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How to Stop Itching Down There: Try These 7 Home Remedies

Tired of secret-scratching your private area? Find out possible reasons you need to scratch your nether region and how to stop the itching down there.

Woman wearing a white long-sleeved shirt and black jeans with her hands over her crotch area.

Many women deal with vaginal itching at some point in their lives. The discomfort may be unpleasant, but vaginal itching is very common. A recent study confirms that a third of Malaysian women experience genital itching. It can be a sign of a vaginal infection or caused by other conditions. Read on for possible reasons why your vagina itches and how to stop it.

Causes of Genital Itching  

Anyone can experience mild to severe genital itching. It may be associated with a skin condition, but it doesn’t always indicate disease. Here are some common causes: 

  • Skin irritation: The itching can be caused by tight clothing or the fabric of your undergarment. Soaps, lotion and laundry detergents that come in contact with your vagina can also cause itching. 
  • Trichomoniasis: A sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. Among its symptoms is intense genital itching.  
  • Non-STI vaginal infections: Intense inflammation and itching with discharge could be a yeast infection, which is clinically known as vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). Another common microbial infection that causes itching is bacterial vaginosis (BV). In both cases, vaginal flora has become imbalanced, causing a fungal or bacterial overgrowth. 
  • Vaginal atrophy: Overly dry vaginal skin due to vaginal atrophy caused by hormonal changes (menopause) can also lead to itching. 

Homecare to Stop the Itching Down There 

The specific treatment depends on the particular condition causing the itch. Thankfully, many natural remedies can help calm and stop the itching down there

A comprehensive review published in 2014 agrees that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers effective treatments against genital infections. Pathogens that lead to genital itching in TCM include Heat, toxins, and Dampness.

“TCM treatment of vaginitis mainly focuses on strengthening the body and eliminating pathogenic factors. Generally, treatments consist of a vaginal sitz bath and wash combined with oral herbal administration. Combining TCM with Western medicine remedies can get twice the result with half the effort.”

TCM Physician Ho Li Ying

Always consult a gynaecologist or a TCM practitioner before trying any DIY treatments. 

1. Colloidal oatmeal bath

Plate of colloidal oatmeal with a wooden spoon, sitting on a wooden surface
Sitting in a colloidal oatmeal bath is a remedy worth trying to calm genital itching.

Grind some oatmeal into a fine powder and add to mildly warm bath water. Oats or avena sativa contain avenanthramides, which become more easily infused in water in powder form. Avenanthramides have potent anti-inflammatory effects on inflamed and itchy skin.

2. Boric acid 

If you’ve been diagnosed with BV or VVC, you may consider treatments using boric acid. A recent 2020 review of the use of boric acid for these vaginal infections indicated a satisfaction rate of 76.9%.

3. Aloe vera 

Recent research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that aloe vera vaginal cream works just as well as oestrogen cream for vaginal atrophy. Another study also showed promising anti-candida effects of aloe vera extract, making it a viable treatment for yeast infections. 

4. Yoghurt and honey 

A 2015 randomized triple-blind clinical trial of 70 non-pregnant women showed that a vaginal cream made of yoghurt and honey worked just as well as a common anti-fungal cream against yeast infections.

5. Virgin coconut oil 

Virgin coconut oil has antimicrobial and moisturising properties that make it safe and helpful for easing genital itching. Research published in 2014 showed that virgin coconut oil was better than mineral oil in relieving pruritus. 

6. Garlic  

Garlic is highly antimicrobial owing to its allicin content. A study found garlic tablets were as effective as the anti-fungal metronidazole in treating VVC. They also concluded that garlic tablets are a suitable alternative to metronidazole because it has fewer side effects. 

7. Herbal therapy

TCM professional picks out a few dried herbs from an apothecary drawer.
TCM has a comprehensive approach to treating genital infections that come with itching.

Numerous TCM herbs and formulas have been used to treat conditions that include genital itching as a symptom. Herbs like Atractylodes rhizome (bai zhu, 白术) and Chinese yam (shan yao, 山药) are frequently used in formulas to treat vaginitis. 

8. Sitz bath  

TCM also makes use of different methods of application for herbal formulas. These methods include a sitz bath, a shallow bath you sit in to cleanse the perineum and relieve pain and itching. 

A TCM physician may prescribe Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (龙胆泻肝) for oral use as well as a herbal steam wash. Comfrey oil (zi cao, 紫草) may be used as a topical ointment for VVC with a high cure rate of 92% within three to four days.

Genital itching can be very frustrating, so it helps to know how to stop the itching down there effectively. If you have genital discharge that is different from usual or symptoms that linger for a long time, make sure to see your doctor. While these home remedies may help, seeing your doctor will help rule out anything more serious.

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References

  1. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2018. Prevention practices of vaginitis among Malaysian women and its associated factors. [online] Available at: <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01443615.2017.1405923?journalCode=ijog20> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  2. Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Sexual Health: Genital Itching. [online] Available at: <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12324-sexual-health-genital-itching> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2020. Clinicians’ use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6878170/?report=classic> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  4. YeastInfection.org. Is Bath Good or Bad for Yeast Infection? [online]. Available at: <https://www.yeastinfection.org/is-bath-good-or-bad-for-yeast-infection/> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  5. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2015. Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. [online] Available at: <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25607907/> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  6. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2021. Aloe Vera; A new treatment for atrophic vaginitis, A randomized double-blinded controlled trial. [online] Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874120336485> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  7. Medicinski Glasnik. 2020. The effect of Aloe vera ethanol extract on the growth inhibition of Candida albicans. [online] Available at: <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32662608/> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  8. Global Journal of Health Science. 2015. The Comparison of vaginal cream of mixing yogurt, honey and clotrimazole on symptoms of vaginal candidiasis. [online] Available at: <https://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/gjhs/article/view/43971> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  9. International Journal of Dermatology. 2013. The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. [online] Available at: <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.12339> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  10. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2014. Comparing the Therapeutic Effects of Garlic Tablet and Oral Metronidazole on Bacterial Vaginosis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166107/> [Accessed 5 December 2022]
  11. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014. Applications and Therapeutic Actions of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Women with Genital Infection. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3932255/> [Accessed 5 December 2022]

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