I'm Pregnant and Experiencing Vaginal Itching. What's the Cause?

The Causes and Treatments of Vaginal Itching

Pregnant Woman
Pregnant Woman. Daniel Berehulak / Staff / Getty Images

Are you pregnant and experiencing vaginal itching? Are you worried and wondering what might be behind your discomfort? It's natural to be worried, especially when you're pregnant and any abnormality might signal a complication with your pregnancy.

In most cases, however, vaginal itching during pregnancy isn't worth worrying about.

So Why Am I Itchy Down There?

The most common reasons for vaginal itching during pregnancy are the normal changes to the vaginal pH levels, which can cause topical irritations.

Vaginal yeast infections also are notorious for persistent vaginal itching.

And while it's important to note that vaginal itching usually isn't a result of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is a potential cause.

What Can Be Done About Vaginal Itching?

Before trying any self-treatments or over-the-counter (OTC) medications for vaginal itching, especially during pregnancy, you should see your healthcare provider to be sure you don't have any STIs. Though, again, there's probably nothing to worry about, it's better to be safe, and testing for STIs is simple enough.

If the itching is found to be caused by the normal changes in your vaginal pH levels that occur during pregnancy, there are a number of self-help treatments you can try to relieve the itching and lower the pH of the vagina:

  • take baking soda baths
  • make a paste of baking soda and water and apply the paste to the area that itches
  • sexual intercourse may help, due to the lower pH levels of the male semen
  • using a cold compress can help relieve vaginal itching

How Can You Prevent Additional Irritation?

There are a number of things that can increase your chances of skin irritation. Here are a few suggestions for reducing the likelihood of vaginal itching:

  • practice good hygiene
  • keep the vulvar / vaginal area clean and dry
  • always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina
  • don't use vaginal douches
  • use only fragrance-free soaps, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners
  • practice good hand washing habits.
  • wear clothing that is not tight or binding, especially in the crotch area
  • wear white cotton underpants and avoid wearing nylon panties or hose that decrease the airflow to the vaginal area
  • use warm bath water and do not add bubble baths or other fragrant products that can irritate the vagina and urinary tract
  • use a bath soap for sensitive skin

Should I Use an OTC Cream Product To Relieve Vaginal Itching?

The use of hydrocortisone creams is not usually recommended, as it can contribute to the breakdown of the skin, causing continued itching.

Lidocaine gel, on the other hand, has been found to be good for relieving vaginal itching because it is a pure anesthetic.

If you have a genital yeast infection, one of the OTC yeast infection creams or vaginal suppositories should quickly relieve the itch, as well as the other symptoms of vaginal yeast infections.

Talk to your doctor about other products that may provide relief. If they are committed to holistic healing, they may be able to recommend a home remedy that does not require a prescription.

Source:

Vaginitis: Causes and Treatments. ACOG Education Pamphlet. Accessed 08/26/09.

Continue Reading