Natural Remedies for Vaginal Itching

Vaginal itching can be irritating and embarrassing. It can be hard to figure out the cause. Is it your new soap or a yeast infection?

To get rid of it, you have to know the cause. That may mean a trip to your healthcare provider's office.

But you may be able to ease the itch with natural home remedies. This article looks at common causes of vaginal itching, what may help, and when you need medical attention.

When to See a Healthcare Provider for Vaginal Itching - Illustration by Jessica Olah

Verywell / Jessica Olah

Yeast Infection 

Yeast naturally lives in your vagina. A yeast infection is an overgrowth of that yeast. It's typically caused by Candida albicans. But several Candida species can cause it.

Yeast infections usually cause:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Abnormal discharge

How Common Are Yeast Infections?

Vaginal yeast infections are quite common. Each year, an estimated 1-million Americans get one. About 75% of people with vaginas will have at least one yeast infection in their lifetime.

Home Remedies: Yeast Infections

You can treat a yeast infection at home. You might choose over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal products or home remedies.

The symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, though. That includes some STDs. So a medical diagnosis is important. Then you can choose how you treat it.

Probiotics

Vaginal bacteria and yeast keep each other in check. But sometimes the bacteria population drops. Then yeast grows out of control.

Probiotics are food for bacteria. That can increase their numbers and get things back in balance.

You can get probiotics through supplements or yogurt. Research suggests eating yogurt can balance the microbiome in your gut. So far, it's not clear whether it helps with vaginal yeast infections.

If you try yogurt, choose one that's low in sugar, like Greek yogurt. Yeast feeds on sugar.

Boric Acid

Boric acid powder may treat yeast infections. One small study suggests it's as effective as fluconazole. That's the antifungal medicine in brands like Monistat.

More research is needed to know for sure. And little is known about its long-term safety. Don't use it to treat recurring problems without talking to your healthcare provider.

Boric acid is toxic in large amounts. To keep levels low, only use it topically or as vaginal suppositories.

Baking Soda Baths

A baking soda bath may also help. One lab study suggests baking soda can kill Candida. But it's unknown whether it can do this in your body.

For a baking soda bath, add between a quarter cup and two cups to warm water. Then lie back and relax.

Recap

Fungal overgrowth causes vaginal yeast infections. Home remedies include probiotics, boric acid, and baking soda baths.

Hormones 

Hormonal changes can cause vaginal itching during:

Low estrogen levels can lead to dry, itchy vaginal skin.

Sometimes, a big estrogen drop can cause vaginal atrophy. That includes dryness, burning, and itching.

Home Remedies: Hormone-Related Itching

You can't control your hormones. But you have options for easing the itch from hormonal shifts. They include:

  • Cool compress: Wet a washcloth with cool water and place it over your vulva (the outer genitalia).
  • Colloidal oatmeal bath: Colloidal oatmeal powder may lower skin inflammation. That can help relieve itching and irritation. Just dissolve oatmeal into a warm bath and soak for up to 20 minutes.

Recap

Low estrogen can cause vaginal dryness. That may lead to itching and irritation. A cool compress or colloidal oatmeal bath may help.

Chemical Irritation 

Some chemicals irritate vaginal tissues. That may cause itching. Possible irritants include:

  • Laundry detergents
  • Soaps
  • Body washes
  • Bath salts
  • Bubble baths
  • Douches
  • Feminine sprays

Some people are allergic to these products. That can lead to itching and rashes all over.

Home Remedies: Chemical Irritation

Home remedies for itching due to chemicals include:

  • Avoidance: Not using a product should clear up the itching.
  • Wearing cotton underwear: Cotton is breathable. It may reduce irritation.
  • Taking a colloidal oatmeal bath: The anti-inflammatory properties may help. (See information above.)

Recap

Chemical irritation should go away when you stop using the product. Cotton underwear and oatmeal baths can help while symptoms fade.

Skin Conditions 

The skin diseases eczema or psoriasis sometimes cause vaginal itching. They're more common elsewhere, though.

