6 Reasons Why Your Vagina Is Itchy Beyond Belief

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Question: Is it possible to subtly scratch down there, especially while you're in public? (Asking for a friend.) The answer is no, and it's just as difficult to ignore the itch that came out of the blue and is persistent to a fault. Check out some of the reasons you might be in this uncomfortable situation so you can assess how to fix it and get back to normal life ASAP.

Contact dermatitis

The skin irritation is caused by allergies to certain products, like your soap, shaving cream, underwear fabric, fabric softener or even condoms. Anything that contains perfumes or lubricants could be the culprit, so go hypoallergenic when it comes to laundry detergent and personal hygiene. All you need to wash your vagina is warm water and mild soap.

Bacteria

While your vagina employs "good" bacteria to help keep out infections from the outside world, there are points when that "good" bacteria can turn "bad." Think: yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, which is similar to a yeast infection but your discharge will be more watery and it will be accompanied by an odor. OTC treatments usually fix a bacterial issue, but if the problem persists your doctor may need to prescribe something stronger.

MORE: 9 Mind-Blowing Facts You Didn't Know About Your Vagina

Feminine hygiene products

If you notice itchiness during your period, your pads and tampons could be at fault. Try switching to products made from organic cotton, since additives like dyes and perfumes could be messing with your nether regions. Better yet, try a menstrual cup! Also, make sure you're switching out your products every few hours.

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Hormones

You just knew that hormones would be on this list, didn't you? A hormone imbalance can cause not only vaginal itchiness, but also dryness and irritation (as well as a whole slew of PMS issues, of course). Hormone imbalances can upset the pH balance in your vagina, and occur during your period, during pregnancy, during menopause or while you're on birth control (so, cool — basically whenever you breathe?). Your doctor may prescribe a topical hormonal cream or decide to switch your birth control method.

Stress

The list of annoying things caused by stress never seems to end. Not only does it take its toll mentally, but the physical side effects of stress are real (just ask Demi Moore, who lost her two front teeth to stress). Just as your body might break out in acne or hives during stressful or anxious times, your vagina isn't immune — especially if it turns into a habitual occurrence that creates microtears, leading to more scratching, and potential long-term harm for your body. De-stressing is one of the most powerful things you can do for your overall health — here are our favorite ways to do it.

STIs or STDs

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Practice safe sex! If you don't protect yourself, you may wind up with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like herpes, chlamydia or gonorrhea, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HPV or trichomoniasis. All of those can result in an itchiness down there that can evolve into symptoms like burning while you pee, foul-smelling discharge, sores on your genitals, and pain during sex. See your gyno to get tested for STDs — if you test positive, she'll give you injectable or oral antibiotics, or an antiviral medication.

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