Vaginal itching may be associated with a variety of conditions. The symptom often accompanies vaginal discharge and odor. A woman with vaginal itching that persists more than three days or continues to worsen should be examined and treated by a medical professional. Vaginal itching and other related symptoms may not always indicate an infection is present, according to The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library.
According to MayoClinic.com, nearly three out of four women experience a vaginal yeast infection during their lifetime. The fungus, candida albicans, naturally occurs in the vagina but occasionally experiences overgrowth. The inner and outer vaginal areas become inflamed and begin itching. The yeast infection is medically referred to as vulvovaginal candidiasis. A cottage cheese-like discharge and vaginal odor often accompany the vaginal itching. Treatment includes oral medications, vaginal suppositories and antifungal creams. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports women who suffer from chronic yeast infections may require long-term medications.
Merck describes vulvitis as the inflammation of the vulva and surrounding tissue. The condition is commonly caused by using fragranced soaps, bubble baths and perfumes. Sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes or skin disorders such as dermatitis may also cause inflammation and itching of the vulva and labia. Pubic lice, or pediculosis pubis, may also cause itching. Vulvitis may occur by simply wearing clothing that is too tight. Some women experience the condition during menopause because of the thinning of vaginal tissue. Prepubescent girls may also experience vulvitis because of the low levels of estrogen in the body, according to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Treatment includes sitz baths, avoiding irritants and applying hydrocortisone cream.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a one-celled parasite and is transmitted during sexual contact by an infected individual. The period from transmission to occurrence of symptoms ranges from five to 28 days. Besides labial and vaginal itching, symptoms include foul vaginal odor, pain during urination or intercourse, and white, gray or yellow discharge. Treatment involves taking a single dose of metronidazole, reports MayoClinic.com. Unlike women, men rarely show any signs of a trichomoniasis infection and often are unaware they are infected with the disease.