The Causes and Treatment of Vaginal Itching During Pregnancy

If you're experiencing vaginal itching during pregnancy, you may feel concerned about the cause. Vaginal itching may occur due to an infection, hormonal changes, or certain medications.

Vaginal itchiness during pregnancy.

Brianna Gilmartin / Verywell

This article will explore the causes of vaginal itching that can occur during pregnancy. It will also explain how vaginal itching is treated, as well as how to prevent this symptom going forward.

What Causes Vaginal Itching During Pregnancy?

There are many reasons you may experience vaginal itching during pregnancy including:

  • Yeast infections, also called vaginal thrush, are caused by a fungus called candida. These infections are especially common during the second trimester and can lead to itching, as well as other uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Some sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes or trichomoniasis, can cause itchiness.
  • Bacterial vaginosis, which is a vaginal infection that pregnant individuals are at a higher risk for getting, can lead to an irritated and itchy vagina. This infection puts your baby at a higher risk for premature birth, as well as low birth-weight.
  • Vaginal dryness can occur if you are breastfeeding while pregnant. Breastfeeding decreases estrogen, which is a hormone, and can lead to vaginal dryness and itchiness.
  • Hormone changes during pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive which can lead to dry, rash-prone, and itchy skin.
  • Pregnancy hormones can make you sweat more. Sweat can irritate your vagina and lead to itchiness.
  • Medications, like some allergy or cold medications, or antidepressants, can cause vaginal dryness, which may trigger itchiness.

Recap

Vaginal itching may be triggered by various infections, pregnancy-related hormones, as well as certain medications.

How Do You Treat Vaginal Itching?

There are various ways to treat vaginal itching depending on the underlying cause. Some home remedies include:

  • Taking baking soda baths
  • Making a paste of baking soda and water and applying the paste to the area that itches
  • Applying topical coconut oil to the area
  • Wearing cotton underwear and changing your underwear when you become sweaty
  • Using a cold compress to help relieve itchiness

While you can try home remedies if you have an infection, you will also need to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

Medications for Vaginal Itching

Infections are treated with various medications that your doctor will ensure are safe to take while pregnant. If you believe a current medication you are taking is triggering itchiness, be sure to let your doctor know right away.

  • For a yeast infection, an over-the-counter antifungal cream, or pill taken by mouth, should quickly relieve the itch, as well as other associated symptoms.
  • Antiviral or antibiotic medications may be prescribed for various sexually transmitted infections if you test positive for one.
  • Bacterial vaginosis is treated with an antibiotic medication that may be taken in pill form by mouth, or in cream form that is inserted into the vagina.

How Do You Prevent Vaginal Irritation?

To keep your vagina clean and reduce irritation:

  • Keep your vaginal area clean and dry.
  • Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina.
  • Don't use vaginal douches, which are devices that force water or a solution into the vagina.
  • Use fragrance-free soaps and laundry detergents.
  • Wear cotton underwear and change into a fresh pair if you become overly sweaty.
  • When in the bath or shower, do not use fragrant products that can irritate your vagina.

Summary

Vaginal itching can be triggered by pregnancy hormones, certain medications, and some infections.

Some home remedies may relieve vaginal itching, however if you have an infection, or are experiencing other uncomfortable symptoms, it's best to reach out to your doctor.

Vaginal infections may be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medication depending on the specific diagnosis.

To keep your vagina healthy, be sure to practice good hygiene and note anything that may trigger irritation or itchiness.

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13 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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