If you're suffering from an itchy vagina, you might have hoped that it was just your underwear bunching in strange ways. But after a few days of discomfort, when you realize it's something more permanent, it might be time to take action. Whether it's your actual vagina that's irritating you or the area around your vagina and vulva, something amiss down there is not something you want to ignore.
The good news is that itching is a very common symptom associated with a number of treatable vaginal infections. But the annoying news is that you should probably go to a doctor so they can diagnose the issue before you attempt to ease the itch, says Roshini Raj, MD, a board-certified physician and women's health advocate. "Because it is difficult to figure out which kind of infection it is on your own, it is important to get the correct diagnosis and treatment from your doctor," Dr. Raj says. In most cases, it's best to treat the condition early before the irritation or inflammation becomes more severe, she says.
Before you can see a doctor, however, you might be wondering how to go about your daily life while dealing with this itch. There are a few steps you can take, but "it's mostly what you shouldn't do," says Lauren Streicher, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school and medical director of the Center for Sexual Health and the Center for Menopause.
Ahead, Dr. Streicher walks us through a step-by-step plan for how to deal with an itchy vagina, so you can feel better — fast.