Dolly Doctor

Why does my vagina itch?

There's nothing worse than skin irritation, especially down there. So how do you deal when your vajayjay won't stop itching? DOLLY Dr gets you clued up on what could be the cause.

Dear DOLLY,

I am really, really itchy just below my vagina opening. There are no other symptoms — just this annoying itch. My boyfriend and I haven't had sex, but his penis has touched the area and gone a little into me, but I stopped before anything else happened. We are both clean of STIs or anything like that, it's just dry and itchy. I know it's silly but I don't want to tell my mum or see a doctor just yet, but I will if it gets worse. Is there any over-the-counter stuff I could take?

Jessica Some skin conditions like eczema can affect the genital skin, but if your itch is very close or just inside the vaginal opening it sounds more like thrush. This is a yeast infection that results from an overgrowth in the vagina of a naturally occurring organism. It can be prevented by regularly eating yoghurt containing acidophilus and lactobacillus and by keeping the genital area dry and clean — avoid tight-fitting synthetic undies and pants. It can also be treated with over-the- counter creams — you can simply ask your local pharmacist. However, there is a very slight chance that this could in fact be an STI such as genital herpes — as this is transmitted from skin-to-skin, such as from a part of your boyfriend's genitals that touched yours, or from oral sex if he has cold sores. So just to be on the safe side, you should probably ask your doctor for a confidential check-up. It's understandable that you'd feel self-conscious about seeing a doctor (or talking to your mum for that matter) but look at it another way — like becoming sexually active, it's part of growing up and being responsible for looking after yourself!