Vaginal itching during menopause: causes, remedies, and treatments.
During menopause, so many changes happen to our bodies, from vaginal dryness, body itching, vagina atrophy, and vaginal itching during menopause.
Due to low levels of estrogen, vaginal tissues become thinner and dry causing vaginal atrophy which has symptoms like vaginal itching and pain in the vagina.
According to this study, it was concluded that during menopause, sexual dysfunctions increase by about 30% due to vaginal atrophy which has symptoms of vaginal dryness and itching.
Causes of vaginal itching during menopause
Vaginal atrophy is when vaginal walls become thinner, dryer, and inflamed due to the decrease in estrogen hormone in the body.
Major symptoms are vaginal dryness, vaginal burning, vaginal discharge, itch in the vagina, urgency with urination, urinary inconsistence, light bleeding, discomfort during sex, recurrent urinary tract infections, and burning during urination.
According to the American Association of Family Physicians, up to 40% of women in the Postmenopausal stage have symptoms of vaginal atrophy.
For some women, atrophic Vaginitis can also lead to distressing urinary symptoms because the condition causes both urinary and vaginal symptoms. Doctors use the term Genitourinary Syndrome of menopause (GSM).
Vaginal atrophy is the major cause of vaginal itching during menopause but there are also other causes of vaginal itching which include
The vagina has both good and bad bacteria which must stay in balance. When the bad bacteria outweigh the good bacteria, you will end up having a yeast infection.
Major causes of vaginal yeast infection are the use of antibiotics, use of perfumes and douches, stress, hormonal imbalance, uncontrolled diabetes, pregnancy, and poor eating habits.
Vaginal yeast infections will lead to vaginal itching, painful sex, and pain during urination, redness, swelling around the vagina, and soreness.
Check out these feminine products that can help you get rid of yeast infection.
BV is similar to yeast infection, it’s a result of an imbalance of the bacteria in the vagina. The vagina has lactobacilli (good bacteria and Anaerobic (bad bacteria)
When the bad bacteria outweigh the good bacteria, it upsets the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina causing bacterial vaginosis.
People with BV may experience vaginal itching, burning during urination, foul-smelling fishy odor, and thin, white, gray, green vaginal discharge.
Major causes of BV are having sex with multiple partners, douching, and lack of lactobacilli bacteria, tight clothing, stress, and poor immune system.
According to the 2014 study, BV was present in 23% and 38% of postmenopausal women in both waves 1 and 2. Women found with BV in wave 1 were more than ten times as likely to be categorized with BV in wave 2.
Irritation from Products
With viral trends of having a better tasting and good-smelling vagina, women of all age types have resorted to using various products to achieve the vagina of their dreams.
Perfumed products, soaps, scented sanitary products can irritate the vulva causing vaginal itching.
You should be careful of what you use around or on your vagina.
Your vagina has its own natural taste and smell, trying so hard to alter can cause vaginal irritation.
There are other causes of vaginal itching discussed here.
How can I stop vaginal itching during menopause?
There are both home remedies and prescriptions that can be used to stop vaginal itching during menopause.
Home remedies to stop vaginal itching during menopause.
Use baking soda.
Baking soda can be used for quick relief from vaginal itching.
Add 1tsp in one liter of water. Sit in the bath for around 10 to 20 minutes.
Avoid scratching and keep the area cool and dry .
Eat probiotic foods
By eating probiotic foods, you can increase the number of lactobacillus bacteria in your vagina.
Greek yogurt is the most effective probiotic food that can be eaten for better vagina health.
It is also used as a home remedy against vaginal itching, all you have to do is apply yogurt to your vagina, wait for 10-15 minutes and wash it with plain water.
Use of natural oil
Essential oregano and tea tree oil can provide quick relief from vaginal itching during menopause.
Note: Essential oils can only be applied externally and not digested internally.
Use Cotton underwear
Cotton underwear is helpful if you have vulva or vaginal discomfort because it’s breathable which means it can reduce itch skin conditions.
Wearing 100% cotton underwear can help prevent the growth of yeast infections because yeast grows in areas that aren’t well ventilated.
Use apple cider vinegar
Having an apple cider vinegar bath can help reduce vaginal itching during menopause. it’s also a good home remedy against yeast infections.
Add a half cup of water to your bath water and soak in the bath for 10 to 40 minutes.
Even though there is little evidence that apple cider vinegar works, it has been used as a home remedy for centuries.
Use coconut oil
According to the 2016 study, it was concluded that coconut oil can kill candida Albicans which cause yeast infections. However, the study was done in the lab and there is no enough evidence to confirm that it works on humans.
It has also been used as both a moisturizer and a lubricant.
Make sure you choose 100% original coconut oil with no added components.
Other treatments for vaginal itching during menopause.
Use moisturizers and Lubricants
Since you have low estrogen during menopause, you should start to include some moisturizers and lubricants into your lifestyle.
Vaginal moisturizers have an adhesiveness character making it possible to retain water in the vaginal wall. Moisturizers also contain excipients that influence vaginal PH.
For women facing vaginal dryness during intercourse, lubricants can help to avoid pain and irritation of the skin. Check out the best lubes to buy right now.
Lubricants that contain propylene, sweeteners, glycerin and parabens can alter the PH of the vagina.
Use of Vaginal estrogen
Vaginal estrogen exists in various forms and has been reported to relieving systems of GSM.
However, it has been reported to cause mastalgia and vaginal bleeding.
Always report to the doctor if it happens. Vaginal estrogen had proven effective but it’s best you start in small doses.
The use of hormone treatments have been beneficial at reducing the symptoms associated with menopause.
According to international guidelines, they are not recommended in women who only suffer vulvar and vaginal symptoms but when they are used, evidence shows that they can restore physiological vaginal PH and thickness of the vaginal walls.
Before using hormones, always consult your doctor first.
How to manage vaginal itching during menopause
- Avoid using perfumed products on your vagina. These can be toilet paper, tampons or pads.
- Wear 100% cotton underwear because they are breathable.
- Wear loose clothes.
- Avoid scratching when itching.
- Have protected sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
- Apply some lube during sex.
- Use vaginal moisturizers to avoid dry vaginal walls.
- Wash your clothes with perfumed products.