Itching in the vagina or nearby area is occasionally complained by few of the individuals. Medically, this conditions is termed as Pruritus vulvae.
Pruritus (or pruritis) means itching.
Vulvae refers to female genitalia.
Itching leads to irritation, which may lead to spread of inflammation and infection to the surrounding region.
In Ayurveda this condition is referred as Yoni Kandu or Bhaga Kandu. Bhaga refers to labial region and kandu term is used for itching.
Usually all diseases with itching as a symptom has Kapha Dosha dominance. Hence, Vaginal itching also has Kapha Dosha aggravation.
Reasons for Pruritus vulvae (Yoni kandu):
- Unhygienic conditions of vagina
- Improper cleaning after sexual indulgence
- Unhygienic sexual contact
- Repeated episodes of excess white discharge (specific or non specific leucorrhoea)
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, warts
- Diabetes – people with diabetes are prone for skin infections with itching
- Long term medications
- Threadworm, pediculosis, fungal infections etc.,
- Persistant skin infections like psoriasis, lichen planus, seborrhea etc.,
- Psychological disorders
- Senility etc
Features of Pruritus vulvae (Yoni kandu) and associated complaints:
- Itching skin lesions outside or inside vagina
- Small and multiple blisters with discoloration
- Occasional bleeding
- Occasional pubic hair fall
- Burning sensation
- Mental irritation (rarely depression) due to repeated itching.
- Urinary incontinence – inability to hold back urination urge, leading to spilling of urine and infection
- Vaginitis (inflammation, swelling, redness), yeast infection, pin worm infestation
If the disease is secondary to any of the pre existing illness the blood investigation, patch tests, urine and stool examination etc can be carried to arrive at the diagnosis. Higher investigation may be essential to rule out any major diseases if the symptoms do not improve with initial treatment.
Line of treatment of Pruritus vulvae (Yoni kandu) and associated complaints:
- If the problem of itching is due to secondary to any of the illness, the main problem should be treated at the earliest.
- De-wormification with herbs like Kutaja (connessi bark), Bael, Haritaki gives good result in few of the cases.
- Local application of ointments and creams specific to the kind of illness is very essential.
- Proper hygienic measures are very important to cure as well as prevent from the repeated episodes.
Tips to relieve vaginal itching:
Your soap might be causing the itch due to any irritating chemical. If you suspect the same, consider changing it or make your own herbal bath powder.
Do not spray de-odorants to private part.
Avoid topical contraceptive creams (which are used for killing sperms), instead as your husband to use condom. (Or consider having a baby, if you are planning for too long).
Use cotton undergarments which absorb sweat efficiently.
If you have urinary incontinence, a few drops of urine may spill out, leading to itching and infection. If the problem persists, consider using a pad or adults diaper, especially on long journeys.
If you have eczema, consider Ayurvedic treatment for eczema.
If you have vaginitis, consider consulting a doctor for proper treatment. Use Triphala sitz bath (See below)
If you have mental stress, it leads to depleted immunity and opportunistic infections (when the guards are weak, enemy attacks). Consider these stress relief tips.
Drink a cup of yogurt or buttermilk, preferably at night to promote good (friendly) bacteria which keeps yeast infection away.
Consider changing undergarment twice a day.
During menopause, itching may start. Consider diligently following above tips especially during menopause.
Because anal orifice is placed very near to vagina, after defecation wash or wipe the anal region from front to back. (This is to avoid contamination of vaginal region).
If you are experiencing dryness while sexual intercourse, consider using a lubricant such as KY Jelly or Eladi tailam. Or, just ask your doctor for the right one.
Internal Ayurvedic medication in Pruritus vulvae (Yoni kandu) :
Chopachini choorna- It purifies the blood and cleanses the relative channels due to its potent antibacterial effect.
Madhusnuhi rasayana – Helps to restore the health on purification of the body. It is capable to pacify sexually transmitted disease too.
Khadirarishtam – Potent drug to pacify itching due to Kaphahara nature. It also detoxifies blood and skin, hence commonly prescribed in most of the skin disorders.
Haridrakhanda– Haridra (turmeric) being the main drug facilitates the blood purification nature of the other ingredients like Twak(Cinnamomum bark), Ela(Cardamomum) etc
Arogyavardhini Vati – Balances Pitta and Kapha, detoxifies liver and blood, commonly prescribed in skin disorders with itching.
Mahatiktaka kashaya– Well appreciated bitter principle for blood purification.
Gulgulu tiktakam kashayam – Guggulu (Commiphora guggulu) in association with bitter principles scrapes out the phlegm (lekhana property) and contributes in this disease. It is especially useful in severe itching leading to bleeding. This is used in treating abscess, non healing wounds etc.
Triphala guggulu – Potent antibacterial and laxative.
Gandhaka rasayana– Pacifies kapha, acts as blood purifier and decreases itching.
Aragwadharishtha – Laxative, blood purifier and wound healing agent.
External application useful in Pruritus vulvae (Yoni kandu):
Gandhaka malahara – An Ayurvedic ointment with bee wax as base.
Mahatiktaka ghrita – An herbal ghee with bitter principles.
Panchatiktaka ghrita etc
Some simple remedies effective in the treatment of Pruritus vulvae (Yoni kandu):
- If itching is deep:
Take a sitz bath tub like the one here –
Add a tablespoon of Triphala powder (easily available anywhere in the world) to half a bucket of water, heat it for 2 minutes till it becomes lukewarm.
Fill the sitz bath tub with the Triphala water and before bath, for 5 minutes sit in it.After 5 minutes, throw away the Triphala water and start bathing.
If itching is severe, you may consider doing this twice or even thrice a day (not the bathing. I mean you can use the sitz bath with Triphala bath twice or thrice a day).
2. Prepare Khadira water – like I have explained here. Use it for sitz bath.
3. Prepare Triphala Kashaya, like I have explained here and use it for sitz bath.
Equal quantity of Tankana bhasma (Borax powder) and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa) choorna are taken and decoction is prepared by boiling with 16 times water and reducing it to 1/4th.This is used for washing the area 2-3 times a day.
Neem, turmeric, Kutki, Vasa (Leaves of Adathoda vasica) are taken and decoction is prepared. To this decoction fine powder of Tankana bhasma is added and mixed well to attain the consistency of thick paste. This is applied over the lesions of itching. Regular application of this paste gives good result.
Itching in genitalia may be mere a symptom of minor health problem and may pacify with minor treatment. But if it persists for more than a week surely one should consult the physician and take the treatment till the problem is completely solved. Because if any major or systemic disease is underlying immediate attention is mandatory.
Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar.