Why private parts itch
Itching can happen in any part of the body. When it affects a sensitive area such as the vagina, penis, or anus, it can create a very unpleasant experience. Itching not only causes discomfort. It can also interfere with the quality of your life.
There are many causes of private part itching such as infections, exposure to irritants, allergic reactions, skin conditions, etc. While there are home remedies that can ease itchy skin, scratching your private parts could be a sign that you need to visit your doctor. The tests they conduct will help to rule out harmful issues and provide a path to solving your problem.
Genital itching is a common problem in many people. It is associated with several factors, including:
Exposure to irritants. Some products you use every day can cause itching in your private parts. For instance, lotions, soaps, detergents, and tight underwear can irritate your skin, causing itchiness. The itching sensation can appear immediately after using the product or after repeated use.
Yeast infection. Candidiasis, also called a yeast infection, is one of the leading causes of itchiness in the vagina and vulva. Out of four women, about three will develop a yeast infection at some point In their lives. This fungal infection happens when there is an overgrowth of yeast in a woman’s genitals. Causes include an impaired immune system, pregnancy, antibiotic use, uncontrolled diabetes, and increased estrogen levels. Antifungal medications can effectively treat yeast infections.
Jock itch. This common and treatable skin condition is caused by a fungus. Since the fungus thrives on warm, moist skin that’s covered with tightly fitting clothing, the condition is common in athletes.
If you have jock itch, you will notice a red, scaly, and incredibly itchy rash, that may develop on your:
- Inner thighs
- The crease of the buttocks
To treat the condition at home, keep the area dry and apply an over-the-counter anti-fungal. If the problem doesn’t resolve, consult your dermatologist or primary care doctor.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes can cause itching. These diseases also cause a burning sensation while peeing. They are spread during vaginal, oral, or anal sex. If your health provider suspects you have contracted an STD, they will test to confirm and detect the specific one.
Psoriasis. Psoriasis can develop anywhere on the body including in the genital area. It can appear in the:
- Upper thighs
- Creases of the buttocks
Psoriasis can look different once it develops on the genitals. The area can feel sore and itchy and, the itch can intensify at times.
Vaginitis. This is a general word for vaginal irritation or infection. Vaginitis can affect women of all ages, especially those of reproductive age. It can be caused by organisms like yeast or bacteria, or by irritations from chemicals or sprays. The most common symptoms of vaginitis include a smelly discharge from the vagina and itchiness.
Pinworms. The pinworm is a parasite that must live inside your intestines to survive. If you have a pinworm infection, you’ll get an intensely itchy anus, especially at night. Female pinworms tend to lay their eggs inside the rectum when you're asleep. The presence of the worm inside the rectum causes the anus to itch intensely. Pinworm eggs can get caught under nails when scratching the anus and then transferred onto other surfaces and so to other people.
Although they are most common in children, usually everyone in the house will need to be treated to avoid passing the infection to other household members.
Menopause. Vaginal itching is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. As women approach menopause, changes in their menstrual cycle result in lower levels of the hormone estrogen. The vaginal lining thins and become drier, a condition known as vaginal atrophy. These changes trigger burning and itching of the vagina.
When to seek medical attention for private part itching
It is advisable to visit your healthcare provider if your itching is severe and is disrupting your sleep or daily life. Even though some causes are not serious and the itching can go away on its own, it should concern you if it persists for more than a few days. If the itchiness occurs along with other symptoms such as unusual discharge, trouble urinating, genital swelling or redness, or pain during sex, it will be best to see your doctor.
During the appointment, your doctor will ask about the symptoms you are experiencing and when they started. Your provider may also ask about your sex life.
A doctor may send you to the lab for certain urine or/and blood tests. A woman can expect a pelvic examination that involves an inspection of her vulva and vagina. If the doctor suspects an allergic reaction, they may ask for further tests to find the exact cause.
Once your health provider finds out the root cause of your genital itching, they will speak with you about treatment options. Treatment will depend on the cause identified.
Yeast infection is treated with antifungal medications. These can take many forms, including pills, creams, and ointments. Make sure you follow the prescription to the letter for it to be effective.
Treatment for penis irritation includes washing the foreskin and head properly with warm water and may include applying medicated creams or ointments.
How to prevent your private parts from itching
It is possible to prevent vaginal itching by observing good hygiene and a healthy diet. Here are some other things you can do to reduce the likelihood of genital itching:
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse to prevent contracting STDs and STIs
- Wear loose-fitting underwear
- Avoid using soap when cleaning your vagina
- Avoid douching
- Refrain from applying powder, deodorants, and fragrances near the vagina
- Observe good genital hygiene by washing regularly but also be careful to avoid over-washing
- If you wear incontinence products, change them as soon as possible once wet or dirty.
IMAGESBrowse our medical image collection of allergic skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis and more caused by allergies See Images
Sexual or reproductive health is an important aspect of your overall well-being. One symptom that can signify something is wrong with your private parts is itching. Vaginal, penis, or anus itching is an uncomfortable experience that occurs due to various conditions. They include yeast and bacterial infections, irritants, skin conditions, and other diseases. Your doctor can detect what is causing the problem through testing. The course of treatment for your itching will depend on the underlying condition triggering the itchiness.
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Academy of Dermatology: "8 REASONS YOUR GROIN ITCHES AND HOW TO GET RELIEF."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Vaginal Candidiasis."
Cleveland Clinic: "Sexual Health: Genital Itching.", "Vaginal Atrophy.", “Vaginitis."
Intermountain Healthcare: "Preventing Vaginal Yeast Infections With Lifestyle and Diet Changes."
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