Facebook Pixel

Vulval Pruritus

Rate This

Vulval pruritus is the medical term for vulval itch. Many women automatically assume if they itch in that area then it must be down to a thrush infection, but not everything that itches is thrush.

There are many other causes of vulval itch. These are:

• Various medical conditions such as vulval dermatitis (eczema), lichen sclerosus, lichen planus or diabetes.

• Pregnancy and breastfeeding – There is increased blood flow during pregnancy which may result in itching. After the birth, low estrogen levels due to breastfeeding can also cause vulval itching and dry skin.

• Menopause – Reaching this time of life has the same effect as breastfeeding -- low estrogen levels. Advancing age also means that your skin is thinner than it used to be and this can make you more prone to itching and infections.

• Medication side-effects – Certain medicines can make you itch, including thyroid medicines, medicines for liver or kidney diseases and medicines for blood disorders. Topical steroids if used long-term can thin your vulval skin and make you more likely to itch.

• Allergies – You may be allergic to the detergent you wash your clothes in, the soap you wash with, cleansing wipes, sanitary products or condoms.

• Infections – There are many infections in addition to thrush, including STIs, threadworms or pinworms, scabies or bacterial vaginosis.

• Vulval Pain Disorders – There is disagreement within the medical profession over whether vulval pain disorders like vulvodynia cause itching. Some professionals say they can cause itching and others say they can’t. Many women with vulval pain disorders do report that they suffer from itching.

• Pre-cancer or cancer of the vulva – This is a rare cause of vulval itching, but having vulval itch may be a sign of cancer.

Sometimes the cause of vulval itch is never known.


If you are itching and don’t know why, the first thing you should do is go to the doctor as it may be an infection that requires treatment.The doctor will examine you to look at the condition of your vulval skin and may also take swabs from it and from your vagina to identify whether there is an infection.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Sexual Health

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Related Checklists

Sexual Health Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!