Healthy Living

The Itchy Vagina Blues

One of the worst things about having an itchy vagina is that you can’t really complain about it.

If you have a bad headache, or your back goes out, you can kvetch and get sympathy.

“How are you?” a co-worker will ask.

To say “I have a terrible headache” or “My back is killing me” is perfectly acceptable.

But “My vagina has been itching for weeks now and it’s driving me crazy?”

Not so much.

I’m not complaining about my own vagina. My own vagina, for the moment, is okay. But my dear pal Sophie has had a terribly itchy vagina for months and months and nothing seems to help and she’s absolutely miserable.

Her doc has tried everything. And when nothing that her doctor suggested or prescribed had any impact, Sophie consulted natural healing books and tried a variety of folk remedies recommended by Dr. Internet.

None of it worked, although in conducting this research she did learn some interesting things, including the fact that this problem can be caused by allergic reactions to everything from changing your laundry detergent to a new boyfriend’s sperm. And then there was the violinist who experienced a severe allergic reaction to the rosin she was using on her bow.

I told my sister, who is a violinist, about this.

“My vagina is just fine, thanks,” she said. “But I’ll keep that in mind.“

So what is it like to be Sophie? It feels like the world’s worst yeast infection. Day in, day out. But since it isn’t a yeast infection, it won‘t respond to any known remedies.

It’s a medical mystery and it just won‘t stop, and as a result, Sophie is desperately unhappy. She’s gone from being a cheerful, upbeat librarian to a sad, bleak blue librarian.

And her usually wonderful sex life? On hold indefinitely.

After testing and trying and testing and trying, Sophie’s doc recently gave up and referred her to the area’s best Itchy Vagina specialist.

When’s the soonest he can see her?

August! That‘s seven months from now. Apparently, there are a hell of a lot of stubbornly itchy vaginas in the Delaware Valley. Who knew?

Of course, why would anyone know? It’s not as if women are shouting about this problem from the rooftops.

When I feel awful, I’ve always found that complaining helps. If I were Sophie, I’d feel tempted to throw social niceties to the wind and kvetch about it. To everyone.

When casual friends, co-workers or even patrons at the library where I work greet me with a pleasant “How are you?” I could respond “My vagina is killing me. And you?”

Of course, I’d shock a bunch of people and make them very uncomfortable. A few library patrons might even drop a note to my boss about over-sharing.

On the other hand, if just one of the hundreds of people I told about my itchy vagina knew of a remedy that actually worked, it would all be worthwhile.

Does your vagina (or the vagina of a loved one) itch? I invite you to grouse about it in the Comments Section. If enough of us complain, maybe we can find a cure.

by Roz Warrren

You may also enjoy….

7 Steps for Your Sexual Journey After Menopause

Getting Honest About Women’s Sexual Health

3 Often Unrecognized Brain Problems of Menopause

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  • Ally

    Apple cider vinegar, preferably organic, is wonderful for many skin issues (dandruff, athlete’s foot included) it fights anything fungal, and helps to balance your Ph. You can try popping a peeled garlic clove in there before bed, (it tends to pop out all on it’s own, that’s why you want to be lying down.) Probiotics & LIVE yoghurt may help to sort things, and the yoghurt is soothing. Coconut oil is also soothing.
    And you can have a good laugh if you feel that you are becoming a salad!
    If you are menopausal, make a tea, infusion with red clover to wash with, and you might find drinking it regularly can be helpful, too. Do not wash with soap, that messes with the Ph. Many toilet papers have additives and perfumes, try to find unbleached toilet paper.
    Also be careful of what you eat…

  • Confidential

    I was itchy for a very long time before we figured out that I had a toilet paper allergy. Now I use wash cloths, folded to provide multiple clean surfaces before tossing in the wash, and an empty bpa-free shampoo bottle to use as a portable bidet. NO MORE ITCH. Before we figured it out I had a biopsy and had a pre-cancerous condition but no longer. Stop the itch, stop the road to cancer.

  • Denise

    I cured myself of this condition by inserting a probiotic capsule into my vagina every night for one week and then 3 capsules a week for the next month. It cured it right away after the first week but I continued with the 3 a week for the next 4 weeks. The best probiotic is from mercola.com.

    I’ve also observed that very stressful times always bring the vaginal itching on with me. And I like my skinny jeans but one needs to breath in that area.

  • Retta

    Ai yi yi! this was a humorous read even in the midst of having itchy vagina. It all started in peri menopause for me. I went to the emergency room, follow appt. then I started reading up on peri menopause and menopause symptoms…no crazy hot flashes for the kid! again to the Dr. one I had seen before ..examined again. Now keep in mind I was having my regular pap smears too! Nada…the cotton pantie, change detergent. So I had a heavy period which turned out to be my last ( well over 3 yrs now) pap, check up again and still no reference or etc. I started using olive oil in the area, which helps, then washing with olive oil on wash cloth with my no scent etc soap…ivory and castille. Helped a bit. Last Dr visit was last year… she biopsied and said she found nothing..wash, keep dry as possible maybe the olive will help, change detergents and cotton panties. Well I noticed with loss of estrogen, the greying…itching. So for me…I watch what I eat..it effects that area…plenty of water…easy on acidic foods and wash, stay as dry as possible and olive oil or coconut oil every other day or so or as needed. It’s now livable. However I havent had sex in less just say 5 yrs or more ** thats another story** so don’t know how the dryness will affect that!! I wish us all the best with this…cause NO ONE seems to know.

