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Although itching in the genital area is extremely annoying, it does not necessarily have to be a serious illness. Allergic reactions to the material of the underwear or the detergent used, improper intimate hygiene or a reaction to the shave can cause permanent itching. Prolonged and / or recurring symptoms should definitely be clarified by a doctor.
Frequent accompanying symptoms in addition to the annoying itching are discharge, reddening of the skin and / or mucous membrane, swelling, oozing, burning and pain. Complaints during or after intercourse are also possible.
Different causes in men and women
Itching in the genital area can have various causes. Exaggerated hygiene with the wrong washing lotion, allergies, vaginal thrush, diabetes mellitus, infections, hormonal disorders and venereal diseases - all these are possible reasons for itching in the genital area.
Wrong intimate hygiene
Daily intimate hygiene is important, but this is often exaggerated. In the intimate area of the woman there is an acidic environment, which is important for defense. This normal flora is destroyed by washing it too often with aggressive soaps. Warm water is sufficient, which also applies to men's hygiene. However, if you do not want to do without a washing gel, it is best to use a mild one that is soap and alcohol-free and contains no fragrances.
Special gels for the intimate area that contain lactic acid are now available for women. But here too the principle is that less is more. Washcloths are best not used at all, because bacteria and fungi feel really good in them. Sufficient drying is also important. Intimate cleansing wipes are really only to be used in an emergency. These usually contain perfume that irritates the skin in the genital area unnecessarily and can cause an allergic reaction.
Synthetic underwear is not recommended, especially in the case of recurrent inflammation. The synthetic fibers cannot absorb the sweat and thus provide a moist environment in which pathogens spread more. If you want to use panty liners, it is a good idea to get them without plastic films. These provide too much moisture in the panties and therefore contribute to an increased risk of inflammation. A daily change of underwear is a matter of course.
Itching in the genital area can be caused by an allergic reaction. The shower gel used for intimate hygiene or the detergent for the laundry can be to blame. Underwear that is not washed before being worn for the first time can also cause uncomfortable itching.
Taking antibiotics can have a negative effect on the vaginal flora. This means that the acidic environment in the vagina is suddenly no longer so "acidic" and can no longer provide the necessary defense. Thereupon a vaginal fungus can spread, which manifests itself with itching in the intimate area. Naturopathy recommends taking antibiotics with preparations that contain certain physiological bacteria to strengthen the intestinal flora and minimize side effects. After antibiotic therapy, a bowel cleansing should follow.
Diabetes mellitus is often accompanied by dry skin, which can also lead to itching in various parts of the body, including the genital area. Especially when the sugar levels are high and those affected are poorly medicated, many complain of constant itching. A visit to the doctor is necessary here. A blood test shows how high the sugar levels are and whether the therapy needs to be changed. Diabetes mellitus patients should provide their skin with a moisturizing cream every day. Special products that contain urea, moisturize and relieve itching. When choosing care products, it is also important that they are not petroleum-based. A tip from naturopathy is coconut oil. This oil makes the skin supple and stimulates the production of skin cells.
The vaginal flora changes in women with menopause due to the drop in estrogen. The moisture in the vagina also decreases. This causes burning and itching. The hormonal change weakens the immune system in the area of the vagina - germs can penetrate more easily. The pill or the spiral may also contribute to hormonal disorders.
Genital herpes is an infection with the herpes simplex virus type II. This is usually transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse. The disease is accompanied by itching in the genital area, with painful and tingling vesicles and swelling. There may also be general symptoms such as feeling sick, fever, body aches, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes. Unfortunately, this virus remains in the body forever and can always be brought back to life.
Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with whitish, shiny spots, itching, pain and feelings of tension during sexual intercourse. If the disease has progressed, the affected skin areas can harden, the labia atrophy (atrophy = tissue shrinkage) and narrowing in the area of the bladder outlet. The causes of lichen sclerosus are not clear. Autoimmune processes may be involved.
