Why Do I Feel Itchy After Sex?

photography of man and woman resting

Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and other sexually transmitted diseases or conditions can all make your genital area itchy. They are also often accompanied by other symptoms such as a green or gray vaginal discharge, an unpleasant fish-like odor, and vulvar redness & swelling.

If you suspect you have an infection or STI, you should see a doctor to receive treatment.

Chemical irritants

If you are suffering from itching in your vaginal area it could be due to a number of reasons including a skin rash, yeast infection or use of chemical irritants. Many women are sensitive to the ingredients found in scented toilet paper, washing powder, nylon underwear and perfumed wipes which can cause itching on the vulva. Yeast infections like Thrush and Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) can also trigger itching in this area. Oral sex is another reason for itching in this area as bacteria from the mouth and gums can be introduced to the vulva.

A chemical irritant is any substance that on immediate contact with normal living tissue causes a reversible inflammatory effect and can range from slight irritation to severe damage or burns. Some of the substances that can be irritants include tear gas (CS, CN and CR), pepper spray, riot control agent, smoke inhalants and foul-smelling malodorants.

Chemical irritants are used in the workplace and must be properly labeled to warn workers of their dangers, such as by using a pictogram on the Hazard Communication Standards for Eye and Skin Irritation (HCS 2012). These pictograms help ensure that workers understand what risks they are exposed to when handling chemicals and what precautions to take. Workers should also be familiar with the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is required to safely work with these chemicals.

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Hormonal changes

The vaginal area undergoes many hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life. These changes can impact the balance of microorganisms and can lead to an overgrowth of candida (yeast). You can spot a yeast infection in your vulva if you experience itching, burning, and a cottage cheese-esque discharge – This quote is a creation of the portal’s authors Teen Sex Adventure. A yeast infection can be treated with over-the-counter creams or treatment kits.

Another cause of genital itching after sex is a latex allergy, which can flare up during sexual intercourse. If you suspect that you’re allergic to the condoms or lubricants you use, try switching brands. You may also be able to develop a tolerance for latex by exposing yourself to it on a regular basis.

Itching can also be caused by friction, especially if you and your partner don’t adequately lubricate or aren’t appropriately aroused before sex. You can alleviate this issue by using a water-based lubricant and engaging in more foreplay. If itching persists, you may need to speak to your GP about getting tested for an STI like trichomoniasis, chlamydia, or gonorrhea. This is particularly important if you’re planning to become pregnant. Depending on the cause of the itchiness, you might need antihistamines or an EpiPen prescription to prevent anaphylactic reactions.

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Allergies

Various types of allergies can cause itching in the vulva area. In most cases, itching in this area is not a medical emergency and will go away on its own without treatment. However, persistent genital itching should be looked into by a doctor.

Allergies happen when the body mistakenly identifies something harmless as something dangerous and attacks it. This causes a chain reaction that produces immune system chemicals called mast cell chemicals, which release histamines that irritate the skin. Histamines are also responsible for vaginal itching after sex.

Itching in the vulva after sex can also be caused by a yeast infection or STIs such as herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Yeast infections can be caused by poor hygiene, using non-latex condoms, or hormonal changes. A doctor can prescribe an over-the-counter antifungal medication to treat the infection.

Sperm allergy is another common cause of genital itching after sex. Symptoms are usually triggered by skin contact with semen or unprotected sex and include redness, itching, pain and swelling around the vulva. This condition is sometimes misdiagnosed as a yeast infection or genital herpes.

An allergic reaction to lubricant or latex can also trigger genital itching. If you are allergic to a particular lubricant or latex, try switching to a different product.

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STIs

If you’re itching in the area around your vulva or penis after sex, there are many possible reasons for this. These could include the use of inadequate lubrication, latex allergy (especially if you use rubber condoms), yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and STIs.

Genital herpes is an STI that causes blisters around the genital area. It’s most commonly passed through vaginal and oral sex, but it can also be transmitted during anal or anal foreplay. The herpes virus doesn’t cure, but itching in this area can be relieved by using an antiviral medicine.

Sperm allergies are rare but can cause itching in the genital area and anywhere else on the body that comes into contact with semen. These allergic reactions, called seminal plasma hypersensitivity, are usually triggered by the proteins in semen. They can occur in males as well as females. If you have a sperm allergy, your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine before sexual intercourse and suggest wearing a condom to minimize exposure. They may also recommend carrying an EpiPen for severe allergic reactions that are life-threatening.

Itching in the genitals after sex is normal, but it shouldn’t last more than a few days. If itching persists, consult your doctor, who can recommend treatment options such as over-the-counter ointments and treatment kits for mild yeast infections, antibiotics for bacterial vaginosis, and surgical laser removal or cryosurgery for warts.

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