Why Does My Vagina Itch After Sex?

An occasional vaginal itch is normal, but constant itching can be a sign of an infection or irritation. Lubrication, hypoallergenic condoms, and avoiding synthetic underwear can help with this.

Chemical irritants such as scented feminine sprays, bath soap, or even a change in laundry detergent can also cause itching. Avoid these and use a water-based lubricant during foreplay to decrease friction.

Causes

There are many reasons your vulva might itch after sex, not all of which are sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The most common reason is friction from unlubricated oral or finger sex or lack of foreplay before penetration. This can be easily remedied by using water-based lubricants and adding more foreplay to the routine.

Sometimes, itching in the vulva can also be a sign of other conditions like yeast infections or genital herpes. These are both usually accompanied by vaginal discharge and a fishy smell. These infections are caused by bacteria and can be triggered by stress, poor genital hygiene, pregnancy, antibiotics or birth control pills.

Another cause of itching in the vulva can be dryness of the skin on the vulva or from using perfumed soaps, washing or douches near the vulva. Dr Jackson-Spence advises avoiding harsh soaps and instead choosing pH-balanced intimate washes to keep the delicate skin on the vulva moisturised.

Finally, if you are allergic to latex condoms, this could be another cause of itching in the vulva after sex. If you suspect this is the case, it is best to speak to a doctor to get a prescription for a lubricant and antihistamines for anaphylactic reactions. Yeast infections can also be treated with over-the-counter creams or yeast infection treatment kits and genital herpes can be treated with a suppository or oral medications.

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Symptoms

Feeling itchy anywhere on your body is never a good thing, but the genital area is especially sensitive and can set off alarm bells. Fortunately, not all vaginal itching after sex is caused by something serious.

One common cause is bacterial vaginosis (BV). It’s a type of yeast infection and often misdiagnosed because it doesn’t have the typical yellow or cheesy discharge. BV typically causes a green or gray vaginal discharge, an unpleasant fishy smell, and vulvar itching. It can also cause pain during sex, a burning sensation when urinating, and vulvar redness and swelling.

Itching after sex can also be a sign of herpes or genital warts. Known as herpes simplex or herpes genitalis, herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease that can lead to a painful itchy outbreak around the vulva and lower abdomen. Itching can be accompanied by fever, sores, and swollen lymph nodes. Itching can also be a side effect of certain antiviral medications used to treat herpes.

A common condition that’s a bit less scary than herpes or yeast infections is jock itch, which is characterized by itching in the groin and crotch areas. Symptoms include itching, redness, and irritation of the vulva, thighs, and groin. It may be caused by using too much lubricant or shaving and waxing the vulva, or it can be an allergic reaction to sex semen or latex rubber.

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Treatment

Itching anywhere on your body is not a pleasant feeling, but vaginal itching can be especially distressing. If itching is accompanied by a change in the odor of your vagina or a scaly rash, you should seek medical care right away. Itching may also be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection or disease, so it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause.

Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and changes in the pH levels of your vagina can all cause itching after sex. If the itching is caused by a yeast infection, antifungal creams and ointments can be used to treat it. If the itching is due to bacterial vaginosis, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. If itching is accompanied by scaly rashes or patches, a dermatologist may need to be consulted to diagnose and treat the underlying condition.

Itching is also a common symptom of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like genital herpes, warts, genital chlamydia and trichomoniasis. Itching in the penis can be a sign of an STD as well, so it’s important to talk to your sexual health expert about any symptoms you’re experiencing.

Prevention

Itching anywhere on the body is not a great feeling, but itching down there can be especially distressing. Itching in this sensitive area can be a sign of a wide range of issues, from a simple hygiene problem to an STI. Here’s how to prevent it from happening.

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A lot of the time, vaginal itchiness after sex is simply caused by friction. This can happen if you’re not using enough lubrication, or if you’re not using condoms and are having unprotected sex. It can also be caused by hormonal changes, like during pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause.

Adding extra lubrication and warming up with some foreplay can help. You can also use products that are designed to be as kind to your vulva as possible, Dr Estafan says. This means no heavily-fragranced soaps or body washes, no douching and wearing cotton underwear. She also recommends switching to a lube that’s water-based and is condom-friendly.

You may also want to consider taking a probiotic that contains prebiotics. These help to boost the good bacteria in your vulva, which can then prevent bacterial infections. Finally, she advises that you get your genital itching checked out by a doctor to ensure it isn’t caused by an infection or STI. If it is, your doctor can prescribe a suitable course of treatment.

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