Your vagina is a delicate part of your body. Any imbalance in its environment can cause an itchy or swollen vagina. There are several medical conditions that could be affecting it that you may not know about. However, it’s important to find out what they are so that you can seek treatment if necessary. This article will discuss why your vagina might be itchy and swollen.

Why Is My Vagina Swollen: Vaginal Yeast Infection / Candida Albicans

Yeast infections are created when the normal vaginal flora that protects the vagina from infection, partly by producing hydrogen peroxide, gets thrown off balance due to a number of reasons. Sometimes it becomes too acidic, other times it becomes too alkaline, and occasionally external events can throw it out of whack via pH changes in your diet or medications.

Risk factors include taking antibiotics (which kill off good bacteria), low immune system function, pregnancy, diabetes mellitus/insulin resistance, and HIV/AIDS.

The symptoms of yeast infections include:

  • Vaginal pain while walking
  • Itching
  • A swollen vagina with stinging or throbbing sensations

The vagina may also appear swollen. If untreated, it could lead to the growth of fungus on the vaginal walls or skin around the vagina, creating a “yeasty” odor.

What Causes This Type of Infection?

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of candida albicans, which is a naturally occurring yeast found in small quantities in the vagina. A change in the pH balance of your body may make this yeast grow out of control, causing an infection that leads to your vagina being itchy and swollen. Pain during urination is also possible.

Using our professional OBGYN services in Boca can help you get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why Is My Vagina Swollen: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Woman Hands on Crotch Suffering From Itchiness and Soreness.

Vaginal inflammation with discharge that may have a strong fishy odor accompanied by vaginal itching, burning, redness, swelling, pain, soreness inside the vagina can be caused by Bacterial Vaginosis. BV creates an unpleasant smell because of the high ammonia content in vaginal secretions. The foul smell is worsened by the fact that the normal lactobacilli bacteria are replaced with an overgrowth of Gardnerella Vaginalis and other microbes.

All this happens due to a disturbance in your vagina’s normal pH levels that makes your vagina itchy and swollen. Normally there are Lactobacillus bacteria living in your vagina that produce hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct of digesting sugars they metabolize from glycogen.

When they metabolize sugars, these good microbes release lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide into the vagina to maintain its slightly acidic pH (3.5-4.5). This keeps other bad bacteria out. If the vaginal environment becomes less acidic (more alkaline), bad bacteria can move in and cause an itchy swollen vagina.

The presence of hydrogen peroxide producing Lactobacillus is what makes normal vaginal discharge slightly acidic. This difference in pH tells a woman’s body if she has a healthy vagina or an unhealthy one, so it’ll know which microbes to populate your vagina with. 

In other words, Lactobacillus protect against BV because they take up real estate that may otherwise be occupied by G. Vaginalis and its ilk. Without them, you’re much more likely to develop BV.

To prevent this issue, avoid douching your vagina, as this will only disturb the natural balance of microbes in your vagina. Additionally, you should always visit a Women’s Health Clinic for treatment and advice.

Why Is My Vagina Swollen: Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. Chlamydia can be cured in most cases with a short, one-time antibiotic treatment. 

Aside from making their vagina itchy and swollen, severe chlamydial infections in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, leading to infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

Symptoms of Chlamydia include:

  • Itchy swollen vagina
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Tenderness
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor

In some cases, no symptoms will be present at all. If you suspect you may have Chlamydia, it’s best to use our gynecology service as soon as possible.

Could it Just Be Vaginal Dryness?

One of the most common causes of having an itchy, swollen vagina is a lack of moisture. When your vagina isn’t lubricated enough, it can become dry and irritated. This often happens when you’re going through menopause, but it can also occur if you don’t get enough exercise, drink enough water, or eat enough fiber.

For some women, vaginal dryness can also occur naturally in different parts of their cycle, regardless of their age. If you regularly struggle with vaginal dryness during your cycle, your doctor may be able to help you lessen the symptoms. Even if you’re going to a gynecologist on your period, they’ll be able to help.

Can the Products I Use Cause These Issues?

If you use products like soap, shampoo, lotion, or detergent on your body, it’s possible that they could be making your vagina itchy and swollen. These products may contain fragrances or chemicals that can irritate the skin and cause itching.

You may also have an allergic reaction to something you’ve recently eaten, such as peanuts, shellfish, or strawberries, which would explain why there is swelling in addition to itching.

Tips for Treating an Itchy and Swollen Vagina At Home

Sick Woman Hands Holding Pressing Her Crotch Lower Abdomen.

There are many things that you can do at home to treat your vaginal itching and swelling. Try using less soap or switching it out for something more natural. Using soap with no added fragrances or just washing the vulva with water has helped a lot of women.

You should also avoid wearing clothes made from synthetic materials like nylon because these fabrics trap heat which makes perspiration worse during hot weather conditions.

Some people find relief by soaking in warm water with Epsom salt added to it, but this does not work for everyone, so use discretion before attempting any remedies suggested by friends/family members who swear up and down about their effectiveness (or lack thereof). It may take some trial-and-error experimentation before finding what works best for an individual person.

It’s also important not to scratch your genitals when they are itching because this can lead to infection, so try putting ice packs on the area instead. If all else fails, talk with a doctor about prescription creams that might help ease symptoms such as vaginal burning sensations or discharge caused by bacterial vaginosis infections in some cases.

There are also many home remedies available online today but remember: these should always be used with caution since they may contain ingredients like tea tree oil which is toxic if ingested orally and could cause serious damage over time if applied directly on the skin long term. It’s best just stick to those tried-and-true methods first before experimenting too much.

Conclusion

There are several other medical conditions that can cause vaginal itching and swelling, but these are some of the most common. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Treatment is available for all of these conditions, so don’t suffer in silence.

Many women experience any discomfort or pain around their vagina sometime in their life. Have you? At our office, we specialize in diagnosing and treating gynecological issues – feel free to give us a call at (561) 465-8800. We would be happy to help you get back on track.

Dr. Ellman is a Board Certified OBGYN who established his medical practice in South Florida over 25 years ago. His office, Women’s Healthcare of Boca Raton, is located in Boca Raton, Florida at West Boca Medical Center. Dr. Ellman attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, where he received his medical degree. He went on to intern at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston- an affiliate of Harvard Medical School- and continued his residency at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York- an affiliate of Cornell Medical School.

Dr. Ellman has practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Boca Raton area since 1995. In addition to treating patients at West Boca Hospital, Dr. Ellman also treats patients through his own private practice, Women’s Healthcare of Boca Raton, located on the West Boca Medical Campus.

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
Published On: February 7th, 2022