Occasional clitoral itching is common and usually not a cause for concern.

Oftentimes, it results from a minor irritation. It’ll usually clear up on its own or with home treatment.

Here are other symptoms to watch for, how to find relief, and when to see a doctor.

Your clitoris contains thousands of nerve endings and is highly sensitive to stimulation.

During your body’s sexual response cycle, blood flow increases to your clitoris. This causes it to swell and become even more sensitive.

Orgasm allows your body to release the sexual tension that has built up. This is followed by the resolution phase, or when your body returns to its usual state.

How fast this happens varies from person to person and can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

How fast this happens varies from person to person and can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

If you don’t orgasm, you may continue to experience increased sensitivity for even longer. This can cause clitoral itching and pain.

You may also notice that your clitoris remains swollen after sexual stimulation.

What you can do

Oftentimes, itching or sensitivity will fade within a couple of hours.

If you can, change into a pair of breathable cotton underwear and loose bottoms.

This will help alleviate unnecessary pressure on the area, as well as reduce your risk for further irritation.

If you didn’t have an orgasm, try to have one if it isn’t too uncomfortable. The release may help.

Contact dermatitis is an itchy, red rash that’s caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it.

You may also develop bumps or blisters that may weep or crust over.

Many substances can cause this type of reaction. Those most likely to come into contact with your clitoris include:

  • soaps and body washes
  • detergents
  • creams and lotions
  • fragrances, including those in some feminine hygiene products
  • latex

What you can do

Wash the area with a mild, fragrance-free soap and avoid any further contact with the substance.

The following may help relieve your itching:

  • cool, wet compress
  • over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch cream
  • oatmeal-based lotion or colloidal oatmeal bath
  • OTC antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

If your symptoms are severe or don’t improve with home treatment, see a doctor. They may prescribe an oral or topical steroid or antihistamine.

A yeast infection is a common fungal infection.

They’re more common in people who have diabetes or a compromised immune system.

A yeast infection can cause intense itching in the tissues around your vaginal opening.

Other common symptoms include:

  • irritation
  • redness
  • swelling
  • burning sensation during sex or urination
  • vaginal rash
  • thick, white discharge resembling cottage cheese

What you can do

If you’ve had a yeast infection before, you can probably treat it at home using an OTC cream, tablet, or suppository.

These products are usually available in one, three, or seven-day formulas.

It’s important to finish the entire course of medication, even if you begin to see results sooner.

If you’ve never had a yeast infection before — or you deal with severe or recurring infections — see a doctor or other healthcare provider.

They may be able to prescribe an oral antifungal medication or long-course vaginal therapy.

BV is an infection that occurs when the bacteria in your vagina is out of balance.

Your risk of developing BV is higher if you:

Along with itching, BV can cause thin gray or white discharge. You may also notice a fishy or foul odor.

What you can do

If you suspect BV, make an appointment to see a doctor. They can prescribe an oral antibiotic or vaginal cream to clear the infection and ease your symptoms.

STIs are passed from one person to another through intimate contact, including vaginal and oral sex.

Itching is often associated with:

In addition to itching, you may also experience:

  • strong vaginal odor
  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • sores or blisters
  • pain during sex
  • pain during urination

What you can do

If you suspect that you have an STI or that you may have been exposed to one, see a doctor for testing.

Most STIs can be treated with medication. Timely treatment is important and may help prevent complications.

Lichen sclerosus is a rare condition that creates smooth white patches on the skin, usually in the genital and anal areas.

This condition can also cause:

  • itching
  • redness
  • pain
  • bleeding
  • blisters

Although lichen sclerosus can affect anyone, it’s more common among females ages 40 to 60.

The exact cause of the condition is unknown. It’s thought that an overactive immune system or hormonal imbalance may play a role.

What you can do

If this is your first flare-up, see a doctor for diagnosis.

Lichen sclerosus on the genitals usually requires treatment and rarely improves on its own.

Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid creams and ointments to help reduce itching, improve the appearance of your skin, and minimize scarring.

PGAD is a rare condition in which a person has continuous feelings of genital arousal that aren’t associated with sexual desire.

The cause of the condition is unknown, though stress appears to be a factor.

PGAD causes a number of symptoms, including an intense tingling or itching in the clitoris and genital throbbing or pain.

Some people also experience spontaneous orgasm.

What you can do

If you suspect PGAD, make an appointment with a doctor. They can assess your symptoms and make specific recommendations for relief.

There is no single treatment specifically for PGAD. Treatment is based on what may be causing the symptoms.

This may include:

  • topical numbing agents
  • cognitive behavior therapy
  • counseling

Some people have reported temporary feelings of relief after masturbating to orgasm, though this can also worsen symptoms in others.

Clitoral itching is fairly common during pregnancy.

It may be due to hormonal changes or increased blood volume and blood flow. Both of these things contribute to increased vaginal discharge.

Your risk of vaginal infection, including BV and yeast infection, also increases during pregnancy. These can all cause clitoral itching.

If itching and some light, odorless discharge are your only symptoms, then you can probably chalk it up to hormones.

You should see your doctor if itching is accompanied by:

What you can do

In most cases, soaking in a cool oatmeal bath or applying an OTC anti-itch cream can help ease your symptoms.

But if you’re experiencing signs of infection, you’ll need to see your doctor. They may prescribe antibiotics or other medication.

Though itching is a common symptom of vulvar cancer, your symptoms are more likely to be caused by something less serious.

According to the American Cancer Society, vulvar cancer accounts for less than 1 percent of all female cancers in the United States. The chances of developing it during your lifetime are 1 in 333.

See your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • persistent itching that doesn’t improve
  • thickening of the skin of the vulva
  • skin discoloration, such as redness, lightening, or darkening
  • a lump or bump
  • an open sore that lasts longer than a month
  • unusual bleeding not related to your period

Clitoral itching that’s caused by a minor irritation will usually clear up with home treatment.

If your symptoms fail to improve — or worsen — with home treatment, discontinue use and see a doctor.

You should also see a doctor if you experience:

  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • foul odor
  • severe pain or burning
  • sores or blisters