10 Reasons you could be experiencing vaginal itching after sex.
Date: April 10th, 2021
Why you could be experiencing vaginal itching after sex
Even if you have been having sex with one or multiple sexual partners or just have a one night stand, vaginal itching after sex brings a lot of discomfort to women and can be painful and discomforting.
Millions of women worldwide always complain about vaginal itching or itchiness related to the intimate parts associated with the vagina, such as the vulva, labia, and even clitoris.
Apart from being uncomfortable, persistent itchiness can cause a woman to feel bad about herself and can even destroy her sex life, mostly if the itch is causing abnormal discharge or bad smell.
Vaginal itchiness can be humiliating, and most women feel embarrassed or shy about acknowledging it. The best approach if you feel vaginal itching after sex is to schedule an appointment with a sexual health expert and feel open to discuss how you feel.
Although itching after sex is unpleasant, it is not very common. The good news is that most of the vaginal itching can be treated.
This post will look at the causes of vaginal itching after sex, the symptoms, and the possible remedies and prevention measures.
Reasons you could be experiencing vaginal itching after sex.
Several studies have shown that there are various kinds of vaginal conditions that can cause itching and burning, especially other infections. Below are some of the common ones.
- Yeast infection.
This is a fungal infection that causes itchiness, discharge, intense irritation of the vagina and vulva, and other intimate parts of the female genitals. Yeast infection is quite common in sexually active women than in men, and it often occurs in two episodes.
Statistics show that this is the second most common vaginal infection after bacterial vaginal infections in the United States. An approximated 1.4 million outpatient cases for vaginal yeast infection occur annually in the states.
This infection's symptoms range from mild to harsh and includes,
- Irritation and itching of the vagina and vulva.
- Redness and swelling of the vulva.
- Vaginal rash.
- Redness and swelling of the vulva.
- Vaginal pain and soreness.
Other symptoms of a yeast infection may show as curd-like, thick vaginal discharge (though there is often no discharge), and swelling around the vaginal lips.
Although vaginal yeast infection is not always considered a sexually transmitted disease, there is still a risk of infections at the first regular sexual encounter. There is also evidence linking yeast infection to oral sex.
Other factors such as pregnancy, poor genital hygiene, stress, weakened immune system, taking antibiotics, and hormonal contraceptives and diabetes can increase your chances of getting a yeast infection.
Because frequent use of antibiotics can cause vaginal candidiasis, it is advised to wear cotton underwear to help alleviate infection chances. Use the medicine only if prescribed by your healthcare provider.
If you experience itching after sex and suspect you have vaginal yeast, seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you are diagnosed, the earlier you get treated.
But if you have a repeat infection, you may try to use an over-the-counter antifungal cream or vaginal suppository treatments. All in all, make sure you seek medical attention if symptoms persist even after taking over the counter treatment.
- Other vaginal infections.
Several other infections such as bacterial vaginosis, genital herpes, Trichomoniasis, and pubic lice maybe some of the reasons you are experiencing vaginal itching.
BV or bacterial vaginosis is sometimes mistaken for yeast infection. Poor genital hygiene is also a factor that is attributed to the cause of most of the vaginal infections discussed herein.
Besides itching, bacterial vaginosis is always accompanied by flowing vaginal exudates and a fishy smell after a sexual encounter.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a single celled-parasite known as Trichomoniasis vaginalis, which can cause frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge, and itching.
Both bacterial vaginosis and Trichomoniasis cannot be treated with over-the-counter medications. Specific antibiotic treatment is recommended, so it is wise to see a doctor if you suspect having an infection.
Another common infection that may lead to vaginal itching is pubic lice. Also referred to as "crabs," pubic lice are tiny parasitic insects that live on the rough human body hair, such as pubic hair (hair around the human genitals).
They are sometimes found on the body hair like beards and underarm hair but do not usually live on the hair on your head.
Pubic lice can be transferred easily from one person to another if you contact somebody infected, mostly through sexual contacts like vaginal, oral, or anal sex—hugs and kisses from someone who has lice.
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Crabs can be treated with either prescription drugs or over-the-counter.
Lastly, genital herpes-a sexually transmitted infection like pubic lice and Trichomoniasis can lead to itching and burning after sex.
It is accompanied by one or a set of fluid-filled sores on the skin around the intimate sexual parts. It is estimated that about 16% of adults between 14 and 49 years old have experienced this condition.
The first symptom of this infection is blisters' appearance, known as the outbreak showing as early as two days after infection. It can extend as late as 30 days.
The general symptoms of herpes in women include blisters around the vagina, vulva, and nearby intimate areas. Chronic symptoms in anyone may consist of the following:
- The area that got in contact with the infection starts to itch even before the symptoms begin to show. This is why you should seek medical attention if you are feeling vaginal itching after sex.
- Blisters may appear on the mouth, eyes, tongue, and lips, and any other area that might have gotten into contact with the infected area, like in oral sex.
- You may experience a crust over the sores after a week of infection.
