Itchy Pubic Hair: Everything You Need to Know

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Having an itchy groin area can be frustrating, worrisome, and embarrassing. Still, more often than not, the discomfort is a normal occurrence and not a sign of a more serious condition like an STI. Sometimes the skin around the genital area is just itchy; other times, the itchiness is a result of an allergic reaction or irritation from shaving your pubic hair.

However, if the itching is excessive, painful, or if you notice other symptoms such as discoloration, bumps, or a rash, it can be a sign of a medical issue that needs to be addressed.

This article will look at the possible causes of genital itchiness and when to see a healthcare professional.

Woman prepping to shave pubic area

Chaiwatt Chankasamsak / EyeEm /Getty Images

Causes of Itchy Pubic Hair

There are a number of reasons for an itchy pubic area. At times, it is a normal result of dry skin or skin irritation from sweating, using certain skincare products, or wearing tight clothing.

If you already have a diagnosed skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, your itch can be a result of these conditions. it's important to speak with your healthcare provider about the best way to treat the groin area and relieve your symptoms.

Other reasons that the genital area may itch include the following:

Razor Burn

Razor burn is a common cause of itchiness in the groin area. One study found that 80% of people who groom their pubic hair themselves have experienced genital itching on at least one occasion.

That's because shaving (or waxing) creates tiny tears in the skin and causes inflammation of the hair follicles. This can lead to the development of ingrown hairs, skin lesions, or small pimples in the pubic area that may burn or itch.

To reduce the risk of razor burn when grooming your pubic hair, use clean materials and a lubricant, like soap or shaving cream, to minimize irritation. Moisturizing after shaving can also help prevent razor burn and its associated itching.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a delayed skin reaction that typically occurs after you encounter something that you are allergic to or a substance that irritates your skin. It usually causes an itchy, red rash, oftentimes with bumps or blisters. It can also lead to burning, flaking, or cracking of the skin.

Common culprits of contact dermatitis in the groin are fragrances and chemicals in detergents, soaps, and other genital cleansing products, including douches and hygiene sprays, adhesives (such as those used to adhere panty liners and menstrual pads), and rubber products.

To get relief from this type of itching, you will need to determine what your body is reacting to and avoid that fragrance or chemical. The itch should go away on its own, but if it persists, contact your healthcare provider. They can help you find the culprit and the right course of treatment.

Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch)

Jock itch is a contagious rash that is caused by a fungus known to grow and spread in the groin area. It is especially common in athletes, particularly adolescent boys and young men.

This condition can develop due to friction from clothing, continuous sweating, or moisture in the groin area. It can also be spread to the groin from the feet, or from person to person if there is contact with unwashed clothing or direct skin-to-skin contact.

Symptoms include raised scaly patches with defined edges that are also known to blister. Sometimes, the patches can change the color of the affected skin. Keeping the area dry and using an over-the-counter (OTC) jock itch cream should relieve the itching. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare provider for additional treatment options.

Crabs (Pubic Lice)

Pubic lice, or crabs, are tiny insects that live on the pubic hair around the genitals. They can also live in the armpits, beard or mustache, eyebrows, eyelashes, and chest hair.

These insects are typically spread through sexual contact, but you can also catch crabs by sharing clothes or linens with another person who has the condition. Pubic lice is not the same as the lice that are found on the head and scalp. Head lice are a different breed of insect, which is more easily spread.

It's important to avoid scratching if pubic lice are the cause of your genital itchiness. Scratching can cause tiny tears in the skin, which can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause an infection. Pubic lice can be treated with OTC topical creams or anti-lice shampoos.

 Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

Yeast infections are very common in women. Approximately 75% of women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lifetime. When a yeast infection occurs, you may experience genital itching as well as burning, discoloration, and discharge from the vagina.

This condition is caused by an overproduction of a type of yeast called candida. This yeast buildup often occurs due to a pH imbalance in the vagina. Taking medication such as antibiotics, consuming too much sugar, and having a weakened immune system can also cause yeast infections.

