I recently developed itchy vagina and decided to buy Candid-V Gel off the counter. I had only used for three days of the four prescribed when my menses set in. That meant it had come more than a week earlier and the unusual change was made more worrying when the period only lasted two days. What could have happened? Aline.
Itchy vagina most commonly occurs due to fungal infections. This occurs due to dampness. Dampness can occur due to poor hygiene during menstruation, sexual activity, poor personal hygiene on a daily basis, using nylon undergarments, among others. There may be associated lower abdominal pain with or without discharge. Other pelvic infections as caused by viruses, bacteria or trichominiasis can also cause vaginal itching as one of the manifestation. In case of urinary tract infections, microbes can pass to the vagina, due to the proximity and cause pelvic infection. In older women, it can occur due to dryness of the vagina subsequent to decline in estrogen levels.
Psoriasis is a itchy skin condition which commonly affects back, chest, limbs, among other body parts. Rarely it may affect only the vulva and vagina and may extend till anus. Allergy to some body care product used locally like deodorants, talcum powder, allergy to detergent used for cleaning clothes, may also cause itching locally.
Eczema can occur over genital parts, causing much itching with eruptions.
Problem is Candid-V gel would be useful if itching is due to fungus. But in other conditions it does not help. Rather it can aggravate the condition. Diagnosis of cause of infection can be made by microscopic examination of any discharge if present or simple scraping of affected part.
However, scanty menses (oligomenorrhoea) will not occur due to these infections in a young woman who is otherwise menstruating regularly. Scanty menses episodically can be due to stress. Menses tend to be scanty and irregular in women who are athletes. Hormonal disorders like thyroid, pituitary or adrenal gland disorders can cause oligomenorrhoea. Menses can be absent or scanty if one is breast feeding. It can occur around extremes of life like puberty or menopause. It can also occur due to use of hormonal contraceptives. Women who do crash dieting can develop scanty periods after body weight falls below a certain level. Disorders of the ovary like polycystic ovarian syndrome have scanty menstruation as one of its manifestations along with increased hair growth over body parts.
If this is the first time to have scanty menses, there is nothing to worry. However, if it recurs regularly, it is advisable to get examined by a gynaecologist, do suitable investigations to find the cause and take suitable treatment.
There are several herbal treatments which help to regulate menses, like use of fresh ginger tea, sesame seeds, raw papaya, etc.
Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital