Skin irritations or rashes can occur anywhere on the body, including on a woman’s vagina. While they are normally not a sign of a serious problem, they can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. If left untreated, these rashes can also begin to effect other areas in a woman’s life. Sexual intercourse can become uncomfortable, self-esteem can begin to drop, and eventually overall health can begin to decline.
Causes of Vaginal Rashes
There are several common causes for a vaginal rash to develop and they often include,
- Sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes and warts, and trichomoniasis can cause rashes, burning, and vaginal itching along with other symptoms. If you suspect these or any other sexually transmitted disease might be responsible for your vaginal rash, it is important to see a health care professional.
- Bacterial vaginosis can occur when the delicate ph balance in the vagina is disturbed. The vagina is home to a mix of healthy bacteria, but when harmful bacteria begins to multiply an infection can occur. Some of the symptoms can include, a rash, reddness, itching and burning sensations.
- A yeast infection is also characterized by a vaginal rash, and occur when the bacteria candida grows unchecked in the vulva and vaginal areas. Vaginal yeast infections are more common in women who are on antibiotics or have a weakened immune system. A thick, white discharge can also accompany a yeast infection.
- As women begin to enter into menopause, their estrogen levels will begin to drop. This decrease in hormonal levels can lead to vaginal dryness and irritation. As the vaginal walls begin to thin and become less moist, they are easier to irritate. Sexual intercourse can also cause redness and irritation, when the vagina is not well lubricated.
- Harsh chemicals and perfume can cause a vaginal rash to develop. Feminine hygiene products, bath soaps, and laundry detergents can all cause redness and itching. Latex condoms and some lubricants can also cause allergic reactions. This can be easily fixed, by simply switching products.
- Tight fitting or synthetic clothing can rub against the sensitive area and cause an irritating rash to develop. Tight fitting cloths can also be responsible for a bacterial infection, which will also result in redness and itching.
A less common cause of vaginal rashes is known a lichen sclerosis. This rare skin disorder causes white patches to develop on the vulva. If left untreated, this rash can ultimately result in permanent vaginal scarring.
Treatment for Vaginal Rashes
In many cases, the vaginal rash will clear up on its own. Rashes that are a result of an allergic reaction can be easily treated and prevented from reoccurring by switching to different products. Feminine hygiene and bath products should be free from heavy perfumes and chemicals, and vaginal irritations that are a result of dry sexual intercourse can be helped by using a vaginal lubricant.
Other causes of vaginal rashes may require additional advice from a health care professional who might recommend hormonal therapy for women going through menopause. Vaginal irritation caused by sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotics. In some cases, antifungal and steroidal creams can also be used, especially when the rash is caused by a yeast infection.
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Home Remedies and Treatments for Vaginal Rashes
In some instances, vaginal rashes and irritation can be easily treated and prevented. Some of the common home remedies that can help relieve the itching and burning sensations caused by a rash include,
- Refrain from using any products that contain harsh chemicals or strong perfumes that might irritate the sensitive area.
- Gently wash your vaginal area with warm water and unscented soap once a day. It is not recommended to bath more than this, since frequent washings can cause the vagina to dry out and become irritated.
- After every bowel movement, it is important to wipe from the front of the vagina to the back. This can help to prevent harmful bacteria from the anus from entering into the vaginal area.
- Loose fitting clothing and cotton underwear can help to prevent the harmful bacteria from growing unchecked in the vagina and causing infection or irritation.
- Vaginal lubrication can help to prevent vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.
In the case of young girls, if a rash or irritation develops on the vagina or one the surrounding area a health care professional should be consulted. In some instances, it could be a sign of sexual abuse or trauma.
While a vaginal rash is uncomfortable and even embarrassing, the majority of them can be easily treated and prevented. If the rash worsens or frequently returns, a professional should be consulted.