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Discomfort from vaginal itching
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Three out of four women will at some point have a yeast infection, with its itching and burning and annoying clumpy, white discharge—usually remedied with antifungal medications (some even OTC). Bacterial vaginosis, the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15 to 44, can also cause itching, pain, or discharge; it often requires antibiotics.

If you’ve got a down-there itch but no discharge, consider under-the-radar causes.

HIDDEN CULPRITS

The combination estrogen-progesterone birth control pill and contraceptive ring suppress ovulation and therefore also the natural lubrication produced when an egg is released, says gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, M.D., author of The Complete A to Z for Your V.

Watch an OB-GYN explain whether there’s such thing as too much discharge:

The fallout? Dryness, which can prompt itchiness. Consider an OTC vaginal moisturizer, like Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer ($17, amazon.com), once or twice a week, and if that doesn’t calm the area, talk to your gynecologist about alternate forms of birth control, such as the nonhormonal copper IUD or a diaphragm. (Spice up your sex life with this organic lube from the Women’s Health Boutique.)

Allergies can also make you squirm down below, says Dweck; they’re usually brought on by fragrance in pads or tampons (opt for unscented) or by the latex or spermicide on some condoms.

Occasionally, though, a woman is allergic to her partner’s ejaculate. No, it’s not a sign a breakup is imminent, but you’ll need to see an allergist for a skin test. If you’re diagnosed, use condoms or pop an antihistamine at least 30 minutes before sex.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Women’s Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!

VaginasJan/Feb 2018
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