Almost all women experience an itchy vagina (with discharge or without) at some point in their lives. In general, itchiness around the vulva or inside the vagina and cervix has several common causes. If you’re experiencing no discharge, just an itchy vaginal area, then it might be related to the transition to menopause. Perimenopausal itching often occurs due to changes in hormones, which can result in dry skin or excessive moisture around the vulva.
So, is your no-discharge itchy vagina related to menopause? Let’s take a moment to explore some of the causes of vaginal itching without discharge and how to treat it.
No Discharge, Just Itchy: What Causes Vaginal Itching?
If you’re experiencing no discharge, just itchy skin around the opening of your vagina, you could be dealing with one of several issues. A few of the most common causes of no-discharge vaginal itching are:
- Contact dermatitis
- Lichen sclerosus
- Hormonal changes
Contact dermatitis is the medical term for itchiness that occurs when your skin comes in contact with something that causes an inflammatory reaction. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include tenderness, itchiness, rashes, swelling, and inflammation. Discharge is very unlikely with a case of contact dermatitis.
Eczema is a skin condition that can affect any part of the body. It causes patches of skin to become itchy, inflamed, dry, scaly, and/or swollen. Eczema is a chronic condition, but flare-ups tend to go away on their own, and may be linked to your menstrual cycle, stress, exposure to allergens, and/or hormonal changes.
Lichen sclerosus, like eczema, is another chronic skin condition. Unlike eczema, lichen sclerosus primarily impacts the genitals and anal area of the body. Symptoms include white patches around the vulva, flushed vulval skin, itchiness and pain during intercourse.
Hormonal changes happen throughout your menstrual cycle, but they often accelerate during perimenopause. At normal levels, estrogen protects vaginal and vulvar skin, and increases moisture production in the vagina. As your body’s estrogen production decreases, you may experience vaginal dryness and thinning in the skin of the vagina and vulva. These symptoms can lead to no discharge, just itchiness around the vagina.
Every Woman’s Body is Unique
Before we move on to discuss treatment and care for your vagina if you’re experiencing no discharge, just itchy skin around that area, it’s important to note that every body is different. When exposed to a specific allergen, you may have a more severe reaction than some other women have had, or you may not have a reaction at all. For example, some women will develop a rash or itch vulvar skin when exposed to a particular laundry detergent, while other women won’t experience any adverse effects at all.
Some women experience eczema flare-ups when they consume too much soy. Others will experience contact dermatitis when they wash their clothes with a scented detergent. Still others may experience itchiness but no discharge with a condition that is ordinarily associated with discharge. For example, not all women suffering from yeast infections will have discharge. Other examples of potential causes of vaginal itchiness that may or may not present without discharge include:
- Bacterial vaginosis
If you’re experiencing no discharge, just itchy skin in your private parts, the best course of action is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. They’ll have the medical expertise necessary to give you a proper diagnosis and help you find the right treatment for you, no matter what the cause of the itching.
Even if you have no discharge, you could still be experiencing a condition generally associated with discharge. So, before you say, “It can’t be bacterial vaginosis!” you should understand that your reaction to an STI or other cause of vaginal itching may differ from the norm. Talk to your doctor about your condition.
Treating Vaginal Itchiness with No Discharge
Now, while seeing your doctor is the best way to go for treatment - they may recommend medical treatments in the form of local vaginal HRT such as cream, pessaries, rings or tablets if it is a safe option for you - there are still things you can do at home to treat or reduce the symptoms of perimenopausal itching and other vaginal itching without discharge.
First, stop wearing tight-fitting synthetic fabrics. Switch out nylon underwear for cotton, and give your vagina some breathing room. Giving your vulva more airflow allows sweat to evaporate more rapidly, and prevents bacteria from multiplying in your pubic hair and between your legs.
You may also want to examine your diet. Eating too much soy can cause eczema flare-ups. Consuming too much sugar can increase your likelihood of developing a yeast infection. Drink plenty of water and get lots of vitamin C to combat no-discharge vaginal itching.
There’s still debate about the cause of lichen sclerosus, but researchers have found that it may be the result of a hormone imbalance. With a strong correlation between lichen sclerosus and hormones, it’s not surprising that some perimenopausal women struggle with it. Treatment usually includes topical corticosteroids or prescription medication.
No-Discharge Vaginal Itching and Menopause
Of course, lichen sclerosus is not the only potential result of a hormone imbalance. As your body transitions to menopause, its estrogen production slows and eventually stops. Because estrogen is key in promoting normal vaginal secretions, lack of estrogen can lead to dryness and no-discharge vaginal itching.If your itching is due to perimenopausal changes in your hormones, you may want to consider taking a hormone supplement or changing your diet to promote balanced hormones. Increased estrogen levels can improve dryness and itching of the vulva and vagina. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and how you can relieve the itching today. And, in the meantime, try one of the at-home treatment options we mentioned above. While they may not be a substitute for medication from your doctor, they’re all healthy choices that could help you feel healthier and more energetic in the transition to menopause. No-discharge vaginal itching is a common issue with perimenopausal and menopausal women, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it without relief.