Vaginal itching can occur for a variety of reasons and most women report experiencing itchy genitals at least once in their lives. While there are numerous topical creams and over-the-counter medications to ease vaginal itching, baking soda baths are frequently recommended as an inexpensive treatment option.
But do baking soda baths really work for vaginal itching?
Read on to learn all about the causes of vaginal itching, if baking soda baths help, and additional natural remedies that can provide relief.
What Can Cause the Vaginal Area to Itch
Depending on your age, hygiene habits, and general health, the cause of vaginal itching can vary from woman to woman.
Vaginal infections such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and bacterial vaginosis are common causes of genital itching, as are sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause are also responsible for vaginal itching, as well as diabetes, skin conditions like eczema, lichen sclerosus, or psoriasis, and allergic reactions to soaps or detergents.
Where Baking Soda Comes In
Although it is mainly used for baking and cleaning, baking soda is also recommended as a natural remedy to soothe irritated skin, including vaginal and vulvar itching.
Do Baking Soda Baths Really Help Relieve Vaginal Itching?
Yes, when used correctly, the anti-inflammatory properties in baking soda are known to significantly relieve itching, as well as reduce swelling and redness.
As a precaution, it is important to understand that because it is alkaline, baking soda could increase the skin’s pH levels and lead to dryness or further irritation if used incorrectly.
However, when the appropriate amount is dissolved in water, the skin can absorb baking soda to soothe irritation and restore the skin’s natural pH balance.
Do Baking Soda Baths Cure Vaginal Infections?
It is important to understand that while baking soda can relieve vaginal itching, it will not treat underlying infections like urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, or sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis – all of which require antibiotic medication as treatment.
That said, baking soda has been proven as an effective and affordable way of treating and curing yeast infections in addition to alleviating symptoms like vaginal itching, burning during urination, and inflammation.
Baking Soda for Yeast Infections
Recent studies have shown that when dissolved in water, baking soda is capable of killing the bacteria that cause yeast overgrowth in the vagina. This is mainly due to the environment that the alkaline solution creates, which essentially prevents any further growth of the fungus.
Furthermore, the correct amount of baking soda keeps the skin adequately dry and dehydrates harmful bacteria, thereby eliminating the moist atmosphere in which candida cells are known to thrive.
Lastly, when baking soda is dissolved in water it works to rebalance and maintain a healthy pH level in the vagina, which encourages good bacteria to grow and keeps harmful microorganisms at bay.
Due to these antifungal properties of baking soda, many women’s health practitioners now recommend that women who are prone to yeast infections incorporate at least one baking soda bath into their weekly routine to promote vaginal health and keep future infections at bay.
Other Natural Remedies for Vaginal Itching
In addition to soaking in baking soda baths to relieve vaginal itching associated with genital infections, other natural remedies include taking probiotics and a natural supplement for women’s health called Boric Acid.
It is widely recognized that probiotics improve gut health and aid in digestion, however, studies have also confirmed that a daily probiotic can help women to re-balance pH levels when an infection sets in.
Additionally, a daily probiotic helps to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome and keep future infections at bay. Here at Intimate Rose, we’ve added cranberry and D-Mannose to our Flora Bloom Feminine Probiotics which make it even more difficult for infections to set in.
Boric acid has been used as a natural remedy for female health for over a century. These days, Boric Acid Suppositories are widely recommended by female health experts as an accompaniment to the prescribed antibiotic treatment for vaginal infections like BV, UTIs, and STIs.
In addition to relieving symptoms like itching, burning, and swelling, boric acid suppositories promote the perfect acid balance in the vagina and help to kill the TV parasite that causes trich, as well as the bacteria behind gonorrhea, chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infections.
How To Prepare a Baking Soda Bath For Vaginal Itching
- Before beginning your baking soda bath, ensure you have 20-40 minutes to relax in the bath and drink 1-2 cups of water to hydrate.
- Run a bath with warm water, add half a cup of baking soda, and move your hand through the water to allow the baking soda to dissolve properly. (According to dermatologists, warm rather than hot encourages relaxation and prevents further irritation to the already sensitive skin.)
- After soaking for 20-40 minutes, move slowly out of the bath to avoid any light-headedness, and rinse your body with fresh water to remove any residue of the baking soda and wash away toxins.
