Vaginal Itching & Menopause

4 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: October 13, 2022

Vaginal Itching and Menopause

Your skin has become dry, thinning, and itchy. Worst of all, and maybe you’re even embarrassed to talk about it, but you have started experiencing vaginal and vulvar itching.  

You need to know that these are common symptoms of menopause, including vaginal itching. Up to 99% of women going through perimenopause and menopause complain of skin-related issues. As with the majority of bodily changes associated with biological transition, fluctuating and declining estrogen levels are responsible for your changing skin. 

Alloy can help you get relief from your menopause symptoms. Complete our quick and easy medical review to begin a conversation with a menopause-trained doctor who can prescribe the treatment you need, including estradiol vaginal cream designed to treat vaginal dryness and itching.

What Causes Itching During Menopause?

The hormonal changes of menopause usher in a period of increased aging of your skin which in turn can cause you to experience itching of your face, body, and genital area.  The thinning of the skin and vulvovaginal tissues actually puts the sensitive nerve endings (causing itching, pain, and burning) and blood vessels (causing redness and easy bruising) closer to the surface.

Low Levels Of Estrogen

Estrogen plays an important role in skin health by promoting the production of natural oils which keep your skin smooth and moisturized. As your estrogen levels begin to decline, decreased oil production causes your skin to become drier, flakier, and itchier.

Decrease In Collagen 

Collagen, a protein that serves as one of the building blocks of your skin, keeps your skin from sagging and keeps it looking plump and youthful. Collagen production is partially regulated by estrogen and during menopause, this production is diminished.

Itching Symptoms during Menopause

Itching symptoms during menopause can vary depending on the area or region of the body involved. 

Generalized Itching

As the skin on your face, torso, arms, and legs begins to change, itchiness of these areas may be accompanied by other skin-related symptoms. You may notice a rash marked by redness and small bumps. Some women, in addition to itching, experience tingling, numbness, or burning of the skin. These symptoms are called paresthesias.      

Genital Itching

Vaginal itching, also known as vaginal pruritus, can develop or worsen during menopause. Symptoms can include burning, pain, discomfort or itchiness of the vagina and the vulva. 

Other Causes for Vaginal Itching

Outside of fluctuating hormone levels, there are several other causes of vaginal itching that may need to be considered.

Irritation from Soaps and Detergents and Other Chemical Irritants

A number of chemical irritants can cause vaginal itching. Soaps, laundry detergents, creams, and scented toilet paper are all potential culprits underlying your discomfort.

Infections

Bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and some STIs are associated with vaginal pruritis and are often accompanied by vaginal discharge. If you have vaginal discharge and itching, you should see your doctor for an in-person evaluation.

Lichen Sclerosis

Lichen sclerosis is a rare inflammatory skin condition that causes thin white patches and fissures to form on the skin, especially around the vulva. This condition is associated with significant itching and is most commonly diagnosed in post-menopausal women, though it can occur in women of any age. Women suffering from lichen sclerosis may report that their genital itching is worse at night and that they are experiencing cracking and bleeding of the vulvar and perianal skin. 

Vaginal, Vulvar, or Cervical Cancer

Itching or burning sensations in the vagina and vulva areas can rarely be associated with vaginal, vulvar, or cervical cancer. Again, these conditions will commonly present with bloody, vaginal discharge.

How to Treat Itching During Menopause

If you are experiencing vaginal itching as part of your menopausal transition, Alloy can help you find relief.  Start your journey to feeling better today. Fill out our free assessment and a menopause-trained doctor will review your symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment based on your specific needs.

Get Menopause Hormone Therapy from Alloy

Alloy provides an array of high-quality proven menopause treatments that combat myriad menopause symptoms, including vaginal itching.

Menopause hormone therapy (MHT) can help supplement your body’s decreasing levels of hormones. MHT is safe and effective in the majority of healthy menopausal women and is available in the form of estradiol vaginal cream, pills, and patches. For the treatment of vaginal itching, estradiol cream is typically the most appropriate.

Estradiol Vaginal Cream 

Estradiol vaginal cream is an FDA-approved plant-based form of estrogen. The cream is absorbed directly into the vaginal wall and remains local to the area of application. Topical estradiol is very effective in treating vaginal dryness and will help relieve your vaginal itching. As very little topical estradiol will get into your bloodstream, you will not experience relief from other systemic menopausal symptoms you may be experiencing.  

If your menopausal symptoms are limited to vaginal itching, dryness, or irritation, estradiol vaginal cream may be a good choice. Treatment with estradiol vaginal cream requires a prescription, and you will need to use the cream as directed by your doctor for 4-6 weeks before you experience its full benefits. 

Estradiol Pills or Patches

Estradiol is a plant-based, bioidentical form of the hormone estrogen that can be taken orally in pill form, transdermally in patch form, or applied topically as a vaginal cream. Estradiol pills and patches will increase the amount of estrogen circulating in your bloodstream, allowing your entire body to benefit. Along with alleviating your vaginal itching,. Estradiol pills and patches will help provide relief from any hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and mood swings that you may be experiencing. The pills require a prescription and are taken once daily.

Ways to Prevent Skin Itching During Menopause

There are several steps you can take to help prevent skin itching during menopause, including:

  • Avoid hot showers

  • Avoid potential skin irritants, wash with a mild soap, and rinse with warm water

  • Avoid scratching

  • Pat skin lightly after bathing

  • Avoid fragranced skincare products

  • Decrease alcohol & nicotine intake

  • Wear loose, soft fabric 

  • Avoid douching

If You Are Experiencing Vaginal Itching During Menopause, Alloy Can Help Relieve Your Symptoms 

Alloy’s menopause experts can help you find relief for vaginal itching and any other menopause symptoms that you are having. An Alloy doctor will evaluate the answers you provide on your free assessment and will make the best treatment recommendations for you.

Sources

Thornton MJ. “Estrogens and aging skin.” Dermatoendocrinol. 2013;5(2):264-270. doi:10.4161/derm.23872

Caro-Bruce E, Flaxman G. “Vulvar pruritus in a postmenopausal woman.” CMAJ. 2014;186(9):688-689. doi:10.1503/cmaj.130665

Raef HS, Elmariah SB. “Vulvar Pruritus: A Review of Clinical Associations, Pathophysiology and Therapeutic Management.” Front Med (Lausanne). 2021;8:649402. Published 2021 Apr 7. doi:10.3389/fmed.2021.649402

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