Intimate itching: here are the remedies to send it away

Here are the measures to be taken to soothe it and prevent its appearance.

A very frequent female disorder especially in women of childbearing age (but which does not spare even children and menopausal women), vulvo-vaginal itching can have various causes, which must be investigated and recognized correctly from the first signs in order to intervene, from time to time, with the most appropriate remedy to find relief from the discomfort and prevent its reappearance. Here are some important aspects to consider to guide self-diagnosis and the main measures to be taken in daily life to ensure maximum intimate well-being and avoid complications.

Possible causes of itching and intimate burning

Anyone who has experienced it knows that vaginal itching causes intense and constant physical and psychological discomfort, also creating difficulties in social and relationship life, especially when it tends to persist for several days and / or to recur often during the day.

The discomfort is much more frequent than you might think, also because vulvo-vaginal disorders and the conditions that can determine it are very numerous and common, even in women who pay the right attention to intimate hygiene and regularly undergo a specialist visit to the gynecologist.

To favor the onset of an annoying intimate itching can be:

  • a systemic pathology such as uncompensated diabetes (due to increased blood sugar levels that promotes imbalances in the composition of vaginal bacterial flora and vaginal and skin dryness)
  • Immune system deficiency of various nature and severity
  • alterations in the levels of sex hormones (in particular, the decrease in estrogen) that contribute to the trophism of the mucous membranes of the vulva and to the maintenance of vaginal secretions that act as protection and hinder the proliferation of harmful microorganisms
  • colonization by fungi and yeasts such as Candida (real torture for many adolescents and women of childbearing age, especially when it evolves into a chronic relapsing form difficult to eradicate) and other vaginal bacterial infections or determined by microorganisms of different types (protozoa), such as trichomoniasis.

Additional frequent causes of genital itching include:

  • various types of vaginal irritation and inflammation (vaginitis), caused by the use of vaginal douches that alter the local microflora or intimate cleansers that are too aggressive or to which you are sensitive / allergic
  • the use of underwear that is too rough (for example, lace) and / or that does not let the skin of the intimate area breathe (especially in summer and when practicing physical activity)
  • the use of external absorbents and panty protectors in synthetic fibers, non-breathable or subjectively poorly tolerated during menstruation or in other phases of the menstrual cycle
  • the use of latex condoms, which can trigger a form of contact allergy
  • vaginal dryness caused, for example, by hormonal changes typical of menopause, which can be counteracted with the use of specific lubricating products
  • certain forms of dermatitis, which can occur in the genital area
  • inflammation of the urinary tract, such as cystitis, which is manifested by intense burning on urination, which may be associated with intimate itching.

And that’s not all. Itching, burning, irritation, redness and swelling may appear following the application of emollient creams, sensitizing cosmetic preparations or hair removal creams (especially if you are predisposed to atopy and skin allergies). This can also happen after local or systemic treatment with specific antifungal drugs or antibiotics, necessary to counteract a fungal colonization (Candida) or a bacterial vaginal infection, in turn made more likely by the maintenance of an unregulated lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, rich in sugars and poor vitamins and antioxidants.

Whatever the triggering cause (which, as mentioned, must always be carefully investigated to set up targeted therapies, for example antibacterial or antifungal, and / or adopt effective prevention strategies), intimate itching should never be neglected because, in addition to being difficult to bear, it can trigger a series of subsequent complications , especially if handled inappropriately without following your doctor’s advice. A risk that can be avoided, since there are simple practical measures that can alleviate it and counteract its onset, which should always be implemented.

Support vaginal flora and eye to nutrition

A fundamental aspect for the prevention of vulvo-vaginal itching and vaginal colonizations / infections that can induce it is to keep the vaginal flora in balance, which has a very important defense function.

The microorganisms normally present in the vagina, in fact, help to maintain a correct vaginal pH (equal to 4.0-4.5 in adult women of childbearing age), inhibit the adhesion and proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and protozoa and counteract the excessive multiplication of Candida (whose proliferation is reported, as well as by the development of itching, burning, irritation and redness, also from the appearance of whitish vaginal discharge, similar to cottage cheese, not associated with bad smell).

Poor intimate hygiene, as well as an excessive number of bidets, contribute to altering the endogenous microflora and weakening the local immune defenses, favoring the establishment of Candida vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis (reported above all by the appearance of fluid and foul-smelling whitish discharge, similar to the smell of spoiled fish), trichomoniasis (characterized, in addition to a certain itching, also by abundant greenish-yellowish vaginal secretions) and other vaginal infections.

For daily cleansing, therefore, it is recommended to use products specially formulated for intimate areas, preferably with soothing properties (such as those based on glycine and panthenol), with acid pH (4.5-5.0) and characterized by good sanitizing properties, but free of aggressive soaps, perfumes, preservatives or other additives that can cause sensitization and / or irritation.

Washing of the intimate parts should be carried out about twice a day, but without exceeding, so as not to alter too much the endogenous microflora of the genitourinary area; the maneuvers must always be performed starting from the front to the back area (from the vagina to the anus, and not vice versa), both during washing and during drying (which must be delicate); At the end of the wash, the detergent must be completely removed with a generous rinse with warm or fresh water.