Eczema is a scaly, red rash. It's most common on the elbows, backs of the knees, neck, wrists, or ankles.

Psoriasis also causes a red, scaly rash. It's typically on the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, soles, scalp, face, and palms.

How Common Is Eczema?

Eczema is quite common. An estimated 20% of Americans will have it at some point. It's most common in people with environmental or food allergies or a family history of asthma.  

Home Remedies: Vaginal Itching From Skin Conditions

You can soothe the itch of eczema or psoriasis with:

  • Aloe vera cream: Aloe vera is proven to soothe itching from a variety of ailments. Use it on the vulva and inside the vagina.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil may be effective for eczema. Research suggests topical coconut oil is more effective than mineral oil.

Recap

While uncommon, eczema or psoriasis can affect the genitals. Aloe vera cream and coconut oil may help.

Bacterial Vaginosis  

When there aren't enough good vaginal bacteria, the bad bacteria thrive. That imbalance can trigger bacterial vaginosis (BV).

BV symptoms include:

  • Vaginal itching
  • White or gray discharge
  • A strong, fish-like odor
  • Burning during urination

 Home Remedies: Bacterial Vaginosis

You may need prescription medication for BV. But home remedies may help with symptoms.

Yogurt and probiotics may work. Some trials suggest priobiotics are effective. However, systematic reviews haven't found much evidence for them.

Other home remedies are:

  • Raw honey ointment: Antibacterial properties of honey have been shown to help soothe vaginal itching and even treat BV.
  • Baking soda or colloidal oatmeal baths: A warm bath with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal has been shown to help relieve itching. Don't use baking soda if you have cuts or open sores.
  • Topical Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt can re-introduce good bacteria to the vagina. Use it alone, with honey, or with vaginal cream.
  • Garlic tablets: Garlic's antibacterial properties make it useful in BV. Taking it in tablet form ensures you're getting enough.

Recap

Bacterial vaginosis results from an imbalance in the vaginal flora. Raw honey, baking soda, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt are topical treatment options. Garlic tablets may also help.

Vulvar Cancer   

While rare, vaginal itching is sometimes from vulvar cancer. It may also be from a more common condition called lichen sclerosus.

Lichen sclerosus can be a precursor to vulvar cancer. So it's important to get medical attention for vaginal itching that doesn't go away.

The itching from vulvar cancer is typically alongside symptoms such as:

  • Burning
  • Bleeding that won't stop
  • The skin becoming redder or whiter

Home Remedies: Itching From Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer needs to be treated by a healthcare provider. But you can soothe the itching with:

  • A cold compress
  • An oatmeal bath
  • Topical coconut oil

Be sure to get your healthcare provider's approval before using any home remedies.

Recap

Vulvar cancer or lichen sclerosis can cause vaginal itching. Lichen sclerosus may lead to vulvar cancer. A cold compress, oatmeal bath, or topical coconut oil may ease symptoms. These conditions require medical treatment.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

See a healthcare provider if vaginal itching is:

  • Disrupting your life
  • Disrupting your sleep
  • Not improving after a week of using home remedies

While some causes will go away on their own, others require medical treatment. Symptoms that always warrant medical attention include:

  • Blistering or ulcers around your genitals, especially on the vulva
  • Redness, swelling, pain, or tenderness in the genital area
  • A change in vaginal discharge or odor
  • Pain or discomfort during urination or sexual penetration
  • Difficulty urinating

Remember home remedies are for relieving symptoms. Most won't treat the underlying cause of your itch.

Summary

Many conditions can cause vaginal itching. Some need to be treated with prescription medication. So see your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.

Home remedies can make you more comfortable during treatment or while the condition resolves on its own.

See a healthcare provider for symptoms such as an ongoing itch, bleeding, blistering, swelling, pain, or changes in the skin or discharge.

A Word From Verywell

Vaginal itching may not be something you're comfortable discussing with your healthcare provider.

It's important that you get it checked out, though. A few minutes of emotional discomfort can bring a much faster end to your physical discomfort as well as protecting your long-term health.

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