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Ask Andi: I Can’t Stop Itching “Down There” During My Period

Alright Andi.

Listen. This is uncomfortable but I am DYING. It’s that time of the month and I have this constant itch “down there” that won’t go away. I am DYING!!! I don’t know what to do, I’m so uncomfortable constantly and it’s not like I can just sit there scratching it. Do you have any remedies that will make it go away?

-Itching for some Help!

Dear Itching For Some Help,

I do not have a magical miracle cure, but let’s start with a name: Being-A-Woman. Don’t freak out because it is probably something minor.  Periods suck. The fact that we have other stuff to deal with down there other than bleeding: pain, cramps, bloating, sucks worse.

While I have to disclaim I am not a Doctor, and to get accurate medical advice I suggest you see one, I do believe I know what the issue is.

Around the time of menstruation, many women are prone to yeast infections.  Yeast infections sound disgusting, but it’s not like you have some foreign bacteria or fungi down there.  Women’s internal parts have yeast.  It helps biological functions, it is normal and healthy.  However, sometimes due to a number of reasons, there will be an over growth of yeast, which needs to be treated with an OTC, homeopathic remedy, or prescription pill, ointment, or suppository.

Yeast infections are known to be caused by:

  1. Taking Antibiotics: Your vagina has a natural pH that is balanced between certain bacteria and yeast.  When you are prescribed an antibiotic for a cold or infection, sometimes it kills the good balance-keeping bacteria down there, and it allows an overgrowth of yeast.  When taking antibiotics you should eat a ton of yogurt.  It has healthy probiotics and can help prevent a vaginal pH imbalance.
  2. The pill-don’t ask me why or how but I know I’ve heard my gyno mention it when prescribing me my birth control pill.  It doesn’t cause it, but it can make you more susceptible to one
  3. That time of the month.  When we menstruate, our bodies go through many whacky changes.  Your cycle can offset your pH balance a bit and make you prone to infection.
  4. These are not common causes but they are common contributors: wearing a wet bathing suit too long, wearing sweaty spandex too long, sexual activity, and poor hygienic practices.

Whatever the cause, the solution is what matters.  You need to wear loose cotton underwear, avoid tight clothing, silk panties and thongs (I know granny panties aren’t always sexy but you’re on your cycle anyways).  You need to carefully dry down there after a shower, wipe well after urination (front-to-back always), urinate after sexual contact (to prevent UTIs as well, which can often follow a yeast infection), wash your hands frequently, and resist itching because it spreads infection.

 For immediate relief of itching, go to Safeway, CVS, Walgreen’s, etc. and pick up Vagisil Anti-Itch cream. This will not cure your infection but it works great for symptoms.  To cure your infection you can get an OTC remedy.  Monistat is the leading yeast infection remedy.  There are also generic brands that work the same.  The main drug options for the creams and suppositories are miconazole nitrate or tioconzole. You can get suppositories (a little pill like object with an applicator similar to a tampon) or creams (which you also use a tampon-like applicator with).  There are 7-day treatments, 3-day treatments and now a one day treatment.  As the days go down the price, and chance of slight irritation due to the strength of the drug, goes up.  To keep fresh also grab a box of Monistat cool wipes or Summer’s Eve feminine cleansing cloths.  They are flushable, individually packaged and discrete.  You may also see your gyno or pharmacist for other treatment options. 

There is a small chance that the itching is being caused by something else.  Sometimes, menstruation just naturally causes itching.  If this happens every time, you could be allergic to your pad or tampon, though doubtful.  There is also a slight chance the itching is from an STI (sexually transmitted infection), which can range from minimal threat to severe.  No matter the cause, Vagisil will treat the symptom of itching in the mean time. If you are worried, you can purchase a Vagisil Home screening Kit which can indicate if your symptoms are more than a yeast infection and help you decide if you need to see a doc.  If you are showing any unusual symptoms, or if the itching does not subside after you cycle and trying a yeast infection treatment, contact your doctor immediately.  But again- don’t worry until you have to.  Even if it is something else, which again is doubtful, it most likely is nothing urgent, as itching alone is not a high-threat symptom.

xoxo Andi
 

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