Dolly Doctor

Why is my vagina itchy?

Got an itch? Are your bits burning? Get it sorted, stat!

Dear DOLLY,

I think I have a "vaginal condition". It itches and burns and hurts when I go to the toilet. When I look in the mirror, I can see something that looks like a wart and sometimes it bleeds. Please help me!

Lynn Don't panic, but do look after your vagina! You might have one or two "conditions", but it's impossible to know without more information.

The itching and burning sound like they could be due to thrush & a common problem in women due to an overgrowth of a normal vaginal yeast. However, some sexually transmitted infections can look just like thrush, at least initially. For example; herpes, caused by a virus, can lead to itchy painful ulcers in the genital area.

Sometimes the ulcers are tiny or difficult to see and the only symptoms you notice are an itch and burning when you wee. Herpes can be transmitted through oral sex from someone with cold sores, or it can be transmitted through intercourse from someone with genital herpes. People with the herpes virus often don't know they have it.

The "wart" that you can see could be a genital wart if you've had sexual contact with someone who has warts (again, they might not know they have them). On the other hand it could be a skin lump, swollen gland or some other skin condition that has nothing to do with sexual activity.

It's also possible that what looks like a wart could be a herpes ulcer &#45 they usually look quite different from each other but if it's small and difficult to see it can be hard to tell.

Hopefully you'll appreciate how important it is to visit a doctor for a thorough assessment & whether you're sexually active or not. Seeing a doctor is confidential. If you're sexually active you can also talk about a bunch of other stuff such as how to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy and STIs.