount) is disturbed.
Such transformations serve the ground for:
- The disturbance of the regular cycle;
- Thinning of the endothelium (inner vaginal lining) and decrease in cervical mucus production, which in their turn cause vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse.
Little amount of lubrication can also lead to micro traumas during sex.
Allergic reaction, causing vaginal itching
Excessive immune response may be induced by spermicides, artificial lubricants, and other creams, applied during sexual intercourse.
In some cases, helminths can also appear to be an indirect cause of vaginal irritation since the organism responds (allergic reaction) to their colonization in the form of reflex increase of vaginal discharge.
Vaginal itching before period, due to pubic lice and scabies
Diseases, which are provoked by pubic lice or scabies, involve intensive itching, irritation of the skin, vesiculation, and presence of ducts in the skin. Scabies can spread all over the body while pediculosis pubis is confined to the pubic hair area. The treatment includes application of special sprays and shampoos.
Thus, vaginal itching is a serious symptom, which can be both a banal sign of menopause and be, for this reason, eliminated with the help of local moisturizing remedies. However, it should be a signal, alerting the presence of a malignant neoplasm, which requires surgical eradication. In any case, one should visit the gynecologist, observing vaginal irritation.