Nothing says fun like an itchy vagina, am I right? OK, I'm definitely wrong, but there is nary a woman who hasn't suffered from some form of downtown vagina irritation at some point in their lives — especially when they're pregnant. Wondering, "Why is my vagina itchy during pregnancy?" You're not alone.
Your body is a wonderland, and that goes double for your genitals. When you're pregnant, your vagina is working overtime to protect your little womb-dweller as well as preparing for the grand exiting of the baby. It basically has to shore up your cervix and hang all the lights and plan the parade for your baby. Which means your body is putting off all these hormones which cause the flora in your vagina to shift and change due to the alterations in pH from the hormonal activity of pregnancy, according to Scientific American.
When you find yourself concerned about your itchy vagina, you're probably already looking for relief. But to find the relief, you have to know the cause. First of all, according to the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, itching in your vaginal area is never normal, and should always be checked out by your doctor to make sure it's not an infection that needs to be treated medically.
However, the journal also pointed out that it's quite common for the changes in the flora to irritate the walls of the vagina, making it more prone to infections like bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis. According to Healthline, it could also be something as simple as contact dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to something that's come in contact with the area like soap, perfume, or fabric. During your pregnancy, you may notice you're more sensitive to such things because you're immunocompromised and more likely to experience an allergic reaction, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
I spoke with Nurse Practitioner, Adia Jackson of Brooklyn, New York, and she tells Romper, "Your vagina is hyper-reactive when you're pregnant. Not only is there a ton more blood flowing to the area, but the changes in the pH, and general changes to the women's body can really irritate things. Even the shifting of how you sit to accommodate your belly can change things. You can become more sensitive to products you've used for years, and suddenly, you can no longer use that soap."
I can attest to this — if not specifically to my vagina. Ever since the beginning of my second pregnancy, I have been completely unable to use my favorite perfume, Ralph Lauren Romance, because moments after coming in contact with my skin, I start breaking out in hives and welts. Your body is on high alert constantly while pregnant, and more given to releasing histamines because of the state of immunosuppression your body is in. Apparently, it's doing its best not to reject the foreign body that's taken up residence in your uterus, noted The New England Journal of Medicine. This histamine release causes you to experience more and greater allergic response than you would otherwise — even in your vagina.
Jackson adds that pregnancy "also makes women more likely to get yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, especially if they have to go on antibiotics for any reason." While your vagina is pretty good at regulating itself, normally, pregnancy has a tendency to upset the balance.
So basically, your hormones are in overdrive, and you're probably quicker to become irritated by irritations while you're pregnant if you're anything like me. Your best bet is to call your OB-GYN and get it figured out, because nothing says "fun" like trying to discreetly scratch your vag when no one is looking.
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