Genital itch

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Genital itch
Other names: Vaginal itch, vaginal pruritus, perineal itch, vulvar pruritus
CausesInfectious: Yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, dermatophytosis, pediculosis pubis, scabies[1][2]
Skin diseases: Eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, lichen sclerosus[3]
Allergic or irritant: Latex condoms, spermicides, fragrances[3]
Others: Atrophic vaginitis[1]
Diagnostic methodBased on symptoms and examination[1]
TreatmentAvoiding irritants, loose clothing, based on underlying cause[2][3]
MedicationSteroid cream, antihistamines, estrogen cream[2]
FrequencyRelatively common[2]

Genital itch is a sensation of needing to scratch the genital area.[1] Often the term is restricted to itching of the vulva or vagina with anal itching being addressed separately.[1] Genital itching may be significant if it is prolonged, severe, or associated with abnormal vaginal discharge.[1] It can significantly affect a persons quality of life.[2]

In women common causes include a vaginal yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, allergic or irritant reactions, and atrophic vaginitis.[1] Common irritants include latex condoms, spermicides, and fragrances.[3] Other causes may include dermatophytosis, pediculosis pubis, scabies, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and lichen sclerosus.[1][2] Rarely it may result from vulvar cancer.[2] Diagnosis is generally based on the symptoms and examination.[1]

Treatment includes addressing the underlying cause if possible.[1] Other efforts involve avoiding potential irritants such as vaginal "cleaning" products and creams and wearing loose fitting clothing.[2][3] Washing with water and fragrance and color free soap along with the use of petroleum jelly maybe continued.[2] Steroid cream and antihistamines may be useful.[2] Estrogen cream applied to the area may be useful after menopause to address atrophic vaginitis.[2] It occurs relatively commonly in young girls and women.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "Genital Itching - Women's Health Issues". Merck Manuals Consumer Version. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Savas, JA; Pichardo, RO (July 2018). "Female Genital Itch". Dermatologic clinics. 36 (3): 225–243. doi:10.1016/j.det.2018.02.006. PMID 29929595.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Alani, A; McDonald, L; Abdelrahman, W; Hunter, HL (7 February 2019). "Vulvar itch". BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 364: l83. doi:10.1136/bmj.l83. PMID 30733221.