- Then gently pat the genital area dry, avoiding any rubbing with could cause further discomfort.
To relieve vaginal itching, soak in a baking soda bath twice or three times a day until symptoms subside.
Can Baking Soda Baths Be Harmful?
- Women who are allergic to baking soda
- Women with diabetes
- Women with large open wounds anywhere on the body
- Women with heart disease
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Women who are susceptible to fainting & light-headedness
Baking soda is an inexpensive household product that can significantly help to relieve vaginal itching, irritation, and swelling when dissolved in a bath of water.
Although baking soda baths have been proven to treat yeast infections without antibiotics, they can only be relied upon to ease vaginal itching associated with more serious vaginal infections like STIs, UTIs, and BV. To cure these types of infections, antibiotics are always necessary.
As mentioned above, there are some cases where baking soda baths are not recommended so it’s always best to speak with your doctor or a dermatologist before using baking soda baths.
Web MD – Vaginal Itching –
National Library of Medicine -Sodium Bicarbonate –
National Women’s Health Association – Vaginal Yeast Infections –
World Health Organization – Sexually Transmitted Infections –
National Library of Medicine – BASIC study: is intravaginal boric acid non-inferior to metronidazole in symptomatic bacterial vaginosis? Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial –
Springer Link – Lastauskienė E, et al – Formic acid and acetic acid induce programmed cell death in pathogenic Candida species. DOI: –
Springer Link – Letscher-Bru V, et al – Antifungal activity of sodium bicarbonate against fungal agents causing superficial infections –
Cleveland Clinic – Boric Acid Vaginal Suppository –
Journal of The Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association – The Antimicrobial Effect of Boric Acid on Trichomonas vaginalis –
Sugar Wood is Manhattan’s sexiest bakery, here to satisfy all your naughtiest cravings.
Sugar Wood is currently welcoming drooling customers at 157 Prince Street Wednesday through Sunday, but already has plans to expand its hours and menu. They are currently testing vegan and gluten-free options, too.
The bakery was started by celebrity baker and Magnolia Bakery executive Tom Smallwood, and Tio Gazpacho founder and CEO Austin Allan, both members of the LGBTQ+ community who are ready to bring some sugar, spice and everything nice.
“Everybody needs a little levity right now because we are living through some heavy times,” Allan told The Post. “Our intention isn’t to be vulgar, gross or pornographic but to be silly, fun and lighthearted. And do a little good in the world.”
Sugar Wood is now serving Woody (penis shaped) or Kitty (vagina shaped) waffles dripping in sweet sauces in SoHo.
A Woody dipped in milk chocolate with a drizzle of white chocolate on just the tip is the bakery’s most popular order.
Kitty waffles can be served wet, depending on how deep you wanna go.
Co-founder Austin Allan is excited to bring the “silly, fun and lighthearted” shop to Soho.
Putting its money where its mouth is, Sugar Wood has pledged to donate a minimum of $1,000 of its monthly revenue to the Phluid Phoundation and its aligned charities such as Ali Forney Center and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
New Yorkers who aren’t in the mood for an R-rated dessert can support the shop by purchasing some merchandise including tote bags, logo crop tops and T-shirts.
“Everyone’s welcome and everyone’s welcome to order what they like,” Allan said. The team has fun serving up their treats asking customers how deep they want it (the dessert dips) and reminding them to blow (it’s hot!) but also hopes to inspire casual and open conversations about sex and gender.
The bakery opened in Soho last month and is already looking to expand its hours, menu and locations.
The adult-themed waffles can be drizzled in sweet sauces including milk chocolate, peanut butter, salted caramel, strawberry and white chocolate.
Don’t forget to snap a picture while taking a lick of a plump Woody or Kitty or striking a sexy pose in a Sugar Wood crop top next to one of the many discreetly phallic figures on the erotic mural wall.
But Sugar Wood’s Soho location is just the tip and the brand is already flirting with the idea of opening in other cities and entering an open relationship with New York.
With their hot treats, inclusive community support, and sexed-up celebrities, Sugar Wood is sure to satisfy anyone, anywhere.
Highlights from this article
- Cytolytic Vaginosis is a vaginal infection that is caused by an overgrowth of Lactobacillus. It’s relatively rare and sometimes mistaken for a yeast infection.
- Lactobacillus thrives in acidic environments. Baking soda has been suggested as a treatment option to neutralize acids and increase vaginal pH.
