Vagina is regarded as one of the most sensitive parts of the female body. Any irritation or burning sensation in this area can produce significant pain and discomfort that may affect several aspects of a woman's life. The reason for vaginal irritation includes exposure to irritants, pre-menopausal irritation or exposure to certain infectious agents. In very rare cases, this irritation is also diagnosed as an early symptom of vulvar cancer or stress oriented irritation. However, the final and confirmed diagnosis can only be made by the gynecologist after reviewing all the tests and examination. Based on the findings, an appropriate medical treatment can be suggested or provided.
Possible Causes of Vaginal Itching and Burning without Discharge
1. Exposure to Irritants
Most of the chemical agents that are used in the manufacturing of different skin care products such as soaps, sprays, and contraceptives can serve as chemical irritants and may induce an allergic reaction. It is not necessary that every female develop an allergic response after being exposed to these chemicals; however, it has been observed that some female are more vulnerable to develop reactions owing to high skin sensitivity, leading to vaginal irritation and burning.
Females who are living with chronic or poorly managed diabetes mellitus, or those who experience an increased frequency of urination due to metabolic or medical causes can also develop irritation and burning of vagina.
Females entering in menopausal phase experience irritation and burning without any significant discharge. This happens because of the reduction in estrogen levels which leads to vaginal dryness. Hormone replacement therapy is the treatment of choice to eliminate this itching and dryness feeling which leads to burning crotch.
3. Stress and Depression
Any type of stress either physical or emotional can significantly depress the immune system of the body, thereby making your body more prone to develop infections and allergic reactions. These allergic reactions may then induce vaginal irritation.
4. Pin Worm Infections
Irritation due to pin worm infections is most commonly observed in the children. This infection is easily transmitted from sharing of clothes, articles and beddings.
Some of the significant symptoms of pin worm infections include painful irritation around vagina and anus, loss of appetite, lack of sleep, and weight loss.
5. Vaginal Thrush
Vaginal thrush is caused by fungus, referred to as Candida albicans. This fungus normally resides within the female genital tract as part of the normal biotic flora. However, increased multiplication and high rate of growth of this otherwise normal flora can develop symptomatic vaginal thrush and can cause vaginal burning along with irritation and dryness.
The main cause of irritation due to candida and thrush is abnormal changes in the vaginal pH.Vaginal thrush is sometimes associated with severe pain and vaginal discharge (thick in appearance and resembling cottage cheese).
Psoriasis is a condition that is characterized by the appearance of scales and cracks over the skin surface. The skin becomes bright red in color due to irritation. Some of the common areas which are more prone to develop psoriasis cracks include groin, anal region, and vulva.
7. Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus is a condition characterized by the peeling of skin. In this condition, the skin becomes thin and itchy, mainly involving the vulva. Extreme cases may produce vulvar narrowing, causing pain during intercourse or even vaginal tearing.
Most of the females experience lichen sclerosus during menopause and puberty phase. The itching and irritation caused by this condition is so severe that it can even disturb the sleep cycle; steroidal creams are prescribed as treatment for lichen sclerosus.
8. Excessive Washing
Clearing off the vulvar region with water several times a day may remove its moisture causing itching and irritation in vulva.
Excessive washing of vulva is primarily a concern for older women who face difficulty in going to bath. For this reason, they clear off their vagina several times a day.
9. Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia
It is a condition characterized by growth of abnormal cells in the vulvar region. It is an initial condition observed before the development of vulvar cancer. The development of vulvar cancer is seen very rarely, but this neoplasia may affect women of older age more commonly. A small sore is observed as a characteristic initial symptom.
The normal anatomical structures of urinary system include kidney in which the urine is formed, urethra (the tubes through which the urine is drained in the bladder) and urinary bladder where the formed urine is retained. Inflammation and infection of the lower pelvis including bladder is called as cystitis.
This cystitis is one of the reasons for vaginal irritation and itching. This infection may progress to upper pelvic region including kidneys.
11. Poorly-Controlled Diabetes
Poorly managed diabetes is often associated with development of yeast infections in the body. This is because the major nutritional source for yeast growth is glucose, when there is an increase in glucose concentrations, the growth of yeast also increases. For these reasons, females developing yeast infections are often assessed for the diabetes too.
12. Non-Infectious Vaginitis
Inflammation of vagina or vaginitis can also be a result of non-infectious factors. These factors include allergic responses to certain chemicals, reaction against specific fabric or clothing etc.
Other type of non-infectious vaginitis include atrophic vaginitis which can be due to menopause (decline in estrogen levels), procedure in which ovaries are removed, radiation therapy or after child birth.
13. Other Causes
Other associated causes of vaginal irritation include use of certain medications such as Yasmin, Orthoevra, etc. or certain diseases like peripheral artery disease. These agents can serve as the key inciting factor for a burning crotch.
When to Worry About Vaginal Itching and Burning Without Discharge?
Poorly managed vaginal irritation and burning can evolve into a serious matter of concern which can also affect the quality of life significantly. Consultation with the physician becomes necessary if the female is experiencing any of the listed symptoms:
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Thick vaginal discharge
- Appearance of ulcers over vulva
- Associated fever with irritation