Lots of people experience clitoral itching every once in a while. While it’s normally harmless, it *might* be a symptom of something serious. Before we can treat the itch, we need to know what’s causing it.
While an itchy clit (aka pruritus vulvae) can be very uncomfortable, it’s not usually a cause for concern. In most cases, the reasons aren’t serious and can be treated with a minor lifestyle change or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. But in some situations, you may need legit medical attention.
Keep reading for a detailed overview of clitoral itching, including the best treatments for each unique cause.
Why is my clitoris itching?
Let us count the ways thy clit may be itching:
- Increased sensitivity from sexual stimulation
- Contact dermatitis
- Yeast infection
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Lichen sclerosus
- Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD)
- Itchy clitoris during pregnancy
Psst. No matter what the cause may be, relief is on the horizon.
As wild as it sounds, one viable option here is that you’re pretty horned up, and your clit is feeling the pressure (think blue balls but clit edition).
The clitoris may seem like a fun button added to your vag as a last-minute decoration, but believe us when we tell you clit is king. Despite being filled with over 10,000 nerve endings, the clit is researched less often than the penis (sigh).
Anyway, when your sexual response cycle is activated, blood shoots to the clitoris, making it sensitive, swollen, and kind of yearning for release. This can make it feel itchy, among other things.
You may know where we’re going with this, but orgasm is how your body can free itself from this tension, pressure, and possible itchy clit feeling. Without orgasm, your itchy clit may just sit there like that for hours on end. If you don’t have that kind of time, you may want to get a handle on this the old-fashioned way.
How to deal
If you’re feeling up to it, now is an excellent time to break out a vibrator or simply rely on the touch of your hand to try to bring yourself to orgasm. If you’d rather wait your clit out, you could also slip into some loose cotton underwear (to keep sensitivity down) and distract yourself until the tension passes. The choice is yours.
Your clitoris may have met a substance you’re allergic to, resulting in an allergic reaction (called contact dermatitis) that’s causing some itchiness and usually an accompanying red rash (lovely). Contact dermatitis can pop up pretty much anywhere on your body after direct contact with an allergen, so it’s not too surprising if your clit is feeling the sting.
Take a look at the fabrics, products, or other objects your clit may have had some direct interaction with lately. Are there any new body washes, soaps, or moisturizers on your shelf? Maybe you wandered into the vaginal aisle and tossed something in your cart that’s loaded with fragrances or other irritants that are aggravating your clit. Plus, Latex is another big allergen that may be the culprit behind your itchy clit. The possibilities are endless, TBH.
How to deal
We know how tempting scented products can be, especially with all that seductive advertising (my vag can smell like a field of lilies? Sign me up!). But as it’s been said many times before, the vagina works like a self-cleaning oven and just needs some love via a mild and fragrance-free cleanser. P.S. Make sure you’re rinsing well and drying off completely after your shower, too!
Anyway, ditch the suspicious new product if you think that’s the problem and test out these remedies for calming down your possible allergic reaction:
- gently apply a cold compress
- apply an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch cream (read instructions carefully! It may not be vulva-safe)
- consider taking an OTC antihistamine like Benadryl
- consider taking a calming oatmeal bath
If things don’t clear up and calm down, visiting your doc is a good idea — you may need a prescription antihistamine or steroid.
Yeast infections can light your vagina up with itchiness, a fierce burning sensation, redness, swelling, and more. These fungal infections are common, though, and as uncomfortable and even painful as they can be, they’re usually an easy fix.
Here are some other signs you’re dealing with a yeast infection:
- burning during sex
- burning while you pee
- irritation down there
- thick white vaginal discharge
How to deal
If you want to visit your primary care doctor or OB/GYN, they can prescribe you one pill (Diflucan) to help ease yeast infection symptoms as quickly as one day.
If seeing a doctor isn’t an option, you can find many OTC options (usually insertable creams/ointments) at any pharmacy or at Target and Walmart. You can also pick up some vaginal anti-itch creams in the same shopping aisles that will help cool down your itchiness while your OTC product goes to work to get rid of it. You can also test drive some home remedies for relief.
Whichever OTC product you choose, make sure you follow the directions and keep using the product as long as it suggests; skipping your dose may mean the itchiness comes back, and the infection can stick around longer.
This itchy infection is different than yeast infections. Basically, BV can happen thanks to unbalanced vaginal bacteria (an overgrowth of what’s called “normal vaginal flora”), while yeast infections are fungal. Another key difference here is yeast infections are known for their thick, cottage cheese-like discharge, while BV discharge is usually thin white or grey.
People who use douches (please don’t) have a higher chance of BV. Plus, people with an intrauterine device (IUD) also have boosted odds (rats!).
Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or multiple sexual partners are other BV risk factors to keep in mind.
