Why Is My Vagina Itchy After Sex?

Feeling itchy anywhere on the body isn’t pleasant, but feeling itchy down there is particularly alarming. This is because most people automatically assume it’s a symptom of an STI, which include gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

But there are many more causes of genital itching, such as a yeast infection or not enough vaginal lubrication.

1. Hormonal Changes

Feeling itchy anyplace on the body is no fun, but when it’s in your vulva it can be especially bothersome. If the itching is accompanied by pain or discharge or is new, it’s worth looking into what might be to blame.

If lubrication isn’t the problem, the itchiness may be a sign of a yeast infection, Ob/Gyn Salena Zanotti says. This can happen around the time of your period, when hormones change and affect the balance of microorganisms in the vagina. If you suspect this is the case, try using antifungal ointments or creams to get rid of the excess yeast.

Another cause of genital itching is an allergy to your partner’s semen. This condition, known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity (SPH), can be caused by wearing latex condoms or lubricants. It’s important to switch to a latex-free version to avoid an allergic reaction.

When itching is accompanied by painful sores or a rash, it’s a possible symptom of sexually transmitted infections like genital warts, scabies and trichomoniasis. These can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex, and itching is one of the early signs. If this is the case, seek treatment immediately from your gynecologist. They can prescribe medication to treat your STI, and recommend desensitization practices to help prevent future recurrence.

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2. STIs

If you’re dealing with itchy genitals that just won’t quit, it’s probably time to see a doctor. Mild itching that only lasts a few days is usually nothing to worry about, but if the itching is prolonged or accompanied by other symptoms, like unusual vaginal discharge or odor, pain while peeing, or open sores around the genital area, it’s probably a sign of an infection or STD.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause itching in the penis, vulva, or anal area. STIs include genital herpes, warts, pubic lice, scabies and trichomoniasis. These infections can be passed on through vaginal, anal and oral sex or even just skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms of STIs can start as soon as two days after exposure and can last for up to 30 days or more.

Itching in the vulva and anal area can also be caused by a yeast infection, antibiotics or a lack of proper lubrication during intercourse. In these cases, over-the-counter creams and treatment kits can help, but if the itching is severe or is accompanied by a painful rash, fever, sores or discharge, talk to your doctor for a prescription or an EpiPen. If itching is due to a condom allergy, switch brands. Latex condoms can trigger an allergic reaction in some people, and the irritation caused by them may be what’s causing itchy genitals.

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3. Skin Conditions

Feeling itchy anywhere on your body can be alarming, but feeling itchy down there can be especially disturbing. Itchy genitals are often a sign of a sexually transmitted infection, and if itching is accompanied by a rash, sores, or a fishy odor, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Fortunately, most cases of itching in the vulva and penis are not serious and can be easily treated with home care. If you notice that your genitals become itchy after switching to certain menstrual or hygiene products, bath soap, or perfumes, stop using them right away and see if the itch subsides.

If you are itching in the groin area, which is also called the jock itch, you may have a fungal skin condition known as tinea cruris. This is common in men and women, and it can be caused by sharing towels or undergarments, excessive sweating in the groin area, and wearing tight clothes.

Lastly, itching in the groin can also be a sign of an allergic reaction to semen. If you have an allergy to semen, your doctor will likely prescribe antihistamines for mild symptoms or EpiPens for severe allergies (which are life-threatening). Alternatively, they might recommend a regimen of lubrication and foreplay that will build up tolerance over time.

4. Condoms

Itching down there is a problem that affects millions of women. When the delicate areas around the labia and clitoris become itchy, it can wreak havoc on your sexual experience. Itching can also be a sign of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, and some women develop an allergy to the partner’s semen (known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity).

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If itching is due to lack of lubrication, using a vaginal lubricant or avoiding perfumed soaps and body washes near the vulva should help. If a yeast infection is the culprit, antifungal ointments and creams can eliminate the infection. Bacterial vaginosis is remedied with antibiotics, and an allergic reaction to the partner’s semen can be treated with condoms, over-the-counter antihistamines or by desensitization practices.

If your itching is caused by an allergic reaction to latex, which is found in some brands of condoms, switching to plastic ones should solve the problem. To avoid an allergic reaction to sperm, couples can try injecting diluted semen into the vulva and gradually increasing the amount in small doses over time to build up tolerance. Vaginal itching can be embarrassing, but it is important to speak up and seek the help you need. If you are uncomfortable talking to your doctor or gynecologist about it, consider visiting a sexual health clinic. The staff at these centers are trained to handle sensitive questions and concerns, and can provide you with the care you need.

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