- You may have a fever and general body pain.
Being a viral disease, genital herpes cannot be cured. However, treatment can help reduce the outbreak. Antiviral medications speed up the healing of sores and reduce the pain.
The prescription may be made to those who have had outbreaks to prevent future episodes.
This is a nonspecific word referring to an inflammation of the vagina, which can lead to itching, pain, and discharge that has a fishy odor.
It is usually caused by the change in the average balance of the normal vaginal bacteria that helps in the natural cleaning of the vagina. These bacteria are also responsible for keeping the vagina moist.
Other factors, such as low estrogen levels after menopause and various skin diseases and poor genital hygiene, can also lead to vaginitis.
Too much use of intercourse-related factors such as creams and jelly spermicides or other vaginally inserted birth contraceptives are potential culprits for vaginal itching.
If you have vaginitis, the signs and symptoms may include the following:
- Vaginal irritation and itching after sex.
- Change in odor, color, or amount of discharge from the vagina.
- Pain during urination.
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting.
See a doctor if you develop a discomfort feeling in your vagina, particularly if:
- Experience the symptoms mentioned above.
- You have never been diagnosed with a vaginal infection.
- You have a new partner or multiple partners.
- You have finished taking over-the-counter medications, but the symptoms persist.
Prevention of vaginitis
Proper hygiene may prevent certain types of vaginitis from repeating and also help in alleviating pain. Avoid taking a shower on bathtubs and whirlpool spas.
Avoid too much use of irritants such as scented tampons, scented soaps, and douches. Rinse the soap from your genital area well with a lot of water and dry well after a shower to prevent itching.
Avoid spreading fecal bacteria in your vaginal area by wiping from front to back after using the toilet.
- Sperm allergy.
This condition is also known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity, is a rare allergic reaction to the seminal proteins. It is most common in women than in men,
The symptoms may show immediately you have sex or happen later in sex life with other partners.
There is the possibility of having an allergic reaction with one partner and not with another or experience vaginal itching after sex with a long-time partner.
Sperm allergy starts showing symptoms after around ten to thirty minutes of coming into contact with semen.
Though in some women, the symptoms are localized-they appear on one part of the body. They are not confined to one part of the body. They can occur in any place that comes in contact with the semen, like skin and mouth.
Common symptoms of sperm allergy include redness, itching, pain, swelling, and burning sensation around the vaginal area.
Sperm allergy is always misdiagnosed as a yeast infection, vaginitis, or as a sexually transmitted infection like genital herpes. One simple way of diagnosing sperm allergy is by using a condom.
If the female has an allergy, she should not experience a reaction when a condom is used during sexual intercourse. The reaction should only occur during unprotected sex.
- Latex allergy.
This is an allergic reaction to the proteins available in latex. You may feel a reaction if you come into contact with a latex material such as a condom if you are allergic to latex.
In case you are allergic to condoms, you can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe irritations depending on how sensitive you are and the degree of contact with latex.
Mild symptoms may include the following, itching after sex, rashes, and redness. In contrast, severe symptoms include trouble breathing, coughing and wheezing, scratchy throat, and running nose.
However, if you are highly sensitive to latex, you can experience an acute allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis, which include the following:
- Swelling or hives.
- Trouble breathing.
The best way of preventing allergic reactions from latex is to use nonlatex materials like lambskin and polyurethane condoms.
Dryness is a common cause of vaginal itching after sex in women. It is often due to vaginal dryness or dry skin on the vulva, which occurs when there are not enough vaginal fluids to lubricate vaginal walls.
It can also be due to skin conditions such as eczema, while some are just prone to the natural skin condition. Too much washing of the genital area or using scented products, such as soaps, can also dry out the skin.
Dry skin can irritate and flake, increasing the risk of vaginal itching after sex. The common cause of dryness is the hormonal changes experienced, such as those experienced during menopause and childbirth.
Other regular culprits of vaginal dryness include less arousal before sex, surgical ovary removal, some medications such as antidepressants and birth control pills, etc.
Vaginal dryness symptoms may include vaginal itching and pain after sex, increased need to pee, pain during sex, and common urinary tract infection or UTIs.
Though there are some medical recommendations for preventing vaginal dryness, there are still proven home remedies that can be applied to reduce the symptoms.
- Regular sex
Regular sex accompanied by adequate arousal and foreplay can help with vaginal dryness. There is enough blood flowing in the vaginal tissues when a woman is aroused, making the vagina moist and hydrated.
- Phytoestrogen foods.
These are compounds that act in a similar way to estrogen in the body. They are basically found in plant-based foods like soy, tofu, nuts, and seeds. Several research relates phytoestrogen to the modest improvement of hot flashes and vaginal dryness in women.
Synthetic underclothes may get clingy and restrict adequate air circulation making vaginal itching worse. Encourage the use of cotton underwear, which allows the vagina to breathe by promoting excellent airflow.
