Vaginal itching can manifest in a number of ways, and, as such, it’s important to make a few designations regarding this symptom. First, vaginal itching may refer to itching or burning sensations within the vagina (potentially triggered by urination or sexual activity). Second, vaginal itching may also refer to itching on the vulva, labia, or the entire pubic area. And lastly, vaginal itching may occur with or without other symptoms. For example, vaginal itching without discharge could point to a different issue than itching combined with other symptoms.
External Vaginal Itching
Genital itching or discomfort can happen as a result of pustules or rashes forming on or near the genitals. This may or may not be the result of an STD. In fact, one possible culprit of vaginal itch is tinea cruris, otherwise known as jock itch.
Jock Itch in Women
While jock itch is more common in men, women may also contract jock itch. Jock itch is typically characterized by red, itchy rashes forming on the groin, thighs, or buttocks. Jock itch is not a grave medical condition, though it can be quite uncomfortable all the same. It may also appear similar to certain STDs –– most notably herpes. Jock itch is a fungal condition that typically affects people who are active and thus, sweat more often. If you notice a rash near your vagina, it could very well be jock itch.
In addition, pubic lice, or scabies, also causes itching on the genital region. Though not technically an STD, people often spread pubic lice during intercourse.
Internal Vaginal Itching
Itching, stinging, or burning sensations within the vagina can result from a myriad of conditions including:
- Yeast Infection
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Allergic reaction to soaps, chemicals, medications, lotions (etc.)
- External forces (like itchy clothing or underwear.)
STDs that Cause Vaginal Itching
Again, the source of vaginal itching may originate inside or outside of the vagina. In terms of external groin itching, both herpes bumps and HPV (genital warts) can be itchy –– particularly if you scratch at them or puncture them. Furthermore, sometimes it’s possible for herpes bumps to appear on the vulva or within the vagina itself.
Conversely, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis are most commonly associated with internal vaginal discomfort. However, if women experience itching or tingling within the vagina as a result of one of these infections, it’s possible they’ll also notice other common symptoms –– such as burning during urination, unusual discharge, or pain during intercourse. Lastly, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which won’t just increase groin and abdominal pain, but could also lead to infertility.
While vaginal itching may happen as a result of something inconsequential (like using a new brand of soap) it could instead indicate the presence of an STD. With that in mind, it’s important to get tested if you experience either internal or external vaginal itching. Remember, even if symptoms “go away” it doesn’t mean you’re STD free. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure.