Itching, redness, and dry skin; if you have experienced a rash on your body, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the uncomfortable symptoms that can sometimes come along with it. And while spotting a rash on any area of the body can be pretty distressing, a vaginal rash, in particular, can bring with it a whole host of questions, concerns, and general discomfort.
First things first, it’s important to know that vaginal rashes aren’t entirely uncommon and when they do occur, it’s typically caused by something as simple as a change in body lotion or even a new laundry detergent. Still, there are other common causes that may require a check-in with your doctor and a short course of treatment that are important to know more about.
These are just some of the common causes of vaginal rash to know:
- Contact Dermatitis
- Genital Herpes
- Yeast Infection
Related article: 9 Surprising Facts About STDs
What causes a vaginal rash?
There are a number of potential causes behind a vaginal rash and while some may require a check-up with your doctor, others can potentially be treated and eased from home. The most important thing? Don’t ignore it!
One of the most common causes of a vaginal rash is contact dermatitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, this causes a red, itchy rash and can be a result of direct contact with a substance that might cause irritation or a reaction. This might be from shaving or waxing, or it could be from a new soap, detergent, or lotion.
The good news is that this type of rash typically clears up itself within a few weeks. If it’s extremely irritating and itchy, you can try a cool wet compress to ease the symptoms. And if the rash is severe or painful, it’s important to check in with your doctor.
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) with estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting that around one out of every six people between the ages of 14-49 have genital herpes, which is known to be more common in women than men .
If you notice small bumps or white blisters alongside a painful and itchy vaginal rash, it might be a sign of genital herpes. Other indicators include flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches or a fever.
Although herpes can’t be cured, the right treatment can help control outbreaks while is why regular testing is crucial! Make sure to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Syphilis is an STI that can affect just about anyone who is sexually active and has unprotected sex. And although men account for the majority of cases across the U.S, it can occur in women and it can cause a range of complications if it goes unnoticed and untreated.
The symptoms of syphilis vary by stage, during the primary stage, you might notice a sore or multiple sores where the infection entered the body. In the secondary stage, it’s common to notice skin rashes or lesions on different parts of the body.
With the right treatment, syphilis can be cured which is why it’s important to regularly check in on your sexual health and speak with your doctor if you feel like something isn’t right.
Related article: How At-Home STD Tests Can Make Sex Safer in 2021
Yeast infections are a bacterial infection that is so common that nearly every woman will experience one during their lifetime. As a matter of fact, according to Mayo Clinic, yeast infections affect about 3 out of every 4 women at some point in their life . However, there are certain risk factors that might increase your risk of contracting one, these include taking antibiotics, high estrogen levels, uncontrolled diabetes, and an impaired immune system.
As well as a vaginal rash, yeast infection symptoms can include a burning sensation when urinating, redness or swelling of the vulva, vaginal discharge, and redness or swelling in the vagina and vulva.
Over-the-counter antifungal medication will typically clear up a yeast infection within a few days. If this doesn’t relieve your symptoms, you develop other symptoms or you’re just not sure if you have a yeast infection; reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance.
According to the CDC, bacterial vaginosis (BV) is actually one of the most common vaginal conditions in women between the ages of 15 and 44. While researchers still aren’t entirely sure about the cause of BV, it is linked to an imbalance of certain bacteria that are naturally present in the vagina. Although it is mostly seen in women who are sexually active however it can occur in those who aren’t.
BV causes a host of symptoms including itching around the outside of the vagina, burning when urinating, or a thin, white, or gray discharge.
When should you go to the doctor for a rash?
If you are experiencing unusual discomfort in the vagina or you suspect that the vaginal rash is a result of something a little more serious than a change in lotion, it’s important to find out more. Plus, if you have any concerns whatsoever or you simply feel as if something doesn’t feel right, a visit to your doctor will help put your mind at ease.
You should especially book in for a check-up if:
- You’re experiencing an unpleasant odor and/or discharge
- You have had unprotected sex or have a new sexual partner
- Your rash is accompanied by fever, chills, or pain in the pelvic area
Related article: What Happens When You Leave an STD Unchecked?
One of the most reliable ways to know more about your sexual health is through regular sexual screening. This can be done with your local doctor or, if you would prefer, you can test from the comfort of home with LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home STI Tests.
LetsGetChecked’s range of tests checks for some of the most common STDs; including herpes and syphilis which can potentially be a cause of a genital rash. The test will arrive in discreet packaging with a return envelope and clear instructions inside. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
You should consider taking a test if:
- You become sexually active
- You have had unprotected sex
- You are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
- You are entering into a new sexual relationship
- You have received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected (STIs can remain dormant for years and/ or take up to three weeks to become detectable.)