OTC yeast infection treatment usually clears up this condition and relieves itchiness within a few days. However, it is important to see a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment, as the symptoms can mimic other conditions such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Scabies

Scabies is caused by a microscopic eight-legged bug called the human itch mite. This insect digs into the top layer of the skin to feed and lay eggs. This results in an intense itchy sensation which may or may not is accompanied by a rash.

Anyone can get scabies. It can be transferred from skin-to-skin contact. This often occurs during sexual activity.

There are no OTC medications approved to treat scabies, so it's important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and prescription for treatment if needed. A prescription topical ointment should relieve the itching within a few days.

 Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a condition in which the hair follicles become inflamed or blocked. This condition can occur due to shaving, exposure to fungus, ingrown hairs, or friction from clothing. Lycra and tight-fitting blue jeans can irritate the area.

When a person has folliculitis, they develop crusty sores or acne pimples with white tips or small itchy blisters that can pop. The damaged or blocked follicles often become infected with bacteria. If an infection occurs, you'll need to see a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, which may include a topical antibiotic cream.

At-Home Treatment

The treatment of genital itching depends on the specific condition. If the cause of the itching is minor, it most likely will clear up on its own. Some ways to prevent genital itching include:

  • Keep the genital area clean and dry.
  • Thoroughly wash clothing, towels, and bed linens regularly.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing.
  • Wear breathable underwear.
  • Avoid fragrances, harsh cleaners, and other irritating chemicals.

If itching persists, you should consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Depending on the condition, your healthcare provider may recommend one of the following OTC medications:

  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Anti-itch creams (corticosteroid)
  • Antifungal cream (terbinafine)
  • Hydrocortisone cream

 Prescription Treatment

Depending on the specific condition, your healthcare provider may prescribe a medication to treat the cause of your genital itchiness. Common prescription medication used to treat genital itching include the following:

  • Eurax (crotamiton): an antifungal cream for scabies
  • Nix Creme Rinse (permethrin) for pubic lice and scabies
  • Antibiotics (oral or topical)
  • Prednisone (steroid)

When to See a Doctor

If your genital area itching is severe or painful and the rash is bothersome, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider, especially if the itching or rash persists longer than a few days. It's important to get an accurate diagnosis, so you can treat the right condition and find relief from the itching.

There is no need to feel embarrassed. Your healthcare provider is there to help you find the appropriate treatment plan and inform you of ways to prevent the condition in the future.

Summary

Itchiness in the genital region is common and is often easily treatable, but it's important to determine the cause of the itchiness to ensure the right treatment. Common causes of genital itching include contact dermatitis, jock itch, scabies, yeast infection, and folliculitis. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the cause and point you to the best treatment and prevention strategies.

A Word From Verywell

Having an itchy genital area can be annoying. If you are experiencing irritation in your groin, try to keep the area clean and dry, wear looser clothing, remove sweaty clothing right away after exercising, and avoid scented cleaning products and other skin irritants for a few days and see if it reduces your symptoms.

You know your body best. If there are symptoms that don’t clear up within a few days or get worse, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider. They are available to help you understand your condition and take the necessary steps to get relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an itchy pubic area normal?

    An itchy pubic area is usually harmless. If the itching persists more than a few days or is accompanied by a rash or other symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider. The symptoms could be related to an infection or more serious medical condition.

  • What should I do for itchy pubes?

    If you have itchy pubic hair, you can try avoiding scents and soothe razor burns, but if itching persists, you should consult your healthcare provider. The itching could be due to a condition that needs medical attention. It is best to get the proper diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional.

  • Why does the itching get worse at night?

    The itching can get worse at night due to increased moisture in the area, temperature changes, bacteria, and increased awareness. There are certain conditions, such as pubic lice, in which the itching gets worse at night.

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12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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