Sometimes, a person may experience an itchy vagina during their period. Hormonal changes or allergies may be why.

Vaginal itching during a menstrual period can occur from normal hormonal changes during menstruation. It may also signal a sensitivity or allergy to pads, tampons, or other products a person may use.

This article outlines some potential causes of vaginal itching during a period and at other stages of the menstrual cycle. It also covers some home remedies and treatments for vaginal itching and provides information about when to talk with a doctor.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Was this helpful?
People passing a pad through a bathroom doorShare on Pinterest
Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images

Two causes of vaginal itching during a period are hormonal changes and sensitivities or allergies to period products, such as tampons.

Hormonal changes

The vagina contains a delicate balance of bacteria and yeasts. Changes in hormones can lead to changes in the relative levels of these microorganisms in the vagina. This can lead to vaginal itching.

Hormonal changes can occur due to several reasons, including:

Sensitivities and allergies

Vaginal itching can occur from sensitivities or allergies to products that come into contact with the skin around the vagina.

Some period products that could cause vaginal itching during a period include:

  • sanitary pads
  • tampons

Other products that could cause vaginal itching more generally include:

  • soaps and deodorizing sprays
  • underwear made from synthetic fibers
  • underwear washed in harsh laundry detergents or fabric softeners
  • lubricants
  • latex condoms
  • spermicides

Vaginal itching may become worse with repeated exposure to a product that causes sensitivity or irritation.

The following conditions can cause vaginal itching at any stage of the menstrual cycle.

Vaginal yeast infections

A vaginal yeast infection is a type of fungal infection from the yeast Candida. This yeast usually lives harmlessly inside the vagina.

However, certain factors can cause the yeast to multiply excessively. These factors include:

A vaginal yeast infection may cause the following symptoms:

  • itching and irritation around the vagina
  • soreness or stinging during urination or sexual intercourse
  • white vaginal discharge that has the consistency of cottage cheese

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that occurs when there is an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the vagina. Symptoms include vaginal itching and gray or white vaginal discharge that has a fishy odor.

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection among females ages 14–49 years. According to the Office on Women’s Health, it is twice as common among African American females than it is among white females.


Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is the result of the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis.

Experts estimate trichomoniasis accounts for around 15–20% of vaginitis cases. “Vaginitis” is the medical term for inflammation and irritation of the vagina.

Around 70% of people who have trichomoniasis do not experience any symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • genital itching, burning, or soreness
  • redness or other discoloration around the genitals
  • discomfort when urinating
  • an increased volume of vaginal discharge
  • vaginal discharge that has a fishy odor


“Dermatitis” is the medical term for a group of conditions that cause skin inflammation.

A 2014 review notes that around half of all cases of chronic vulvovaginal itching are due to allergic or irritant contact dermatitis. These types of dermatitis can occur due to poor hygiene or exposure to harsh chemicals and other irritants.


Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to divide and multiply at a rapid rate. These cells then build up on the skin, resulting in patches of irritation.

Psoriasis can develop anywhere on the body, including on the vulva and inside the vagina. Two main types of psoriasis can affect the genitals: plaque psoriasis and inverted psoriasis.

Plaque psoriasis involves red, purple, discolored, and crusty or flaky skin covered with silvery scales. The patches can be itchy or sore.

Inverse psoriasis typically develops in the folds of the skin. The affected skin may appear red or discolored, smooth, and tight.

Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchy white patches on the genitals or anus. It can affect people of all ages. It is most common among females between 40 and 60 years old.

The exact cause of lichen sclerosis is unknown. Topical steroid creams can usually help alleviate itching and other symptoms.

Lichen planus

Lichen planus is an autoimmune condition in which inflammatory cells attack a protein within the skin and mucous membranes. The condition affects moist areas of the body, such as the:

  • mouth
  • vagina
  • area around the vulva

People with lichen planus of the vulva may experience the following symptoms:

  • an itchy rash
  • a pattern of lacy white streaks
  • painful and persistent ulcers
  • scarring
  • yellow or blood-stained vaginal discharge
  • painful intercourse

Atrophic vulvovaginitis

Atrophic vulvovaginitis is a condition in which the vaginal tissues become dry, tender, and easily inflamed. The condition develops as a result of low estrogen levels. It is common among postmenopausal females.

Some potential symptoms of atrophic vulvovaginitis include:

  • vulvar or vaginal itching
  • vulvar or vaginal dryness
  • vaginal burning
  • spotting
  • pain during sex
  • skin splitting at the entrance of the vagina


Vaginal itching can also be a symptom of the following gynecologic cancers:

If cancer is the cause of vaginal itching, the itch is unlikely to go away after a person’s period has ended.


In some cases, extensive use of the following medications can also lead to vaginal itching:

Certain home remedies can help treat and prevent vaginal itching. These remedies aim to:

  • limit sources of irritation
  • reduce excess moisture and associated fungal growth
  • maintain an optimal balance of microorganisms inside the vagina

Some specific home remedies include:

  • not douching, as douching can cause an imbalance in the amount of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the vagina
  • taking probiotic supplements to help restore levels of “good” bacteria in the vagina
  • wearing cotton underwear, which is less likely to trap moisture against the skin
  • not using soaps that contain perfumes and other irritants
  • using fragrance-free laundry detergent and avoiding the use of fabric softeners
  • bathing in warm water, as opposed to hot water, to avoid irritating the sensitive skin around the vagina
  • soaking in a lukewarm bath with 4–5 tablespoons of baking soda to help soothe vaginal itching

The treatment options for vaginal itching during a period depend largely on what is causing the itching.

Some potential treatment options include:

  • antibiotics for itching caused by bacterial vaginosis or other bacterial infections
  • antifungal creams and pessaries for yeast infections
  • topical steroids for irritant dermatitis
  • topical estrogen for atrophic vulvovaginitis
  • antihistamines for contact dermatitis and psoriasis

Often, vaginal itching during a period clears up on its own within a few days. If there is no improvement after a couple of weeks, a person may wish to talk with a doctor.

A person should also talk with a doctor if they have any of the following:

  • repeated bouts of vaginal itching
  • vaginal discharge that has a foul smell or an unusual color or consistency
  • sores or inflamed skin around the vagina or vulva
  • a preexisting health condition, such as diabetes

People who are pregnant should see their doctor about vaginal itching or any other vaginal symptoms that they experience during pregnancy.

Experiencing vaginal itching during a period is common.

This symptom may be linked to normal hormonal changes that occur during menstruation. It may also signal a sensitivity or allergy to certain products a person uses during their period.

Some other causes of vaginal itching include imbalances of bacteria and yeasts inside the vagina, certain skin conditions, and some medications.

Vaginal itching during a period tends to go away on its own within a few days. However, if the itching persists, it may be best to talk with a doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.