I Have a Chronic Itch… Down There
Don’t be alarmed. A chronic vulval itch can affect a lot of women at any age. The severity and recurrence is what we need to resolve. We know it feels embarrassing telling your GP “I am really itchy down there” So let’s run through examples to help you feel better about seeing your GP for a referral to a gynaecologist for diagnosis & help.
Reasons of a Chronic Vulval Itch:
1. Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common reason for an itchy vulva. Ditch synthetic underwear & wear cotton. Synthetics retain sweat & discharge, cotton breathes.
2. Shaving & plucking pubic hair are are also an example of contact irritation. Pubic hair does have a cause. Absolutely, it’s fine to keep it tidy, but when pubic hair is removed entirely you are losing a natural barrier between underwear and body contact, not to mention razors can cause bacteria to spread and ingrown hairs.
3. Leaving too much time between changing your pad or tampon is also a contact irritant. Bacterial growth can occur and lead to thrush. Not to mention bad hygiene and the likelihood of bad odour.
More Sinister Reasons for Chronic Vulval Itch:
4. Chronic vulval itch that presents white discolouration or rough skin around the vulva and/or clitoral region may be a condition called Lichen Sclerosus (LS). BUT let’s not draw conclusion just yet and let’s try to not use Dr. Google as your own diagnosis. You must see your gynaecologist. We treat a lot of Lichen Sclerosis. Please don’t feel embarrassed! Many women struggle with this condition. There are ointments & topical steroids that can assist if you are diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosis. Potential LS needs to be examined – if you leave it, it may spread or scar. LS is very irritable & can affect your daily lifestyle. It is common in menopause and older women.
3. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) can occur alongside contact dermatitis. BV is very obvious due to its severity of symptoms including a green, frothy discharge and severe itching. We see it occasionally so don’t be embarrassed. If this is a symptom you’re noticing, please get it checked! It is a common biproduct associated with a primary cause.
4. Genital warts: STDs such as warts and Chlamydia are rising as condom use has reduced in young people. It’s SUPER important to be checked for an STD if you are suffering from painful urination, offensive discharge and/or a chronic itch. If left untreated, you risk spreading it to others.
Seek the Advice of a Gynaecologist
Feeling a little better about seeing your GP now? Good! Your body is your temple and it is important to look after it! Dr Elgey is a pro at diagnosing the root cause of a chronic itch. Call our rooms on 3344-1656 to discuss scheduling an appointment with us.