- While baking soda douches have been recommended in the past, more recent research shows that they end up doing more harm than good.
- Baking soda Sitz baths are shown to be effective without the negative side effects, as the baking soda is used on the vulva rather than inserted directly into the vagina.
If you have been diagnosed with Cytolytic Vaginosis (CV) and have been searching for relief, you may have come across the suggestion to use baking soda. But is this really a safe way to manage a CV infection? As with most things pertaining to vaginal infections, there’s some nuance. We’re sharing the latest research on whether baking soda is an effective way to manage CV symptoms along with the dos and don’ts of using it.
First, a brief review of CV
Cytolytic Vaginosis (CV) is a condition that occurs when normally protective microbes, Lactobacillus, overgrow and cause vaginal irritation. Symptoms can include:
- Excessive or increased vaginal discharge, most often white and watery or cottage-cheese-like in consistency and appearance (similar to a yeast infection)
- Discomfort or pain during penetrative sex
- Itching or burning of the vagina and/or vulva
- Pain while urinating
Symptoms for CV can also seem cyclical. Research suggests symptoms are more prevalent during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle (after you ovulate, but before your period).
Given the lack of research, knowledge, and training on cytolytic vaginosis in the medical community (it was only discovered in 1991!), we suggest you specifically seek a vaginitis specialist who is familiar with cytolytic vaginosis. They can help guide you on the best way to diagnose and treat it!
Recurrent symptoms? Meet Evvy’s vaginal microbiome test, approved by leading
How do I treat CV?
Before we get into baking soda, we need to talk about a few easy steps to take if your doctor has confirmed you’re dealing with CV. Since CV symptoms are caused by an overgrowth of Lactobacillus, your first steps should be to avoid:
1. Lactobacillus probiotics. In general probiotics can be helpful, but in this case you can have too much of a good thing.
2. Products that lower pH or support Lactobacillus strains in the vaginal microbiome — such as boric acid, vitamin C, lactoferrin, or “pH balancing” products
All of these can make your CV symptoms worse, so it’s best to stay away.
Should I use baking soda washes in my vagina?
First, what is baking soda anyway? You’ve probably used baking soda in baking recipes, cooking recipes, deodorants, cleaning supplies, and antacids used to treat heartburn. Baking soda is the consumer name for sodium bicarbonate. It is a white powder that can be found as a crystal in nature, but is usually manufactured industrially to be sold as a white powder in grocery stores, generally in the baking supplies aisle. No matter how you’re using it, baking soda’s main function is to neutralize acids.
Since Lactobacillus thrives in environments with a low vaginal pH, meaning they like it more acidic, some researchers believe that CV symptoms can be alleviated by neutralizing acids in the vagina, therefore increasing the vaginal pH.
A 2021 study found that while baking soda does limit Lactobacillus growth in pure culture, it also causes the vaginal epithelial cells to die and to produce more inflammation. The authors concluded that baking soda itself could cause disruption and inflammation to the lining of the vagina. In short, baking soda douches could cause more symptoms. A 2022 review of the literature stated that douching is no longer a recommended treatment option for CV.
What about other baking soda treatments (i. , baking soda Sitz bath)?
Another baking soda treatment option is using a baking soda suppository. One 2009 publication describing CV suggests using empty gelatin capsules filled with baking soda inserted intravaginally, twice weekly for every two weeks. Since this 2009 publication, other researchers and websites have cited this remedy. However, currently we are unable to find any clinical data assessing whether or not this form of treatment is effective.
A baking soda treatment that has been studied more is a baking soda “Sitz bath,” in which the external area outside of the vagina (vulva) is soaked in a baking soda solution, rather than using the baking soda solution internally to wash the inside of the vagina.
Of all the baking soda treatments, a Sitz bath seems to be the most promising option that is backed up by a clinical study, but more studies are needed to standardize baking soda based treatment for CV. (As usual, the gender health gap rears its ugly head!)
If you think you might be dealing with CV, talk to a vaginitis specialist to talk about your options.
What Is a Baking Soda Bath?
While baking soda has many uses, it is popularly used in soda baths to treat yeast infections. It is known to be an effective, quick, and affordable way to relieve symptoms of UTIs and yeast infections. Thus, people have started incorporating this all-around ingredient into fungal treatments and skin diseases. It also helps re-introduce helpful bacteria into the vagina.