  • Gigi

    Organic, Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar is wonderful on all skin issues because it adjusts the ph of the skin.
    Good Luck,
    You’ll Love It

  • becky

    I had the same problem. Lichen Sclerosis, which is a pre-cancer skin problem. Go back to the GYN and have a biopsy done. Incredible, non-stop itching is a big sign of vulvar cancer.

  • Jennifer

    You didn’t mention your friend’s age, but this is a really common but rarely mentioned byproduct of menopause. The lack of estrogen often causes trouble with pH and with vaginal tissue health. (I learned alot about this from working on various women’s health products at a healthcare agency). She may want to ask her doctor about estrogen vaginal creams that work only locally as opposed to systemically. They can be a tremendous lifesaver for women if that’s indeed the source of her trouble–without the risks associated with full estrogen replacement therapy. BTW, anyone know of any upsides to menopause?

  • Nat Marie

    Has your friend’s doctor tested her for diabetes?

    This is how I learned that my blood sugar was 300 and was the cause of my itchiness in that area. Once I got a very powerful yeast infection pill and got my blood sugar to normal levels (or about as normal as possible) through meds, it went bye-bye. But this was my story for like 3 months, and it SUCKED. So I feel her pain.

  • puncturedbicycle

    Great article, all very familiar-sounding! Is this lady dealing with vulva or vagina itch? Is her mouth similarly affected? It may be an autoimmune issue.

    As someone with a formerly itchy vulva which eventually sprouted spontaneous papercuts, I can attest to the healing powers of prescription corticosteroids. I was diagnosed years ago w vulval psoriasis and more recently one of the best vagina-itch people in the business (apparently her expertise is in blistering diseases) says she thinks it’s lichen planus. I wouldn’t let her do a biopsy since I’d already had one with inconclusive results and I just don’t have that much flesh to donate from that specific area.

    I have read that it can take many years for this kind of thing to be diagnosed, and I can confirm that dozens of eyes saw mine over a period of years before the most recent dx. My conclusion is as long as they know it isn’t anything sinister (eg cancer) most of these things are kept at bay with (sometimes v strong) steroid creams. These days they believe stronger steroids used less are preferable to weaker steroids used more. I don’t need to use them so frequently now.

    Good luck to your friend and her vagina (and/or vulva).

  • Marty Ritchings

    My mom had this problem for literally years, and yes she talked about it. She talked about it to male doctors who did not have a clue.
    After she switched doctors (a female, totally by accident) she got her answer. Cancer, Vulva cancer. Tell your friend to find the right doctor. Let’s just hope that it is something as simple as non-cotton underwear.

  • Perry Block

    It’s socially acceptable for men to scratch their testicles and rearrange their penis? Why didn’t anybody ever tell me that over 65 damn years?!

    • roz warren

      But it’s not okay when you’re having coffee with me. Either that or we can both scratch up a storm and get thrown out of Starbucks.

    • Alan

      My favorite one-panel cartoon (NOT The New Yorker) had a fellow walking up to the complaint department in a store, declaring to the guy behind the counter: “My balls itch.”

  • Mickey

    My heartfelt sympathies to your friend. At the risk of over-sharing, well, I won’t. I’m thinking what about acupressure? A dermatologist? No, she’s probably already went to one. And, since it hasn’t been diagnosed, where do we go, where does she go next? I’m a student of Jin Shin Jyutsu and everything that goes awry has a basis in a body’s energy imbalance. That’s what I recommend. God bless her and I’ll put her on a prayer list. Yes, prayer works. I’m a living example. I do thank you for sharing. We need to share remedies because there has to be one or two that work.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    OMG I am crying laughing! We have all been there and, yes, the worst part is that you can’t really complain to most people about it. Next time, I feel this way, I’m calling you up!

  • Melissa Lawler

    Do you ever wonder why it’s socially acceptable for men to scratch their testicles and rearrange their penis but women cannot scratch their itchy vaginas?

  • Stacia Friedman

    You didn’t mention what Sophie’s doctor suggested, but I would’ve started by switching the detergent with which she washes her panties.

      • Roz Warren

        She did switch her detergent. And she’s on her second doctor. (And still waiting for August, when she can see the local Expert. But thanks for the suggestions. I’m hoping that somebody reading this will come up with a cure that works for her. (One reader did email me with a suggestion that I’ve passed along. Fingers crossed.)

        • hillsmom

          I suggest switching to Atsko SportWash which may help. I use it for all my laundry now. I used to get it at Wallyworld (Walmart) back in the hunting section. I think they will order it for you, if you can’t find it. Roz, if she lives near you, I can drop off some at your favorite library…;^)
          Ask Dr. Pat for a referral in Sophie’s area…? Good Luck

  • Stacia Friedman

    You didn’t list all of the suggestions offered by Sophie’s doctor, but the first one she should’ve tired is changing the detergent with which she washes her panties! If, however, her problem is related to yeast, she may want to change her diet.

  • Kimberly

    Oh my gosh! I will never complain again! I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable she must be and how frustrated she feels not to be able to take full advantage of that new boyfriend! Oy vey!!
    I certainly hope she gets relief SOON!

  • Carol Cassara

    Of course you know I had to read this, since I just didn’t find Amy S’ comment at the GG all that funny. “I can say vagina!!”
    I don’t know, maybe it’s the end of the world. As for Sophie, have her call Amy Schumer for advice….

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