You have an active sex life and you’ve developed itching in and around your vagina — and you wonder whether the two might be related. The answer is that, yes, the two are potentially linked, as vaginal itching is a common symptom of a sexually transmitted infection. That said, there are many other issues that can lead to vaginal itching.
To help shed some light, Dr. Gary Willen and the team of women’s health experts here at Tahoe Women’s Care want to explore the many causes of vaginal itching and whether testing for a sexually transmitted infection is a good idea.
Vaginal itching and sexually transmitted diseases
Despite awareness efforts, the numbers surrounding the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States are alarmingly high. To wit, the CDC reports that more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in 2019, which is an all-time high for the sixth year in a row.
While the recent COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly skew more recent numbers, the trend before the pandemic is clear — STDs are on the rise.
Before we get into which STDs can lead to vaginal itching, we want to point out that some STDs may be asymptomatic, which is why we prefer the term sexually transmitted infection (STI), which means you’ve been infected and that symptoms will likely develop.
The STIs that count vaginal itching among their primary symptoms include:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts
Of this list, chlamydia is the most prevalent, and there were more than 1.8 million cases in 2019.
Aside from vaginal itching, these STIs are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as vaginal discharge, a foul odor, outward lumps (genital warts), and painful intercourse and/or urination.
So, to answer the question we posed in the title of this blog about whether you should be tested for an STI, we feel that any unexplained changes in your vaginal health deserves a closer look. As well, STI testing is quick and easy and, if we find evidence of an infection, we may be able to clear up the problem with medications.
Other causes of vaginal itching
There are other causes of vaginal itching that may not be related to an STI, including:
- Yeast infections
- Irritants, such as soaps
- Skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Bacterial vaginosis
In rare cases, the itching may be due to vulvar cancer.
Here again, we recommend that you come see us so we can get to the bottom of the symptom and find an appropriate treatment plan.
If you’re struggling with vaginal itching, please contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, so we can get you on the road to relief and better vaginal health.