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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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Genital Itching

What Causes Genital Itching?

Genital itching can be a symptom of many conditions which may include vaginal infections in females or jock itch in males. In either sex, itching may be caused by skin irritation, sexually transmitted diseases, and allergies.

In many cases, genital itching that is caused by irritation will clear up on its own if the irritation is removed. Other causes of itching may require more intensive treatment. If you are concerned about genital itching that does not go away, talk to your doctor or another health care professional.

How Can Genital Itching Be Avoided?

Females should take the following steps to help avoid genital itching:

  • After urination or bowel movements, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the anus getting into the vagina.
  • Avoid chemical products such as vaginal douches or feminine hygiene sprays, which can upset the acidic balance of the vagina.
  • Avoid scented feminine hygiene products (panty liners, pads, soaps).

Males should take the following steps to help avoid genital itching:

  • Wash the penis well, including the area under the foreskin in uncircumcised men.
  • Keep the area dry, since moisture in the genital area can lead to infections. Cornstarch powders during the summer may be helpful.

Both males and females should take the following steps to help avoid genital itching:

  • Wear loose, natural-fiber underwear and clothing. Change underwear at least every 24 hours.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry. Use mild soap and rinse well.
  • Use mild, unscented laundry detergents to wash your underwear.
  • Dry off thoroughly after bathing and swimming. Avoid staying in wet clothing for long periods of time.
  • Avoid unprotected sex, especially if you are worried that you or your partner might have an infection.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on September 08, 2014

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