Vaginal itching with redness and swelling of the vulva, labia is in most cases due to an infection. Injury and allergic reactions are other frequent cases of swelling and itching.  The resulting inflammation results in the swelling and redness, often accompanied by severe and distressing itching. The loose skin over the vulva is prone to swelling. Refer to Itchy Vagina and Itchy Vulva, Labia with for more information.

Causes

  • Bacterial vaginosis is common in women, more so in those who are sexually active. However, it is not sexually transmitted and can be controlled effectively with proper antibiotic treatment.
  • Vaginal candidiasis or an yeast infection of the vagina is also a common form of vaginal infection. The chances of co-existing diabetes is also a possibility. A vaginal yeast infection may recur even after adequate treatment.
  • Trichomoniasis of the vagina occurs due to infection with Trichomonas vaginalis, which is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse.
  • Vaginitis or vaginal inflammation can occur due to hormonal changes in the body, such as during menopause. It may also occur as a result of trauma, especially in young girls.
  • Irritation due to wearing synthetic underwear, excessive tight jeans or wet swimwear for prolonged periods.
  • An allergic reaction or contact dermatitis as a result of using tampons, sanitary pads, latex condoms or, spermicide gels used during intercourse or toilet paper.
  • Microenvironmental changes (pH and naturally occurring microorganisms) within the vagina due to frequent vaginal douches and medication administered through the vagina.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Injury to the vagina, vulva and/or labia.
  • Erosive vulvovaginitis is the ulceration of the vulva and vagina.
  • Cancer.
  • Sexual abuse in children should be kept in mind. Trichomonal vaginitis in children may suggest sexual abuse. Other symptoms such as vulvovaginal soreness, blood-tinged or foul-smelling discharge may also be present, along with non-specific medical complaints and behavioral changes.

Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on June 10, 2010