A baking soda bath comprises water and a sprinkle of baking soda. This composition has also been known to be revitalizing and relaxing. Moreover, it is an inexpensive treatment that does not require expensive medicines and equipment.
While it has been compared to Epsom salt, baking soda baths differ regarding the conditions treated. For example, a baking soda bath can treat skin conditions. Meanwhile, salt baths deal with blood pressure, nerve function, and the circulatory system.
How Often Can I Take a Baking Soda Bath?
There are many questions surrounding the usage of baking soda in treatment baths for yeast overgrowth infections. Baking soda baths are generally safe. They are often used as a detox bath to neutralize a vagina’s pH level.
Baking Soda Bath for Yeast Infection
Baking soda is a common household ingredient with various uses, including as a natural cleaning agent and deodorizer. But did you know baking soda can treat conditions like skin candidiasis?
When added to a warm bath, baking soda can help to soothe irritation and restore the skin’s natural pH balance. Additionally, baking soda’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce swelling and redness.
Add one cup of baking soda to your bathwater for best results, and soak for 10 to 40 minutes. If you’re prone to yeast overgrowth infections, consider making a baking soda bath part of your regular hygiene routine.
Do Baking Soda Baths Help Candidiasis
Studies show that baking soda helps kill the bacteria that cause yeast overgrowth infections. Candida albicans is a yeast strain that can cause disease in the body. Baking soda has been found to inhibit the growth of this yeast. This means that it can help prevent infections and keep the body healthy.
Adding 1/4 cup of baking soda to a lukewarm bath, as the National Eczema Association recommends, can help reduce itching and irritation.
Baking Soda Bath for Yeast Infection While Pregnant
It is perfectly safe to take a baking soda bath when you’re pregnant.
However, you must consult your doctor before using any new home remedy, particularly during pregnancy. For example, baking soda baths are not recommended for edema, as the high sodium content can cause fluid retention.
Will Baking Soda Bath Help Candidiasis?
Yes, you can use a baking soda bath for yeast infection to instantly alleviate the symptoms of the infection. This study shows that the composition of baking soda can help eliminate the production of Candida cells that cause yeast infections. Moreover, the antifungal effects of baking soda are supported by studies and research.
What Are Some of the Health Benefits Behind This Method?
While there is a multitude of health benefits associated with baking soda baths, these are some of the most common diseases it has been proven to treat aside from yeast infections:
- Athlete’s foot
- Vulvar vestibulitis
- Poison ivy rash
- Psoriasis flare-ups
- Body odor
These are just some of the most common diseases a baking soda bath has been known to alleviate — skin diseases.
What Are the Side Effects of Baking Soda?
Excess baking soda can cause stomach pain and other problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, when baking soda mixes with stomach acid, a dangerous chemical reaction occurs. The byproduct of this reaction might rupture the stomach and cause more severe problems. This is especially true for people who consume too much alcohol or food.
Consumption of a large amount of baking soda powder can cause poisoning and digestive problems. Baking soda’s high sodium content causes this. The poisoning usually starts when the body attempts to balance out the stomach’s salt content. The symptoms to watch out for in case of baking soda poisoning are seizures, kidney failure, breathing difficulties, and dehydration.
Interaction With Medicines
When too much baking soda is consumed, this usually results in interference with other medicines. This also depends on the kind of medication the person is taking. Nonetheless, it is best to take moderate amounts of baking soda for various diseases.
Half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with half a cup of potable water is enough for most conditions.
- Step 1: Mix five tablespoons of baking soda into a water-filled tub. Remember that the amount of baking soda to be incorporated into the bath depends on the condition to be treated.
- Step 2: Mix it with your hands to dissolve the baking soda completely.
- Step 3: Enjoy the bath and soak for approximately 10 to 40 minutes.
Add apple cider vinegar or coconut oil to the baking soda bath for best results.
Ten Benefits of a Baking Soda Bath
Below are some of the benefits one can get from baking soda baths:
1. Treat eczema
The itchy and drying symptoms of eczema are excruciating to the point that the patient might not be able to fight the urge to scratch their skin. Unfortunately, this also leads to flaky skin and injuries caused by extreme scratching.
A baking soda bath, aside from treating yeast infection, can help alleviate symptoms of eczema.
