Pruritis vulva – possible causes of an itchy vulva

An itchy vulva can be caused by many things, and if your vulva is itching, you need to establish why because sometimes it’s serious – and sometimes it’s not. This is a partial list of dermatological and infectious causes of an itchy vulva, so investigate these, check out the symptoms of each to see if they match, then you can take your ideas to your dermatologist or gynaecologist appointment, along with a diary of your symptoms.

Eczema can affect anywhere on your body, including your vulva.
Read more about vulvar eczema. 

     Contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis can present much like eczema, but it will go away once the irritant is removed.
Read more about vulvar dermatitis.

     Lichen sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus is one of a collection of lichenoid skin conditions that causes thickening and itching of vulvar skin.
Read more about lichen sclerosus. 

     Lichen planus
Lichen planus is a lichenoid skin condition that causes skin changes and itching.
Read more about lichen planus. 

     Genital psoriasis
Genital psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition whereby the skin cells replicate too quickly, causing scaly, itchy skin.
Read more about genital psoriasis. 

     Dermatophyte infection (ringworm or tinea)
Ringworm or tinea is common in other parts of the body, and the creases of the vulva provide an ideal home.
Read more about tinea and ringworm.

     Paget’s disease
Paget’s disease causes itching, cracked skin, and bleeding, and is an uncommon precancerous state requiring immediate medical attention.
Read more about Paget’s disease. 

Syringomas are sweat duct tumours that can be found in the groin and particularly around the eyes and armpits.
Read more about syringomas here. 

     Squamous cell carcinoma
A squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva is a form of skin cancer, and can present as itchiness.
Read more about squamous cell carcinomas.

     Yeast infection
Yeast irritates the mucous membranes of the vagina and vulva, and therefore causes itching. The itching from a  yeast infection can sometimes be severe, resulting in scratching that can draw blood.
Read more about yeast infections. 

     Group B Strep
Group B Strep is an infection that often goes mis- or undiagnosed due to the idea that it isn’t as prevalent as it could be. It causes itching and burning.
Read more about group B Strep. 

     Secondary syphilis
Secondary syphilis is the second phase of syphilis, and appears weeks or months after initial infection and primary syphilis, with lesions.
Read more about syphilis. 

     Pityriasis rosea
Pityriasis rosea is a rash caused by a virus that can affect the vulva and vagina with raised scaly skin.
Read more about pityriasis rosea. 

     Discoid lupus erythematosus
While it is rare, lesions can appear on the vulva of women with lupus, which may itch.
Read more about discoid lupus erythematosus of the vulva. 

     Diabetic genital itching
Diabetes can cause genital itching, especially on the scalp, but also on the vulva, a sign of high blood glucose. The vulvar itching probably occurs because more sugar is passed out through the urine, causing bacterial or yeast overgrowth.

     Liver disease or failure
People with liver problems may experience intermittent, mild itching that can be all over, or in a specific place. Specific places often include areas under tight-fitting clothing, including the vulva and crotch. It’s not known why this happens.

     Iron-deficiency anaemia
Iron deficiency-related itching is usually generalised, but it could be localised to the perineal or vulvar regions. This can occur after a hot shower or bath (aquagenic pruritus) with prickling. This may precede disease by several years.

     Hypo- or hyperthyroidism
Endocrine-related itching related to thyroid issues is typically generalised, but can be located on the vulva.