PRO TIP: BV usually comes with a fishy odor.
How to deal
Thankfully, there are easy-enough treatment options for BV. Your best move here is to visit your doctor, who can help get your situation on track for healing with an antibiotic or vaginal cream.
You saw this one coming. With sexual contact comes the risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An itchy clit could be related to a slew of different STIs, including:
It’s important not to panic, though. Of course, you’ll need a test to determine if an STI is behind your itch.
There are some other possible STI symptoms and signs to keep a look out for besides an itchy clitoris (and you should mention these to your doctor):
- sex is painful
- it hurts when you pee
- you notice blisters, sores, rashes
- you notice a potent vaginal odor
- your discharge has changed in a weird way
How to deal
It’s super important to take control of your sexual health by making STD testing part of your routine and not just an emergency appointment when itching pops up. Not only are you clearing up an itchy situation and preventing any possible complications from an infection, but you’re also protecting present and future sexual partners.
You can get STD testing at home if you prefer, but there are plenty of in-person test options too. The most important thing is not to wait!
If your itching is paired with smooth white patches on or around your cash and prizes (genital area and anus) you may want to check with your doctor in case it’s an uncommon but possible case of a condition called lichen sclerosus.
This is seen most often in females around the age of 40 to 60, but it’s possible it can show up in people outside of that range too.
Aside from the itching and white patches, lichen sclerosus may also bring out:
We can’t tell you the exact causes behind this condition because science isn’t even sure at the moment. *BUT* we can tell you that some in the science community believe an overactive immune system or hormonal imbalance can be related factors.
How to deal
Again, this is where a doctor comes in handy. This condition needs treatment and a proper diagnosis. Plus, your doctor can give you something for all that damn itchiness and help you jump on the look of the white patches (and hopefully help you get ahead of any possible scarring too).
This is another uncommon option with unknown causes. Maybe you’ve heard of PGAD before, but ICYMI, it’s when someone has non-stop genital arousal, but they aren’t even necessarily in a sexually charged situation or overdue for an orgasm. In fact, people with PGAD may even have random orgasms out of nowhere. Along with making the clitoris hella itchy or tingly, this condition can also bring on genital pain or throbbing.
How to deal
These symptoms are kind of impossible to ignore. If constant genital arousal is interfering with your life, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a doctor who has some experience with PGAD.
Although right now you won’t find a treatment made just for this condition, your doctor can help treat your symptoms, which may help you find some relief. For example, numbing agents applied to your genitals may offer some comfort, and different forms of therapy (cognitive behavior therapy or counseling) may be a big help too.
You may be wondering if the big O can just relieve your itchy feelings, and the answer is maybe. It’s honestly dicey — masturbation may offer temporary relief, or it may exacerbate the situation and make you feel worse. Talking with your doctor may help you find some answers.
Pregnancy has an exhausting laundry list of symptoms (and they’re annoyingly similar to PMS symptoms). You’re probably familiar with the biggies (no period, nausea, enlarged nipples, etc.), but you may not have known that pregnancy can cause clitoral itching too.
All those hormonal changes and boosted blood flow are probably to thank. To top things off, your chances of yeast infections and BV boost when you’re pregnant, which OFC can cause clitoris itching, like we mentioned.
If you’re pregnant and your clitoris is itching but not enough to drive you insane, and you don’t notice any funky smells, you should take that as a good thing.
Your red flags in this situation, however, include:
- unpleasant odor
- painful sex
- painful peeing
- abnormal discharge
These are a sign it’s a good time to see your doctor. Otherwise, you can toss some OTC anti-itch vaginal cream down there like we mentioned are helpful with yeast infections, or you can kick back in a calming oatmeal bath for some temporary comfort.
It’s v understandable to be a little concerned that an itchy clit is a sign of something heavier like cancer — and we won’t lie to you, it is one symptom of vulva cancer — but the odds are incredibly low on this one.
How low? Fewer than 1 percent of all female cancers in the United States are vulva cancer.
If you’re still concerned, keep an eye out for these symptoms and check in with your doctor:
- constant itching, no improvement or relief
- you notice your vulva skin is thicker
- you see redness or darkening/lightening of the skin
- you see or feel bumps or lumps
- you have bleeding that isn’t thanks to your menstrual cycle
- you’ve had a lingering open sore for over a month
An itch anywhere is annoying; an itch on your clit can drive you bonkers. Keep an eye out for other symptoms along with the itchiness (any funky smells, pain, redness or irritation, changes in your discharge, etc.), and see your doctor if you can.
In the meantime, you may find that OTC anti-itch creams can cool you down a bit, OTC antihistamines like Benadryl can help with an allergic reaction, and an oatmeal bath can be calming AF.
If the itching doesn’t stop, get into your healthcare provider right away to get on top of healing a possible infection.