It isn't fun to have an itch in your nethermost regions. Vaginal itching at night can come on suddenly and keep you awake until all hours. There are many different causes of vaginal itching like yeast infections or personal care products you may be using. It might be a symptom of something that may need medical attention. This article helps you understand the causes and what you can do about it.
Causes of Vaginal Itching at Night
It's 11 p.m. and all you want to do is sleep. You have just about counted all the sheep you can count and you just want that vaginal itching to go away. Before you can find an effective remedy for this, you need to know the cause. Different things need different treatments. Here are some of the causes:
1. Vaginal Thrush
Also known as vaginal yeast infection, it is caused by a fungus known as, Candida Albicans. It is a common fungal infection of the vaginal area. Yeast thrives in warm and moist places and actually isn't caused by lack of cleanliness. Actually, your vaginal area may be too clean and missing healthy bacteria that keep the yeast in check. The itching can get bad at night when you bundle up and give it more warmth.
Other Symptoms: Burning, redness to the area, burning with urination, and cottage cheese like discharge. Some people even complain of a "yeasty" odor.
Treatments: Treatments for vaginal thrush include antifungal medications, probiotics to balance the vaginal "good bacteria," eating yogurt, and wearing only light cotton underwear and clothing during the day and to bed at night.
2. Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus can cause vaginal itching due to irregular skin near the vulva, vagina, or near the anus. It is thinner than normal skin and tends to occur in patches. If you sweat at night, it may irritate these patches of skin and cause nighttime itching.
Other Symptoms: Soreness in the area, white spots that are thinner than the normal skin, skin tearing of the thin areas, pain during sex, vaginal itching during the day and/or night.
Treatments: The condition may resolve with time on its own, or you can try steroid creams to reduce inflammation and itching, creams to lower the immune system response, or ultraviolet light treatments.
3. Bacterial Vaginosis
Sometimes, when the vaginal pH is not right you can develop a mild bacterial infection. When this infection occurs, you may notice more itching at night because you are lying down and the discharge remains in the vagina. It can also get more irritated by sweating if you are too warm at night or have sexual intercourse before sleep.
Other Symptoms: Copious amounts of discharge that is yellow or gray, fishy odor, and worsening symptoms after sexual intercourse.
Treatments; Antibiotics are the only method of treatment. Some cases may clear up on their own, but it is always helpful to treat a bacterial infection promptly.
This is a parasitic infection that is sexually transmitted. You may not know if your partner has it because males do not always experience symptoms. Your first clue that you might have gotten trichomoniasis is vaginal itching at night.
Other Symptoms: Discharge with a foul odor, pain with urination, pain with intercourse, redness and inflammation, burning in the genital area, discharge that is white, green, grey or yellow.
Treatment: This is a parasite so you will need to take an anti-parasitic medication. This infection will not go away on its own and can cause premature labor if you are pregnant. It is important not to have sex while you are being treated because you can spread the infection to others.
5. Hormonal Changes
Low estrogen in the body can lead to changes in the vagina. When estrogen levels fall the tissues in the vaginal walls begin to atrophy or dry out. This can cause itching both during the day and at night, especially after sex. It is mostly due to lack of lubrication in the vagina which leads to inflammation. Vaginal atrophy is most common between the ages of 35 and 60 during the perimenopause and menopause stages.
Other Symptoms: Dry vaginal tissue, burning, pain during sex, and spotting.
Treatment: The most common form of treatment is estrogen replacement therapy, commercial lubricants, and herbal plant based remedies.
6. Contact Dermatitis
Using certain feminine products, especially scented ones, can cause vaginal itching. Things like douches, feminine sprays, scented tampons, and even scented body washes can cause contact dermatitis in the vaginal area. If you shower just before bed, this may flare up and cause vaginal itching at night.
Other Symptoms: Red rash, burning with urination, and painful intercourse.
Treatment: Discontinue use of perfumed feminine products, use hypoallergenic type body washes, no scented pads or tampons, use only cotton underwear and avoid the use of perfumed body sprays.
7. Bartholin Gland Cyst
There are two small glands just inside your vagina which make the lubricant fluid that moistens your vagina. These can develop cysts that can be itchy at night and painful. The itching will often flare more at night if you had sexual intercourse. These cysts can actually get infected with severe symptoms.
Other Symptoms: Pain with walking and sex, lump near vaginal opening, fever (if infected), swelling and redness, odorless discharge.
Treatment: Pain relievers, warm compresses, antibiotics if they are infected, and surgical drainage if they don't clear up on their own.
See a Doctor to Have It Diagnosed
While vaginal itching at night may be something very simple or it could be a sign of something serious. If this is a new issue to you then you should probably get checked by your doctor. Signs of something more serious include:
- Severe cramping/pelvic pain
- Bleeding other than your regular period
- Fever and chills
- Signs of infection in a sexual partner
Note: Any of the above or other symptoms during pregnancy should be evaluated and treated right away. Some causes of vaginal itching could signal an infection that may cause pregnancy complications.