2. Relieve Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs affect a lot of people and have many causes. Baking soda baths have also become more popular due to the prevalence of this disease.
Sodium bicarbonate functions by neutralizing the acidic content of urine. This can ward germs off and help heal UTIs — and yeast overgrowth infections. Moreover, the itchy and burning sensations can also be relieved through a long baking soda bath session.
3. Relieve psoriasis
While you can treat psoriasis with various medications, it would be good to try a baking soda bath first. This is because psoriasis can irritate the patient, and a baking soda bath has instantaneous effects. In addition, this can help relieve the itch associated with psoriasis.
4. Cure Athlete’s Foot
Since baking soda baths are generally used to treat fungal infections, they can also eliminate bacteria and fungi caused by the athlete’s foot. Patients can soak their feet only in a baking soda mixture for convenience.
5. Treat Rash From Poison-Ivy
People who have accidentally touched poison-ivy usually resort to Epsom salt or baking soda baths to relieve itching. It can help minimize the rashes as well.
6. Help Soothe Vulvar Vestibulitis
Vulvar vestibulitis is characterized by intense itching at the opening of the vagina. A baking soda bath may help eliminate the itch if the patient soaks multiple times daily. Three baths will suffice for this kind of condition.
7. Cure Hives
Hives are small bumps caused by specific allergies. These bumps may cause itches and burns. A baking soda bath can help through its antiseptic properties and relieve hives. This will also eliminate redness in the skin.
8. Help With Chickenpox
Since chickenpox can be itchy and irritating, a baking soda bath can relieve these symptoms. A simple soak in a baking soda bath can instantly alleviate the itchiness of the blisters. However, taking the prescribed medicines and a bath is necessary to heal chickenpox.
9. Cure Diaper Rash
Baking soda baths’ antifungal properties can also cure babies’ rashes caused by diapers and reduce their redness. In addition, a bath can instantly alleviate the discomfort associated with the inflammation.
10. Boost Immune System
Taking a baking soda bath is an excellent way to detoxify the body. In addition, baking soda has been reported to support immune health when consumed sparingly or added to baths.
Cytolytic vaginosis, which is sometimes called “lactobacillus overgrowth syndrome” or “Doderlein’s cytolysis,” is thought to happen when too much of a certain type of bacteria grows in your vagina.
The bacteria, which experts called lactobacilli, is normal to have in your vagina. It can help protect you against things like yeast. But if there’s too much, some doctors believe that you can develop cytolytic vaginosis, which leads to uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms.
Cytolytic vaginosis is a controversial diagnosis in the medical community. Many doctors do not believe that it is a legitimate diagnosis. Others believe that it is a condition that has to do with a pH balance issue in your vagina.
Your vaginal pH value plays a large role in the health of your vagina. It measures the acidic level and can shift based on your age, diet, health conditions, and other factors. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Anything less than 7 is “acidic.”
Typical vaginal pH levels can range between 3.8 and 5. But with cytolytic vaginosis, a change in pH leads to a shift in your vagina’s natural balance of bacteria. This causes the lactobacilli to be too high and your vagina’s pH to be more acidic. With the condition, you might have a vaginal pH level between 3.5 and 4.5.
Doctors often notice that when someone has chronic discharge from their vagina, they treat it with many different antifungals or antibiotics. But these treatments can lead to a change in your vagina’s pH and cause the overgrowth of bacteria.
In addition to these treatments, other things can trigger cytolytic vaginosis. Your body may be sensitive to certain products. Some examples are:
- Menstrual pads
The symptoms of this condition can be like a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. But with cytolytic vaginosis, the symptoms are usually worse in the week before your period. This is because your body has higher levels of lactobacilli during this part of your menstrual cycle.
Similarly, the side effects of this condition tend to ease during your period. This happens because period blood is less acidic on the pH scale. So on your period, the acidic levels will tend to even out while you bleed.
With this condition, you might notice:
- Itching in your vagina or on your vulva, which is the skin outside of your vagina.
- Burning on your vulva, which might get worse when you pee. Sometimes this feels like the burn you’d feel if you pee with a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Pain or burning during sex or a sore feeling after sex.
- More yellowish or white discharge from your vagina. This might change in consistency.
