By Kellie Spilman
Shortly before and during my period, my labia and the skin around my vagina get a little more sensitive than usual, and a little itchy. I use Paragard for birth control, so I don’t take any hormones. Is this normal?
Yep, super normal! No cause for alarm. Menstrual cycles can have all kinds of effects on the vaginal area (a.k.a. your vulva), including mild aches or pains, and even slight itching around the time of your period. It’s typical for the levels of estrogen and progestin in your body to change right before your period starts, and this can cause a range of (usually minor) symptoms. This is commonly known as PMS.
There are some things you can do to help with those labia low days. A lot of over-the-counter creams exist to help with itchiness, and wearing cotton underwear can help with airflow to keep that area from getting even more irritated. If you’re using tampons during your period, you should use the lowest absorbency needed to avoid additional dryness and irritation.
If you’re having a seriously uncomfortable amount of itching and sensitivity, it may be a sign of something else — like an STD. If you think it might be something more serious than just normal vaginal itching, talk with a doctor or nurse just to be sure. Your local Planned Parenthood health center can help.