Genital Irritation in Women

Genital irritation, which may include itching and/or soreness in the genital area, is most often caused by chemicals in toiletries or detergents. Avoiding these products should prevent irritation from occurring. Genital irritation may also be due to infection, but often the symptom has no obvious cause. If the irritation is persistent, consult your doctor.

  • Have you noticed an unusual vaginal discharge?

    • Unusual discharge
    • Normal discharge

      Have you noticed any change in the appearance of the skin in the genital area?

      • Skin changes
      • No skin changes

        Have you been using a new soap, bath product, or other toiletry item, or have you switched to a new laundry detergent?

        • Yes
          • Possible cause You may be sensitive to one of the ingredients contained in the new product you are using (see Vulvovaginitis).

            Self-help Discontinue use of the new product and use only plain water to wash your genital area. Make an appointment to see your doctor if the irritation has not cleared up in 3–4 days.

        • No

          Does either of the following apply?

          • You are over 45
            • Possible cause A change in hormone levels may be the cause of your symptoms (see Menopausal problems).

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

          • Your periods are irregular or have stopped
            • Possible cause A change in hormone levels may be the cause of your symptoms (see Menopausal problems).

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

          • Neither

            Have you been passing urine more frequently than usual?

            • Increased frequency
            • No increased frequency
              • Possible cause Pubic lice are a possible cause. However, the symptom sometimes occurs for no obvious reason (see Vulvovaginitis).

                Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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