To find out if you have cytolytic vaginosis, your doctor will first do a pelvic exam. They’ll take a sample of discharge from your vagina to look at under a microscope. They’ll look for cellular changes, a high number of lactobacilli, and a low level of white blood cells. If they find all these things, it may mean you have cytolytic vaginosis.
They’ll test your vaginal pH to see if it’s in the range that’s typical for cytolytic vaginosis cases. Your doctor may perform a Pap smear to diagnose you with cytolytic vaginosis.
To confirm that this condition is what causes your symptoms, there should be no signs of yeast, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomoniasis (a common sexually transmitted infection from a parasite).
To get rid of cytolytic vaginosis, you’ll need to raise your vaginal pH and get your lactobacilli amounts back to normal. To do so, your doctor may recommend a baking soda treatment. It’s also important that you stay away from products that trigger you.
Baking soda treatment can include a:
Vaginal suppository. You can make a suppository with baking soda. Fill an empty gelatin capsule (you can buy these at health food stores) with baking soda. Put one capsule into your vagina twice a week for 2 weeks.
Douche. Dissolve 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda into 20 ounces of warm water. Use this mixture as a douche for 7-14 days.
You can buy a douche bag at your local pharmacy. If you don’t want to make your own, you can also buy an over-the-counter baking soda douche in stores.
Paste. If you have itching or burning on the skin outside of your vagina, a paste may help. You can use water and baking soda to create a watery mixture. Apply this on your skin daily.
Sitz bath. Mix 2 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 2 inches of warm bath water. Soak inside the water for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day or a few times a week. To try to avoid another case of cytolytic vaginosis, do this once or twice a week afterward.
If your symptoms don’t go away within 2 weeks of treatment, go back to your doctor.
To avoid cytolytic vaginosis, you can adopt some lifestyle changes:
- Don’t use soap on or around your vagina. Just wash that area with water or use a pH-balanced, unscented bar soap.
- Use pads instead of tampons during your period because menstrual blood heightens your vaginal pH.
- Don’t use scented vaginal hygiene products like vaginal powders, sprays, toilet paper, pads, or other things.
- Always change out of wet clothes as soon as you can. This includes bathing suits, gym clothes, and other wet clothing.
- Stay away from tight clothes.
- Use cotton underwear during the day. Sleep without underwear, if possible.
- If you have cytolytic vaginosis, avoid sex until your symptoms go away.
Treatment for itchiness of the vagina and vulva will depend on the cause. Home remedies may help, such as adding baking soda to a warm bath or applying natural yogurt or honey. However, it is usually best to contact a doctor for a complete treatment.
The vagina, the vulva, or both can itch. The vulva is the external part of the female genitals, including the clitoris, the labia, and the opening of the vagina. Healthcare professionals refer to vulvar itching as pruritus vulvae.
Vulvovaginal itching can occur for a variety of reasons. Some home remedies may help relieve the itching, but they cannot heal the underlying cause.
Infections, for example, will usually require antibiotics for a bacterial infection or antifungal medications for a yeast infection. Vaginal itching is also a common symptom of menopause, and doctors can prescribe moisturizers or lubricants to help with this symptom.
This article looks at the scientific evidence behind some common home remedies for vaginal and vulvar itching and describes when to contact a doctor.
Sometimes, dry skin can lead to an itchy vulva.
The National Eczema Association (NEA) advises that adding gentle oils to bathwater can help moisturize the skin.
However, a person should avoid any bath oil that contains fragrance, which can irritate the area even more.
According to the NEA, adding a quarter cup of baking soda to a bath or applying it to the skin as a paste is a common way to relieve itching.
The Australian Menopause Society (AMS) also suggests washing the vulva with a diluted solution of baking soda to help relieve itching. They recommend using a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 liter of water.
Baking soda may help relieve vulvar itching due to dry skin. It may also help a person get relief from itching related to active lesions of genital herpes. However, a person will likely also need medication to manage outbreaks.
Adding oatmeal to a bath can also help ease vulvar itching that occurs due to dry skin or skin conditions, such as eczema.
One small 2015 study involving 29 female participants concluded that using colloidal oatmeal significantly reduced the intensity of the itch.
Research indicates that vitamin E may help relieve itching in the vulva or vagina caused by atopic dermatitis or menopause.
For example, a 2016 study on the effects of vitamin E suppositories concluded that they were successful in treating vaginal atrophy among women who had entered menopause. The term “vaginal atrophy” refers to drying, thinning, and inflammation of the vaginal walls.