It is equally important to follow a healthy and balanced diet, reducing, in particular, the consumption of simple sugars. The excessive increases in blood sugar that normally occur after meals rich in carbohydrates, in addition to promoting weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes, provide Candida and other potentially pathogenic bacteria with the ideal nourishment to multiply at the expense of protective lactobacilli which, under ideal conditions, represent the predominant component (about 90%) of the vaginal microflora.

To reduce the risk of intimate discomfort, therefore, it is necessary to favor the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables (also rich in vitamins and other antioxidant compounds useful to support the immune system and the efficiency and well-being of the whole body), legumes, fish, white meats, yogurtprobiotic lactic ferments and dairy products in general (preferring versions containing less fatand extra-virgin olive oil . Also remember to drink plenty of water (ie at least 1.5-2 liters a day), essential to ensure hydration of skin and mucous membranes, including vaginal ones.

Probiotic lactic acid bacteria are useful for protecting the well-being of the infinicy, not only when taken by mouth in the context of daily nutrition, but also when they are applied locally to the vaginal. In this second case, the preparations that have been shown to most support the balance of the vaginal ecosystem are those based on specific strains of lactobacilli, particularly useful in the prevention of Candida colonization.

To avoid as much as possible, however, physical and psychoemotional stress, which facilitates vaginal dysbiosis, the alteration of endogenous bacterial flora and the onset of candidiasis.

Promote perspiration

Some characteristics of the intimate microenvironment are crucial to avoid or promote irritation, sensitization, colonization and vaginal infections of various types.

A key element is represented by moisture which, if in excess, weakens the skin barrier of the external genitalia and strongly alters the local pH.

For this reason it is important to avoid all those situations that can promote the accumulation of moisture at the level of the genital area; Attention therefore also to clothing: it is good, for example, to avoid the use of underwear in synthetic fibers and / or too tight and very tight trousers at the groin level, such as jeans. If you are at the beach or attend a swimming pool, moreover, you should not stay long with a damp swimsuit, but rinse well with fresh water and wear a dry replacement.

Particular attention to hygiene and the accumulation of moisture in the intimate area should be maintained during menstrual flow. In this case it is advisable to use an external absorbent in 100% cotton, which allow to remove excess moisture, maintaining an optimal intimate microclimate for skin and mucous membranes, also in terms of vaginal temperature and pH.

If you prefer to use an internal absorbent, however, remember to replace it often, preferably every 4-6 hours (never exceeding, however, the 8 hours) and alternate them with breathable external absorbents at least during the night, to restore a more physiological vaginal microenvironment. The use of tampons is not recommended if vaginal irritations or infections are already present or if you have a tendency to experience them recurrently.

Maximum attention to infections

Due to the anatomical conformation of the female intimate parts and the delicacy of the balance of the genitourinary mucosa, the woman is particularly predisposed to dysbiosis (alterations of the microflora) and vaginal infections. To reduce this risk, you can take some simple practical measures and behavioral cautions.

For example, as already mentioned, to avoid the easy passage of intestinal bacteria from the area to the vaginal area, it is essential to cleanse and dry with movements ranging from the vulva to the anus and never in the opposite direction, remembering to always wash the intimate parts after being in the bathroom.

The ideal is, of course, to wash with water and a delicate intimate cleanser, but if you are away from home it may be sufficient to resort to specific sanitizing wipes for the genital area, preferably with the addition of calming natural remedies, such as chamomile.

Another important precaution on the hygienic level, in the family environment, is to avoid the common use of towels or underwear, which must be washed at a high temperature (ie at least 60 ° C) with disinfectant detergents and with the possible addition of sodium bicarbonate, which helps to neutralize fungi, bacteria and protozoa.

This recommendation should be respected especially if there is a person in the family already affected by vaginal infections or pregnant (a period in which any dysbiosis and vaginal inflammation can have an unfavorable impact on the growth of the fetus) and if you regularly attend gyms, swimming pools, spas or other places potentially at risk.

With regard to the sanitation of linen, it should be emphasized that, in some cases, irritation, redness and itching at the level of the external genitalia may not depend on vaginal infections, but on a sensitization caused by the detergent used for washing towels and undergarments, subjectively poorly tolerated. If you do not identify other causes at the origin of the genital symptoms experienced, therefore, it is advisable to try to change the detergent used habitually, choosing one with a different composition and certified as “hypoallargenic”.

One of the main causes of dysbiosis and vaginal infections is sexual activity. To reduce the risk of both developing annoying symptoms and contracting sexually transmitted diseases that are difficult to counteract and that can sometimes compromise general health, it is important to always use condoms during sexual intercourse, especially if with occasional partners and when the usual partner has symptoms that lead to suspect the presence of an infection.

In case of vaginal itching associated with unusual discharge of any kind, it is instead necessary to abstain from sex until a precise diagnosis has been obtained from the doctor, after a careful gynecological examination, and, if this is positive for vaginal infection, even for the entire period of therapy, until complete recovery.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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