Vaginal Itching Causes
Vaginal itching is the hallmark of yeast infections and other vaginal
infections (including sexually transmitted diseases [STDs]); however, vaginal itching
also can be caused by decreased estrogen levels in women during menopause, and due to chemical irritants that may be found in:
- detergents or soaps,
- douches and vaginal creams,
- toilet paper,
- bath products,
- feminine hygiene products, and
- vaginal contraceptive products.
What are yeast?
Yeast are microscopic fungi consisting of oval cells that reproduce by
forming buds. There are many types of yeast. Some yeast types are important in
baking and brewing (baker's yeast, brewer's yeast). Thus, most yeast are
harmless to humans. However, Candida albicans, or Candida, is a yeast that can
infect humans and cause illness. Most commonly, yeast can cause infection of
skin and mucous membranes. Such infections are called mucocutaneous candidiasis.
They occur mainly in warm, moist areas of the body where the skin is often
folded together (groin, armpits, underneath the breasts and occasionally,
fingernails). Candida infections are the major
cause of diaper rash in children.
Candida also can infect:
- the mouth (oral thrush),
- the vagina
- infect or inflame of the male head
of the penis and/or the foreskin (balanitis).
Is a yeast infection contagious?
Most yeast infections are not contagious. They usually occur when conditions on the skin, mouth (mucosal surface), vagina and penis/foreskin develop extra moisture and warmth, often associated with a suppressed immune system. It is in these situations where Candida can ideally grow and multiply. Infrequently, the yeast infection can be transferred between men and women during sex. However, since most yeast infections are not transferred from person to person, a yeast infection in the vagina or penis/foreskin is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/2/2016