Vitamin E for vaginal health comes in various forms, including suppositories and creams. The AMS also reports that vitamin E applied topically or taken orally has this effect.
Yogurt and honey
Yogurt contains a type of bacteria called Lactobacillus, which also live in the genitals.
Some evidence suggests that applying a mixture of yogurt and honey to the vulva or inside the vagina can help treat fungal infections that may be responsible for vaginal itching.
A small 2015 study concluded that yeast infection symptoms seemed to improve in participants who used a mixture of a vaginal cream, yogurt, and honey.
A newer 2021 study has suggested that the effect of honey and yogurt is just as effective, if not more effective, at managing vagina yeast as the prescription medication clotrimazole.
However, the authors of a 2019 article from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care cautioned that there is still too little evidence to support using yogurt in this way.
Some people believe that taking garlic capsules or even putting garlic inside the vagina can help prevent or treat bacterial or fungal infections.
One 2015 review warned that there is a lack of evidence that this remedy works and that it may have adverse effects, including burns and allergic reactions.
However, one 2018 case report did show that a subject’s vaginal infection went away after using garlic in this manner.
Vaginal itching can occur due to:
The most common cause of an itchy vulva is irritant contact dermatitis. This can occur due to:
- harsh soap and other products
- frequent washing
- frequent or lasting contact with urine
Some infections that can cause itching of the vagina, vulva, or both include:
Skin issues that can cause vaginal itching include:
- atopic dermatitis
- allergic contact dermatitis
- seborrheic dermatitis
- lichen simplex
- lichen sclerosus
- lichen planus
In rare cases, persistent itching on the vulva could be a sign of vulvar cancer, a type of cancer that forms on the external female genitalia.
Some specific types of vulvar cancers and precancers that could cause itching include:
- vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia
- invasive squamous cell cancer of the vulva
- vulvar melanoma
Other signs of vulvar cancer may include burning or bleeding on the vulva, skin changes, and pain in the pelvis, especially when urinating or having sex.
Low estrogen levels can cause the skin to become itchy, dry, or irritated.
This is especially common during menopause, as the tissues of the vulva and the lining of the vagina become thinner due to hormone changes.
A decline in estrogen levels may also be caused by other factors, including:
- excessive exercise
- thyroid issues
- conditions that affect the pituitary gland
- certain genetic conditions, such as Turner syndrome
- premature ovarian failure
- being underweight
A person can help prevent vaginal and vulvar itchiness by:
- using fragrance-free soap
- wearing cotton underwear
- choosing loose-fitting clothing
- always wiping from front to back
- changing out of damp workout clothes as soon as possible
- using barrier methods, such as condoms, during sex to avoid sexually transmitted infections
- using water-soluble lubricant
There are several things that a person should avoid to prevent or alleviate vaginal or vulvar itching, including:
- using sex toys when the area is itchy
- wearing tight clothing, such as jeans
- using scented products, such as bubble baths, tampons, or vaginal sprays
- washing clothing with scented detergent
- applying talcum powder to the genitals, as it may be linked to ovarian cancer
Home remedies can help ease itchiness in the vagina and vulva but cannot treat the underlying cause.
Therefore, most causes of vaginal itching require medical attention.
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- thick yellow, green, or white discharge
- burning and swelling of the vulva
- pain during urination
- pain during sex
Most causes of vaginal itching require some form of medical treatment. In the meantime, a person can take steps at home to ease the itching, such as using vitamin E or colloidal oatmeal.
There are also ways to avoid some causes of vaginal and vulvar itching, such as using fragrance-free soaps and other products.
What does it mean to have vulvar itching for months?
There are many different conditions that can cause prolonged vulvar itching, including:
- changes in hormone levels
- skin conditions
- certain types of infections
If a person experiences persistent vulvar itching, they should speak with a medical professional, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or unusual discharge.
How does someone stop vulvar or vaginal itching right away?
Many home remedies can help alleviate vulvar or vaginal itching, including the use of baking soda, bath oils, or colloidal oatmeal.
However, while these home remedies may temporarily reduce itching, medical treatment may still be necessary to address the underlying cause.
What is the best itching cream for the vaginal area?
Hydrocortisone cream is often prescribed to reduce itching caused by certain skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.
