Here’s Why Your V is Irritated - And What You Can Do About It
We’ve written before about the wonder that is the female body, and one look at the complex little collaboration that is the vulva - the V, as we’ve affectionately dubbed it - confirms that. But just as the body has certain needs to keep it running properly, so too does the V. Without proper care, things can start to go south - and nobody wants that. So if you find yourself with an irritated V, here are some of the most common culprits and what you can do to avoid them going forward.
First, A Quick Primer
The vulva is the name for all external parts of the female genitalia, which include the labia majora and minora, the clitoris and its hood, the vestibule, the urethra, the vaginal entrance, and the perineum. Any or all of these parts can become irritated in the form of redness, swelling, burning, itching, associated vaginal inflammation and/or discharge, or some combination of all of these symptoms. After all, this is delicate, highly permeable skin, and it’s not uncommon for irritation to affect women of all ages. Usually, irritation of the V is related to irritants or infections, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Plain Ol’ Irritants
The United States trails woefully behind Europe in terms of banned ingredients found in beauty and personal care products, so it’s no surprise that everything from your favorite bubble bath to your go-to soap could be the reason for that uncomfortable itch below the belt. These ingredients aren’t limited to what you actively apply to your V, either. Your fabric softener, detergents, or those scented panty liners and tampons may all be problematic.
According to Healthline, exposing the V to chemical irritants like these can trigger itching. But physical irritants can be just as troublesome. Restrictive clothing in unforgiving materials like synthetics, thong underwear, or sandy or chlorine-soaked swimwear worn too long can also irritate the V.
The upside? Banishing those irritants can be the key to stopping discomfort in its tracks. Try swapping your silk thong for breathable cotton bikinis, shower immediately after swimming, and if you’re not yet in the loop about making the clean beauty switch, read our post for everything you need to know.
It’s an Infection
There are a few common infections in the V that could be the reason behind your irritation.
- Thrush or Candidiasis - This fungal infection can cause itching, swelling, redness, and a thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
- Yeast infection - While yeast is a fungus that’s usually found in the vagina, something like a course of antibiotics can trigger unchecked growth. This kind of infection is detectable by lumpy discharge and uncomfortable itching and burning.
- Bacterial Vaginosis - Another kind of infection related to an imbalance between good and bad bacteria, this condition usually has a foul-smelling discharge that may be thin or grayish white.
If irritation in your V is associated with unusual or smelly discharge, make sure to run it past your doctor.
Perimenopause, Menopause, and Post-Menopause
The trifecta! It’s an unfair truth that women who are approaching menopause, living through it, or beyond menopause are at a greater risk of itching in the vulval area. Blame it on hormones - during this stage of life, estrogen levels drop, leading to a thinning of the mucous normally present in the vagina. That triggers excessive dryness, which makes chafing more likely, and bacterial growth isn’t far behind.
Yes, Stress Could Be the Cause
It’s not terribly common, but emotional and physical stress can both cause itchiness in the V. Stress can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and irritants.
Preventative Care is the Best Care
Staying hydrated and keeping the V properly moisturized is an excellent way to combat issues that lead to irritation and infection. While perfumed feminine hygiene products are designed to address odor (and should be avoided at all costs), there are products on the market designed to hydrate and soothe intimate skin before irritation becomes an issue. Here at Arôms Natur Skincare, our clinically-proven moisturizing oil is one of them. Made with a proprietary formula of cold-pressed virgin oils and potent essential oils rich in therapeutic properties, Nourish Your V relieves the dryness and discomfort of intimate skin. But don’t take our word for it.
Following 28 days of use, the majority of respondents in our study found that our oil had a significant lubricating effect and helped reduce the sensation of dryness. Our hydrating oil is a wonderful option not only as part of your daily routine, but particularly before activities like spinning, running, swimming, and even yoga. A good splash of oil before and after these activities will keep the V properly moisturized to reduce irritation and discomfort.