Vaginal thrush - candidiasis (infection with a fungus of the genus Candida)
A typical symptom of candidiasis is itching in the genital area. There are also other complaints, such as burning, redness and whitish, friable discharge. Symptoms such as feeling sore, painful urination and painful intercourse are also possible. The yeast Candida albicans is responsible for this in up to 90 percent of cases. A vaginal fungus develops due to an imbalance in the vaginal flora. The vaginal milieu depends massively on the hormonal situation of the woman. This can change during periods of menstruation or during menopause. From the beginning of the sexual maturity of the woman, the likelihood of developing a yeast infection increases.
When itching in the genital area, the psyche should not be neglected as the cause. Problems, worries and stress can lead to itching. Relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation and autogenic training are recommended here. Lavender strengthens the nerves, makes it more resistant to stress and soothes. This wonderful, fragrant plant with the purple flowers can serve well as tea or in the form of drops.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted, bacterial venereal disease that can lead to serious infections and requires medical treatment. Gonorrhea not only affects the genital organs, but can also lead to inflammation of the throat or anal area. Symptoms of this venereal disease include reddening of the mucous membranes, discharge and itching in the genital area. Painful urination, skin lesions and fever may also occur. Gonorrhea is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as they can transmit the disease to the fetus, increasing the risk of miscarriage. The late effects of untreated gonorrhea are infertility, both in men and women.
Itching in pregnant women
Intimate itching in pregnant women should be clarified by a doctor as soon as possible. Inflammation in the genital area must always be taken seriously and treated during pregnancy so as not to endanger the unborn child.
Itching in the genital area can be completely harmless. However, if this occurs violently, again and again or also in the long term, a doctor must be consulted. In pregnant women, as already mentioned, this is basically necessary.
If there is an allergy, the triggering allergen, for example the detergent or the material of the underwear, should be avoided. Daily intimate hygiene should also be reconsidered.
If the itching in the genital area is based on a hormonal cause, the current hormone situation can be queried using a suitable blood or saliva test. In naturopathy, nature-identical hormones are prescribed in homeopathic form or as ointments. Conventional medicine tends to use hormones.
Especially in women with menopause who complain of itching and dryness in the genital area, the supply of lactic acid bacteria through vaginal suppositories is important. These can bring the flora back into balance and thus strengthen the immune system. Itching and dryness are also reduced.
This procedure is equally important if you have a vaginal fungus. In addition, antifungal ointments that fight the fungus are prescribed here. Naturopathy uses ointments that contain mayoran, lavender, echinacea and the like. In addition, in most cases there is an intestinal rehabilitation because the yeast is relatively often already in the intestine before it affects the vaginal region. The Candia albicans loves sugary foods. In order to "eradicate" it, the following diet is recommended: little to no sugar, no white flour, no sugary drinks, little sweet fruit, no yeast products, no kefir.
An STD like gonorrhea mentioned should definitely be in the hands of a doctor. Even "fooling around" has lost nothing here. Using a condom prevents the transmission of bacteria or viruses.
If the cause of the itching in the genital area is an underlying diabetes mellitus disease, the treating doctor will check whether the affected person has the correct medication. Diabetics should practice suitable skin care. This has already been discussed in the section "Diabetes mellitus".
If genital herpes is present, it is usually treated with antiviral agents, so-called virustatics. These are prescribed both orally as a tablet and externally as an ointment or gel. Naturopathy recommends therapy for herpes infections that boosts the immune system, for example by taking Echinacea for a certain period of time. For external use, for example, manuka honey, propolis tincture and St. John's wort oil are used. In addition, numerous home remedies for herpes (myrrh, black cumin oil, garlic, clove, etc.) are available for self-treatment.
A harmless itching in the genital area can be treated by rubbing with a mixture of lavender essential oil and almond oil. For this purpose, three drops of pure, high-quality essential lavender oil are mixed with twenty milliliters of good almond oil. This is applied to the affected areas in the morning and evening - but only externally, not internally. Homeopathic remedies for itching are, for example, Rhus toxocodendron or Urtica urens. Schüssler salts can also help. Here, as in homeopathy, the cause must of course be found in order to find the appropriate remedy. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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