Help for a persistent vaginal itch during pregnancy

I have had a constant vaginal itch (external) for the past few weeks. I am in my 23rd week of pregnancy. I am not having any discharge, so I doubt it is an infection. I have been using hydrocortisone and Vagisil two to three times a day. This is driving me nuts. I can't imagine going 20 more weeks like this. What can I do?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

A persistent vaginal itch can be a torment during pregnancy. The pH of the vagina changes in pregnancy and these changes can cause local irritation. To lower vaginal pH, you might try sodium bicarb (baking soda) baths. You may also try dipping your finger in a baking soda/water solution and applying this to the areas that itch. Sometimes, intercourse will help, due to the low pH of the semen. Cold compresses may also be soothing. You could also coat your finger with yogurt and smooth some over the inflamed tissues. (Note: You may be reacting to an overgrowth of the normal bacteria in the vagina -- lactobacillus -- in which case, the yogurt with live cultures would make it worse.)

I'm assuming that all other infections have been ruled out. Yeast is the most prevalent infection, which causes vaginal itching.

If the itching is located in the pubic hair and not just in the vagina and around the labia, one must always screen for pediculosis (crab lice). These are very easy to catch and not always sexually transmitted.

Use of hydrocortisone can contribute to the itching if it contributes to skin breakdown, so I would discontinue its use.

There are creams that contain local anesthetics that may help. Lidocaine gel is helpful because it is a pure anesthetic. Monistat is a good choice as it would relieve the itching and control yeast. Sometimes, using this cream externally is enough, once or twice a day.

Natural remedies that are soothing would include: goldenseal in the bath water or a combination of calendula tincture (20ml), golden seal(20 ml), myrrh (10 ml) 2 drops essential oil of chamomile, 5 drops oil of marjoram, 5 drops tea tree oil. Dilute 1/2 teaspoon of this in 1/2 cup water and apply as a compress externally.

Information on herbal remedies can be received at any of these sites:

Present Moment Herbs
(612) 824-3157

Sunnyfield Herb Farm
Matt Wood
(612) 472-8057

Barbara Close's Botanicus
Red Horse Plaza
Suite 1
74 Montauk Highway, West
Hampton, NY 11937
(516) 329 2525
(800) 669-7618

I hope this really helps and you can get some relief.

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