Genital itching can result from various causes, including benign conditions like irritation and serious causes like diabetes and STDs.
Most times, it is difficult to identify the cause of genital itching. However, you’d find information on the leading causes of itchy groin and actions to take if you experience genital itching.
What does genital itching mean?
Genital itching is an itchy sensation that causes constant itching of the skin in and around the vagina and penis. Sometimes, the itching is restricted to the pubic hair and the skin around the groin area.
In men, the itching may occur in the shaft and head of the penis. In women, it occurs in the outer and inner labia or inside the vagina. Sometimes genital itching occurs alongside other symptoms like unusual discharge and red and flaky skin.
Yeast infection and genital itching
Most people conclude they have a yeast infection when they experience genital itching. Yeast infection is common, affecting more than 75% of women at some point in their life. Although men can have a yeast infection, it is less common.
The common yeast infection symptoms include itching in the penis, vagina and labia, soreness, and a thick, white, odourless discharge with cottage cheese consistency.
Can I get over-the-counter medication for genital itching?
Self-diagnosis of a yeast infection is not advisable, even if you show all symptoms common with a yeast infection, for the following reasons;
- If you treat yeast infection yourself but don’t have yeast, you can make your condition worse because anti-fungal medications destroy the bad and good microorganism in the genitals. Good microorganisms are essential in fighting off infections. Ensure you consult your doctor before any treatment, even if you know the cause of your condition.
- Experiencing recurring yeast infections may be a sign of a more serious condition like diabetes.
Diabetes and genital itching
Diabetes presents several symptoms, including genital itching. High glucose levels in the blood, which results from type II diabetes, can lead to recurring yeast infection. If you have frequent yeast infections that cause genital itching, speak to your doctor.
STD and itchiness
In some cases, STDs cause genital itching. Trichomoniasis and genital herpes are STDs that cause genital itching. Itching from trich results from a parasite, which also presents similar symptoms to yeast infection, but the discharge is greenish.
For genital herpes, the itching starts before blisters outbreak and intensifies when the blisters turn into sores. Pubic lice also cause genital itching, but this rarely occurs.
Although STDs cause itching, they may not always causegenital itching, so visit your doctor for sexual health check and advice if you experience genital itching.
Other causes of genital itching
Shaving may cause genital itching, as early re-growth after a shave or waxing can cause temporary intense itching.
Hormonal changes may also cause genital itching. Reduction in oestrogen levels can cause thinning of the vaginal mucosal lining, leading to itching. Itching resulting from hormonal changes is more common in women who have experienced menopause or experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.
One of the most common causes of itching in the genitals is skin irritation in the genital area. The itching may occur due to sensitivity or irritation to chemicals in pantyliners, washing powder and other hygiene products.
Scented soaps and sanitary towels may also irritate the genital area. Ensure you change your washing powders. Avoid douches, feminine sprays and powders because they alter the vaginal flora, leading to infection and itching.
Sports and genital itching
Some types of genital itching affect athletes. Tinea cruris, commonly called jock itch, is a fungal infection that affects the buttocks and genitals. It occurs due to hot and damp conditions caused by exercising and sweating in gym shorts.
Athletes and people who exercise often are more susceptible to this infection. If you are mostly in cycling shorts, yoga pants, and other tight, synthetic underclothes, you are more likely to breed bad bacteria.
If you are an athlete, consider switching to loose pants and cotton underwear to allow breathing and airflow in your genital area.
If you experience any form of genial itching, schedule an appointment with your doctor for testing and appropriate treatment. Our Sexual Health Clinic is available to offer all kinds of test to determine the cause of genital itching, including private HIV testing near you. Call us today on 0203 475 1653 to schedule an appointment.