What Can Cause Vaginal Itching – How to Protect Yourself from STIs
Are you feeling less than fresh “down there?” If you’re wondering what can cause vaginal itching, then read through this post.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) can cause a real problem for your sexual health. If left undiagnosed and untreated, an STI can make you infertile, or result in the onset of the life-threatening condition – PID.
Some women experiencing STI symptoms may be embarrassed to speak to their doctor or gynecologist about the problem. Instead, they hope that the issue resolves on its own, which is never the case.
There’s no need to feel embarrassed if you catch an STI, doctors deal with them all the time, and thousands of women experience STIs at some point in their life.
When the symptoms of an STI appear, you may notice irritation of the vagina. The reasons for your vaginal itching are changes in the bacterial balance in your vagina. As a result, you end up feeling itchy, and you might start to pass vaginal discharge.
According to the CDC, there are over 20-million cases of STIs reported each year. So, what are the most common STIs, and how can you protect yourself from infection?
What’s the Most Common STI in the United States?
HPV, the human papillomavirus, is the most contracted STI in America. Almost every sexually active person in the US catches it at some point in their life. HPV comes in different “strains,” each producing various symptoms and intensity of infection.
Some women that contract HPV may never experience any symptoms and never know they have the disease. However, some women develop severe symptoms, such as genital warts, and even cervical cancer.
The CDC states that there are over 360,000 cases involving genital warts each year and 10,000 diagnoses of cervical cancer each year. HPV is also known to cause cancer of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer).
Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine against HPV. However, it relies on early administration in girls between the ages of 10 to 12-years old.
Leaving the vaccine past the age of 16 reduces its efficacy. Some studies show that the HPV vaccine may is effective in men and women up to the age of 26-years old. One of the most remarkable features of the HPV vaccine is that it acts as a vaccine against cervical cancer.
What Is the Most Reported STI in America?
According to data from the CDC, Chlamydia is the most reported STI in the United States. What do we mean by reporting? The CDC requires all physicians to report all diagnosed cases of the disease. HPV is the most prevalent STI in America, but it’s not a reportable disease to the CDC.
Therefore, chlamydia takes the top spot as the number-one reported STI in the United States. The symptoms of chlamydia include an itchy vagina, a burning sensation during urination, and vaginal discharge. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, causing similar symptoms.
Chlamydia might not present symptoms in some women. However, those experiencing symptoms can resolve the issue with the use of antibiotics prescribed by their doctor. The signs will fade in a day or two after starting treatment.
However, even though the disease is treatable, it may leave lasting damage to your reproductive system, leaving you infertile. The only way to prevent chlamydia infection is to make sure your partner wears a condom and abstain from oral sex.
Gonorrhea – The Runner Up
Gonorrhea, otherwise known by its colloquial name, “the clap,” is the second most commonly reported STI in the United States, according to data from the CDC. Women who are dealing with gonorrhea notice a foul smell emanating from their vagina, along with a yellow-green discharge and burning during urination.
There are effective medical treatments for the disease. It clears up in a few days after administering medication to the infected person. However, those that don’t seek treatment may end up developing the signs of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
PID can present a life-threatening situation and requires immediate hospitalization to treat the patient. PID can lead to infertility, even after successful treatment.
The only way to avoid infection with gonorrhea is to wear a condom and abstain from oral sex. Gonorrhea can also infect the rectum and requires immediate treatment.