Mild itching of the clitoris can occur due to an increase in sensitivity from sexual arousal or stimulation. Persistent itching that arises outside of sexual activity or does not go away may signal an infection or health condition.
The clitoris is a small, round part of the female anatomy that sits above the opening of the vagina. It is very sensitive and has many nerve endings, so itching here can be particularly bothersome.
In this article, we look at the possible causes of itching on or around the clitoris and the treatment options.
The clitoris is very sensitive and contains many nerve endings. When something irritates this area of the body, it may feel itchy.
Irritants could include a certain material that the underwear comprises, for example, a scratchy fabric.
Alternatively, it could be a new laundry detergent or soap. A person can try switching these products to see whether this solves the problem.
During sexual arousal, blood flow to the clitoris increases, and this organ swells up, which makes it more susceptible to irritation.
Sometimes, a person may feel temporary itching before, during, or after sexual arousal. This itching usually goes away by itself and is not a cause for concern. However, a person should look out for other signs and symptoms to make sure that the itching is not due to an infection.
If the levels of bacteria in the vagina become unbalanced, this can cause an infection called bacterial vaginosis. Doctors do not know the exact cause of bacterial vaginosis, but the following factors may increase a person's risk of getting the infection:
Bacterial vaginosis can cause itching of the clitoris and the area around the vagina. Other common symptoms include:
Anyone who thinks that they might have bacterial vaginosis should see their doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.What causes vaginal itching?This article looks at some common causes of vaginal itching and explains how to relieve the itch.Read now
A vaginal yeast infection, which people usually refer to as thrush, can make the clitoris and other parts of the vulva very itchy. Other symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection affect the vagina and vulva and can include:
An overgrowth of yeast called Candida causes these infections. People who think that they have a vaginal yeast infection should see their doctor to get treatment and rule out any other infections.
People may be more at risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection if they:
Lichen sclerosus is a noncontagious skin disorder that affects the genitals. It can also involve the skin around the breasts, upper body, and upper part of the arms.
Although the cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown, experts believe that it might occur due to:
Lichen sclerosus affects females more often than males, and it is rare in children. It usually occurs after menopause.
Along with itching, other symptoms of lichen sclerosus can appear in the affected area. These may include:
A person should see their doctor if they think that they have lichen sclerosus. The doctor may inspect the skin using a microscope to diagnose the condition.
Scarring of the skin from lichen sclerosus can increase the risk of cancer. People with lichen sclerosus should see their doctor every 6–12 months to check that any changes to the skin are benign.
Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) is a long lasting sensation of sexual arousal without any sexual stimulation. It is much more common among females than males.
Symptoms of PGAD affect the genital area and can include:
The duration of symptoms can vary from a few hours to several weeks or even months.
Although the cause of PGAD remains unknown, stress and anxiety may play a role in the condition. Certain activities, such as being in a car or urinating, may also trigger symptoms.
People with PGAD may be more likely to have other health conditions, such as epilepsy, Tourette's syndrome, or restless leg syndrome.
The symptoms of genital eczema can affect the vulva, as well as the skin around the anus and buttocks.
People may experience:
An allergic reaction to clothing, bathing products, or medication can cause genital eczema.
Itching of the clitoris and genital area can signify a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Other common symptoms of STIs can include:
It is best to see a doctor about any of these symptoms to find out what is causing them and to receive treatment if necessary.
Learn more about how to identify STIs here.
Itching of the clitoris can sometimes be a symptom of vulvar cancer. Other symptoms depend on the type of vulvar cancer, but they can include:
People should see their doctor if they notice any of these signs. The doctor will carry out a pelvic examination to check for any abnormalities.
Treatment options for an itchy clitoris will depend on the underlying cause of the itching.
If a vaginal yeast infection is causing this symptom, a doctor can provide antifungal medicine to treat the infection. They will usually advise using antibiotics to treat bacterial vaginosis and topical steroid creams to treat eczema.
A doctor may prescribe a cream or ointment to treat lichen sclerosus. This topical treatment should soothe the itching sensation as well as treating the condition.
People may be able to find relief from PGAD by following the guidance of their doctor, who may recommend:
People may find relief from the itching by wearing loose cotton underwear and clothing. Applying a cool compress or ice pack to the affected area and avoiding using chemical bathing products may also relieve irritation and prevent further symptoms.
It is especially important for anyone who is pregnant to see their doctor and find out the underlying cause of an itching clitoris. Receiving a checkup and any necessary treatment for infections can help prevent possible complications with the birth.
Occasional clitoris itching can be normal, but a person should see their doctor if they have persistent itching of the clitoris. A doctor will be able to carry out a pelvic examination to determine the underlying cause and recommend treatment options.