Itchy Clit

What Does It Mean When You Have an Itchy Clit?

Here’s why you may be experiencing an itchy clit, and ways to treat it.

6 minute
read

Occasionally experiencing an itchy clitoris is totally normal in most cases. However, if irritation persists, or gets worse, or if you experience some other key symptoms, it could be a cause for concern and it might be time to see your healthcare provider. 

There are numerous possible explanations for an itchy clitoris, so with the help of some experts, we’re here to give you the scoop on why you may find yourself with the urge to furiously rub your clit — and not in a fun way.

Contact Dermatitis

Oftentimes, an itchy clitoris is the result of an allergic reaction, also referred to as contact dermatitis. In this case, the affected area often becomes itchy, red, and inflamed.  

There are many things that could potentially cause this reaction, including soap and body washes, creams, lotions, or salves, and fragrances. It could also be a reaction to latex condoms, dental dams, or latex clothing. Shaving or waxing the vulva could also cause irritation and itching of the clitoris and surrounding areas. If you recently started using a different type of laundry detergent to wash your clothing or underwear, that can also be the culprit.

If an allergic reaction is what you think is likely causing the itchiness, stop using the product or fabric. Anthea Morris, sexual health expert, and co-founder of Better2Know, tells O.School, “you should only be using mild, fragrance-free products to clean your vulva, the external genital area”.

How to treat an allergic reaction: 

1. Stop using the product or fabric that is causing the irritation.

2. Wear breathable, cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants.

3. Use a cold-compress.

4. Try over-the-counter allergy medications.

5. Take a warm oatmeal bath. 

If the itching and irritation don’t subside after some time, it’s best to visit your healthcare provider so they can prescribe an oral or topical steroid or antihistamine. 

Sensitivity from Increased Arousal or Stimulation

The clitoris is a highly sensitive area of the body. In addition to having reportedly over 8,000 nerve-endings (although this number has been contested), there is a significant increase in blood flow to the clitoris during times of increased arousal or stimulation to the area, often causing the clitoris to swell in size as well. 

After reaching orgasm, this increase in sensitivity and blood flow will begin to subside, during the resolution phase of the sexual response cycle, ranging from a few minutes to several hours. 

However, if orgasm isn’t reached, one may experience itching or irritation in the clitoris as a result of the “unresolved” arousal and stimulation. 

How to treat an unresolved itchy clit post arousal or stimulation 

Reaching orgasm can help the itching or irritation subside if that is an option for you. Otherwise, it should resolve itself within a couple of hours, and in the meantime, you might want to wear some comfortable breathable cotton underwear. 

Urinary Tract Infection

The clitoris and the urethral opening are located extremely close to each other, and so it can be easy to confuse itching of the clitoris, with itching of the urethral opening. 

Itching of the urethral opening is often a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Here are some UTI symptoms to look out for:

1. Urgency or frequency of urination

2. Blood in urine

3. Cloudy urine

4. Pain with urination

5. Urine with strong odor

6. Pelvic or rectal pain

How to treat a UTI 

See your doctor. They will be able to determine if it is, in fact, a UTI and whether it is a bacterial, viral, or fungal UTI. UTIs caused by bacteria will be treated with antibiotics. Viral and fungal UTIs will be treated with antifungals and antivirals. 

Yeast Infection

Itching and irritation can also be caused by an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast infections are incredibly common, as Morris mentions. “Around 75 percent of women will have a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lives. Many will have more than one,” she adds. While itching mostly occurs near the vaginal opening, it can also cause itching of the clitoris. Other symptoms include:

1. Swelling

2. Burning sensation during sex or urination

3. Redness and/or vaginal rash

4. Thick, white “cottage cheese”-like discharge

How to treat a yeast infection

If you are not sure whether or not you have a yeast infection, see your healthcare provider. Yeast infections can be treated with over the counter medications from your pharmacist. The medications, Morris tells us, “can include a pessary (inserted into the vagina) as well as a cream for the external area”. 

Sexually Transmitted Infection

There is a possibility that clitoral itching is a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Some STIs related to clitoral itching include: 

1. Genital warts

2. Genital herpes

3. Chlamydia

4. Trichomoniasis

5. Scabies

6. Gonorrhea 

Along with itching, the most common accompanying symptoms of an STI are: 

1. Sores or blisters

2. Strong vaginal odor

3. Unusual discharge

4. Pain during sex or during urination

5. Unusual vaginal bleeding

6. Lower abdominal or pelvic pain

How to treat STIs

If you suspect an STI, Morris says to (temporarily) abstain from sex, get an STI test, and encourage your sexual partner(s) to get one as well. “If you test positive,” they say, “you should follow the course of medication and then wait a further week before resuming sexual activity”. 

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD), is characterized by spontaneous genital arousal without experiencing sexual desire that is unresolved by orgasm. Arousal can be triggered by sexual or non-sexual stimuli. Most commonly, folks with PGAD will experience clitoral itching, irritation, tingling, throbbing, and pain. It can be incredibly distracting and cause distress. 

How to treat PGAD

See your doctor if you think you are experiencing symptoms of PGAD, they will be able to assess the symptoms and the possible causes, which are often related to stress and other psychological disturbances, and determine the course of treatment. 

Some treatment options include:

1. Counseling

2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

3. Mindfulness therapy

4. Antiandrogens

5. Lidocaine cream

6. Antidepressants and SSRI’s

Lichen Sclerosus

Another possible explanation of clitoral itchiness is the skin condition known as lichen sclerosus. Dr. Michael Enberger, who specializes in urology and pelvic health, tells O.school that this condition affects approximately 3 percent of people with vulvas. It is usually categorized by thin, patchy white skin on the genital areas. Other symptoms, in addition to itching, include: 

1. Pain or discomfort

2. Painful sex

3. Blotchy white patches on the skin

4. Wrinkled patches of skin 

5. Tearing or bleeding 

6. Redness

7. Clitoral phimosis

Though direct cause is still unknown, some research links lichen sclerosus to hormonal imbalances, and so it has been shown to primarily affect folks who are post or perimenopausal. 

How to treat lichen sclerosus

If you suspect lichen sclerosus, it will not clear up by itself, so it’s best to see your doctor immediately, and do not attempt to self-treat. A doctor will likely prescribe a topical corticosteroid cream or a low-dose estrogen topical cream. 

When to see a doctor if your clit is itchy 

Remember, brief and isolated itching of the clitoris is very common and usually not something to be worried about. However, if it continues, worsens, or you experience other concerning symptoms, see your doctor. 

This is just one of the many reasons it’s so important to get to know and be in tune with your body and your genitals. Get to know what is “normal” for you and your body.

Related Articles:

Why Does My Clit Hurt?

How To Stimulate The Clit

How To Find The Clit

Is My Clit Too Big? What Everyone Should Know About Clit Size

References

Video transcript