What is going on "down there"?

Some everyday feminine itching is not related to an infection at all. That’s why it’s important to determine the cause of the symptoms — and in case it’s an infection, be seen by a doctor right away for treatment.

Vaginal itching, burning, and irritation due to an infection may be caused by:

  • Bacterial vaginosis. Occurs when the balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina shifts and an infection occurs.
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, and gonorrhea all can cause vaginal itching and irritation.
  • Yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis). Occurs when the yeast, candida, grows excessively in the vagina and vulva.

Everyday vaginal itching, burning, and irritation may be caused by:

  • Tight clothes. Wearing too-tight items of clothing, such as jeans, underwear and pantyhose, can cause moisture to be trapped and cause itching.
  • Menopause. When estrogen production is decreased, the vaginal walls can begin to thin and dry out, sometimes leading to itching and irritation.
  • Chemical irritants. Everything from douches, condoms and contraceptive foams to laundry detergent, and scented toilet paper can cause irritation and itching.
  • Exercise/sweating. As with tight clothing, anything that restricts the flow of air and allows moisture from sweat to accumulate may trigger vaginal itching and irritation (Even a bathing suit can cause trouble if you leave it on too long.)
  • Stress. Feeling overworked or rundown can cause reactions like itching and irritation.
  • Sexual activity. Watch for signs like dryness or discomfort during sexual activity. Even the slightest irritation can lead to itching.