Keep in mind that this medication should be applied to the vulva in small amounts and should only be used as directed by a medical professional.
This common condition has many of the same symptoms as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis. Here’s how to tell cytolytic vaginosis apart and more.
Cytolytic vaginosis, also known as Lactobacillus overgrowth syndrome, involves an overgrowth of Lactobacilli bacteria inside the vagina.
Lactobacillus is a natural part of the vaginal environment. This bacteria produces lactic acid, which helps stabilize the vagina’s pH balance, and hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an antiseptic agent.
Too many Lactobacilli in the environment can disrupt the natural vaginal flora and affect the vagina’s PH balance, along with other symptoms.
Take vaginal discharge, for example. You may notice an unexpected increase in white or yellow discharge, which may vary in consistency. The discharge could be thick and curd-like or watery and thin.
Although cytolytic vaginosis can cause changes in vaginal discharge, it’s more commonly associated with:
- yeast infections
- bacterial vaginosis
- trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
Cytolytic vaginosis may also cause:
- itchiness of the vulva and the vagina
- a sensation of burning of the vulva, especially during urination
- pain or discomfort during or after penetrative vaginal sex
- symptoms that worsen on the days closest to the start of menstruation
Unlike other common yeast or bacterial infections, cytolytic vaginosis won’t respond to antifungal treatments.
It’s unclear what exactly causes Lactobacilli bacteria overgrowth, or cytolytic vaginosis. The vagina is naturally warm and wet, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply and disrupt the natural balance.
Lactobacillus alone or with other bacteria may damage the inner lining of the vagina, causing the cells that form the vaginal wall to break down. Vaginal discharge expels these cells.
A doctor or another healthcare professional may ask about the color, consistency, and amount of vaginal discharge you’re experiencing, if any, to help make a diagnosis.
One 2021 study found that people were more likely to experience increased discharge with cytolytic vaginosis than with other vaginal conditions. Researchers also noted that the discharge was white, thin, and paste-like, unlike the thicker discharge seen with yeast infections.
Your clinician may also perform a pelvic exam and swab the inside of the vagina to get a discharge sample. They may test this sample for trichomoniasis or order a full STI panel with blood and urine tests.
They may also use a vaginal pH test to help differentiate between cytolytic vaginosis and other vaginal conditions.
The same 2021 study found that most participants with cytolytic vaginosis had a pH between 3.5 and 4.1, whereas most participants with recurrent yeast infections had a pH between 4.1 and 4.4.
Bacterial vaginosis, on the other hand, should return a pH reading of 4.5 or more.
A typical care plan involves using sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda) to reduce the number of Lactobacilli bacteria and increase the vagina’s overall pH.
This may include a combination of:
- sitz baths
You can purchase baking soda at your local grocery store and DIY or pick up a premade product.
To make a topical paste, mix equal parts baking soda and water, and apply as needed to the affected external area. Do not use baking soda paste internally.
A sitz bath may also help with burning and itching. Dissolve 2 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 2 inches of warm water in a bathtub. Sit in the tub and soak for 15 to 20 minutes up to twice daily, a few times a week.
People use gelatin capsules to make suppositories that are available at most health food stores. Fill a capsule with baking soda and insert it into the vagina twice weekly for 2 weeks.
To douche, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 4 cups of warm, distilled water in a bottle or bag. Spray or squirt the solution upward into the vagina twice weekly for 2 weeks.
Avoid having vaginal sex until your symptoms improve.
A host of things can disrupt the delicate environment of the vagina. Lubricants, fragrant soaps and wipes, and menstrual products can all upset the flora and trigger an overgrowth of rogue bacteria.
You can minimize the risk of bacterial disruptions in the vagina by:
- washing the vulva and vagina with water only
- changing out of wet clothing as soon as possible
- limiting or avoiding scented “feminine” products, including powders, sprays, pads, and tampons
- opting for cotton underwear over lace and other less breathable fabrics
- sleeping without underwear — occasionally or frequently!
If your symptoms don’t improve after 1 to 4 weeks of consistent treatment or worsen, it’s important to get medical attention. A doctor or another healthcare professional can perform a pelvic exam and confirm your diagnosis.
Proper diagnosis is the key to relieving your symptoms and improving your overall quality of life. A clinician can also review your individual risk factors for cytolytic vaginosis and make specific recommendations for prevention.
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