Vulval itch is usually a result of a recognizable disorder, such as infection, allergy or general skin disease. If such causes are not present, itching is called pruritus vulvae. It appears that in young women this condition is associated with anxiety or emotional problems such as a disorderly sexual intercourse. Pruritus vulvae is also occurring in older women, probably due to impaired secretion of sex hormones, especially due to decline in estrogen levels. This is most commonly occurring in postmenopause (see menopause article).
If you have pruritus vulvae, the genital area is very sensitive, easily irritated and itchy. Vulva can be painful and dry, especially during intercourse, and a white discharge can occur. Older women (with pruritus vulvae) sometimes have hard time controlling urination.
This problems is common, especially in women who have passed the age of 45. It is not directly dangerous, although white patches of abnormal skin (leukoplakia) may develop on the irritated surface. In this case, there is a slightly greater risk of vulvar cancer.
Self-help: do not scratch the itchy area, as this will only increase irritation and possible pain. Wash the itchy place with water and soap regularly, once a day, and smear it with a fat to relieve itching. Do not use talc, vaginal deodorants or irrigation agents, as this will only increase the irritation. Use a special grease lubricant for the vagina. Wear cotton clothes and avoid nylon hoodies. If the condition does not improve after two weeks, go to the doctor.
Professional help: your doctor will examine you and probably prescribe a corticosteroid or hormonal stimulant to relieve irritation. If leukoplakia has developed, you will need to be hospitalized for operational removal of the affected area.