Topical creams are the most preferred low-risk treatment. Moderate symptoms can be reduced with over counter prescription. Include vaginal moisturizers and lubricants during sexual intercourse.
There are various sexually transmitted diseases that can cause vaginal itching after sex.
This is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite known as trichomonas vaginalis. People who have this infection do not usually show signs and symptoms. Still, they typically show up within 5 to 28 days after the infection.
The developed symptoms may include pain, irritation or itching, a foul-smelling discharge, and a burning sensation when urinating.
If left untreated, chlamydia can cause long-term damage to the reproductive organs. However, the best thing is that chlamydia can easily be cured.
Several people do not show the symptoms of chlamydia bug when they do; the symptoms may include a burning irritation when peeing, abnormal vaginal discharge accompanied by a foul smell.
An antibiotic prescription is recommended for the treatment of chlamydia. Screening for other sexually transmitted infections is also preferred for both partners.
Another sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterial infection and spread through sexual intercourse with infected persons. It can cause serious health problems if left untreated.
Gonorrhea is often asymptomatic, but women's initial symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, painful urination, and increased discharge.
Regular screening can help in detecting gonorrhea, even if there are no symptoms. It can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a medical professional.
- Genital herpes.
This is an STD caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. It is possible for a person to have one or both at the same time.
It is also asymptomatic, but some people will develop one or sets of blisters around their genital areas. These blisters are responsible for itching after sex in women and any other body part that gets into contact with it.
Genital herpes is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, and body aches.
Treatment only reduces the symptoms but cannot cure genital herpes. Antiviral drugs can help speed up the healing of the sores and reduce the pains involved.
- Genital warts.
This is a small bump around the genitals commonly caused through sexual intercourse by human papillomavirus (HPV). They can cause discomfort, pain, and itching.
Genital wart is asymptomatic and can infect both men and women, but the complications are more severe in women than men.
HPV is more dangerous in women because some types can also cause cancer, such as cancer of the cervix and vulva.
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Genital warts are not visible with human eyes but still can show symptoms like burning, itching, vaginal discharge, and bleeding.
Warts can also appear on the mouth, lips, tongue, or mouth of a person who has had oral sex with an infected person. They occur either as one or in a cluster.
Though you may want to treat warts to relieve the pain or reduce blisters' appearance, genital warts cannot be cured by over-counter treatments or removers.
However, topical wart treatments can be prescribed to you by your medical providers, such as imiquimod, podophyllin and podofilox, and trichloroacetic acid.
If the warts are spread or enlarged to some other areas, it can lead to a very painful and uncomfortable feeling.
Treatment of post-sexual itching.
Treatment of vaginal itching after sex depends on the cause. Mild itching can be treated at home or left to disappear on its own. However, itching that is caused by sexually related infections needs proper medical attention.
The following are a few things you can do at home to help prevent and reduce the pain and minimize the symptoms if you frequently experience vaginal itching after sex.
- Keep the genital area clean and dry after washing.
- Abstain from sex until your symptoms are reduced.
- Soak in an oatmeal bath.
- Use products made for sensitive skins.
- Use the over-the-counter ointments and treatment kits if you have a mild yeast infection.
- Use nonlatex condoms such as lambskin and polyurethane condoms.
- Avoid douching.
Most sexually transmitted diseases and infections need to be treated medically. Treatment may include the following, depending on the causes.
- Antiviral medications.
- Topical wart treatment.
- Antifungal medication.
- Topical, oral, and injectable antibiotic.
- Wart removal methods such as surgical laser removal or cryosurgery- a type of surgery that uses extreme cold to remove or destroy abnormal tissues and tumors.
- Topical or oral corticosteroids.
Although some women can self-diagnose yeast infection, they have had one or repeated infection; it is really best to see a doctor. This makes you sure of what is the problem because some rare skin diseases can cause itching.
Vaginal itching after sex is a very uncomfortable and painful feeling to any woman experiencing it and can destroy your sex life if taken lightly. Knowing what really might be the cause is the first step towards safe and early treatment.
Using a condom during sex has proven to be one of the most effective and sure methods of preventing genital itchiness if used correctly.
For people with allergic reactions due to semen or latex rubber, the doctor can prescribe a medication known as Epipen or an epinephrine auto-injector if you have a severe reaction.
Your allergist or doctor will place some diluted semen into your vagina and slowly increase the amount to allow the body to develop some tolerance.
You can also use moisturizer if you continuously experience vaginal dryness. Avoid using any other lotion in your genital areas. Ensure the moisturizer or cream you are using is solely manufactured for vaginal dryness.
Ensure you engage in good foreplay before having sex; this increases arousal, which can decrease vaginal dryness.
Considering all the potentials, if you experience vaginal itching after sex, burning, or irritations around the genital areas, you should contact your doctor.
Do not be embarrassed if you think it is STI; the doctor will test, diagnose, and give you an appropriate medication.
Lastly, as a sexually active, going for a regular sexual check-up is something you should be doing even if you have not shown any symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. The earlier it is detected the better for you.