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Vaginal itch during your period is a common experience. It can often be attributed to a number of potential causes, including:

Itch during your period could be caused by your tampons or pads. Sometimes, sensitive skin can react to the materials used to make the hygiene products you use. Your tampon may also be drying.

How to avoid or lessen itch from irritation

  • Try unscented tampons or pads.
  • Change brands to try pads or tampons made with different materials.
  • Change your tampons and pads frequently.
  • Use the appropriate size tampon for your flow, avoiding highly absorbent sizes if not necessary.
  • If you use tampons exclusively, consider periodically using pads.
  • Switch to using menstrual cups or washable pads or underwear.
  • Avoid using scented products, such as scented cleansing wipes, in your vaginal area.
  • Wash the area with only water and mild soap with no color or scent.

Hormonal changes associated with your menstrual cycle can result in changes to your vaginal pH. Those changes might create an environment for an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, known as a yeast infection. Along with itch, symptoms of a yeast infection may include:

Yeast infections are typically treated with antifungal medication. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) topical medicine or prescribe an oral antifungal, such as fluconazole (Diflucan).

Many who buy OTC medication for treating a yeast infection don’t actually have one. If you think you may have a yeast infection, get a diagnosis from your doctor before trying self-treatment.

Your menstrual cycle includes hormonal changes that can create an imbalance in your vaginal pH. When this occurs, bad bacteria can flourish, potentially resulting in infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Along with vaginal itch, symptoms of BV may include:

BV should be diagnosed by your doctor and can only be treated by prescription antibiotic medication, such as:

A common sexually transmitted infection (STI), trichomoniasis is caused by infection by the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite. Along with vaginal itch, the symptoms of trichomoniasis may include:

  • discomfort when you pee
  • change in vaginal discharge
  • unpleasant odor

Typically, trichomoniasis is treated with oral prescription antibiotics, such as tinidazole or metronidazole.

It’s important to have your doctor diagnose and treat trichomoniasis, especially because of the genital inflammation it can cause. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this inflammation makes it easier to transmit or contract other STIs.

Experiencing itchiness in your vaginal area during your period isn’t uncommon. It might be caused by irritation that you easily resolve yourself, such as by changing to unscented tampons or pads.

The itch, however, might be the sign of a condition that should be diagnosed and treated by your doctor.

If the itching you experience during your period continues, make an appointment with your doctor.