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Over time, we all experience a grumpy vagina. Since she has no words, our vulvas send out signals to let us know something isn’t quite right. Here are 5 common causes of vaginal irritation.
There are several skin conditions which can cause itching and irritation. Similar to the rest of the body, there are occurrences of vaginal psoriasis and vulvar eczema. There is also a rare condition, Lichen sclerosis, which causes thin white patches to form on the skin, especially around the vulva. Postmenopausal women are most likely to develop this condition. While the previous conditions mainly cause itching, Vulvar vestibulitis is a condition that causes burning and pain, and often comes after sexual activity.
Yes, it’s true. You can have allergic reactions down there! Some women have an allergic reaction to feminine products and contraceptives, like tampons, pads, condoms, and diaphragms. Additionally, some ladies have a reaction to spermicide. Far less common – but still possible – is an allergic reaction to semen. Men carry different proteins in the seminal fluid, and some women are allergic to them.
The reaction to certain chemicals causing burning and itching in the vagina surrounding areas is commonly called contact dermatitis or chemical vulvitis. Common culprits of this chemical reaction are soaps, detergent, fabric softener, scented toilet paper, scented feminine products, body wash, and perfumed lotions. Some women even have a reaction to the chemicals in a pool or hot tub. Another chemical reaction of sorts can occur because of wearing tight clothing, excessively sweating, and wearing non-breathable underwear (such as Lycra or nylon). This reaction is caused by the trapping of moisture in the vaginal area.
A very common cause of the grumpy vagina is menopause. When the body ages and estrogen levels decrease, the result is vaginal dryness. Also, the drop in estrogen causes the vaginal walls to thin. This thinness and dryness can cause itching and irritation, and can be made worse with sexual intercourse. Similar symptoms can also occur with nursing mothers.
If all the other causes are ruled out, you may be suffering from some sort of vaginal infection. Yeast infections are very common, and cause burning and significant itching. Yeast infections are often accompanied by discharge. Another infection is bacterial vaginosis, which comes about when the wrong mix of bacteria are present (it’s normal to have a healthy mix of bacteria in the vagina). Symptoms of vaginosis include burning, itching, inflammation, and a strong smelling fishy-type odor. More serious infections that can manifest as itching and irritation are sexually transmitted infections – such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital warts; Trichomoniasis, a single-celled parasite that can live in the male prostate; and, rarely, cancer.
So, between all of these things, odds are the lady parts are going to get grumpy from time to time. For the most part, these odds can be reduced by keeping a few things in mind:
Don’t use perfumed or dye-heavy cleaning products. NEVER spray the vaginal area with perfume or body spray, and avoid perfumed lotions.
If you’re experiencing dryness, use a mild all-natural lubricant like coconut oil
Eat lots of HOMEMADE yogurt! It’s healthy to start with, but yogurt (without sugar) containing live cultures keeps the vagina healthy and happy.
Wear cotton underwear. Cotton is a fabric that breathes, avoiding the trapping of moisture. Or don’t wear anything at all. Men love it anyways. 😉
Practice “outercourse.” When irritation and dryness occur, enjoy sexual activities that don’t involve intercourse. You can enjoy yourself while giving the little lady a much-needed break.
Finally, keep the stress level down.
In addition to all the above irritants, the irritant of life can alter your hormones and send that Ph level out of whack. So, relax when possible. A grumpy woman leads to a grumpy vagina. And a happy woman helps support a happy vagina.