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The summer itch

An itch down under that gets aggravated due to the summer can get annoying but there are ways you can breeze through it, writes Shilpi Madan
Last Updated : 18 May 2020, 19:07 IST
Last Updated : 18 May 2020, 19:07 IST

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Are you seething in the heat with sweat and helplessness, struggling to deal with that annoying itch down under? In a situation of limited mobility and guidance due to Covid-19, there is little you can do to alleviate the embarrassing situation.

Cue into what the problem is and how you can get some relief through simple lifestyle changes.

Tissue in a fix

Pruritus vulvae is a technical term that spells itching in the genital region in women. An uncomfortable situation that is greatly heightened with the soaring temperature during summer.

“India is a tropical country and keeping in mind the heat of summer, the increasing levels of humidity in coastal areas, certain heavily marketed aspects like wearing panty liners and using fragrant vaginal washes are simply avoidable,” says Dr Ashima Malik, gynaecologist.

“It is also not necessary to clean yourself every time you relieve yourself of urine. Excessive cleaning can also create dryness.”

Wearing constricted clothing, like skinny jeans or body shapers for a long duration of time, slipping on fragrant sanitary napkins, or tampons, easing into underwear made of synthetic fabrics, drinking less water during the day, swimming in a public pool or even using certain bath salts and soaps that breed allergies, a lack of personal cleanliness, improper removal of pubic hair without moisturising, feature in the list of probable reasons for that uncomfortable itch.

Fix it

Says Dr Vaishali Joshi, gynaecologist with Kolkilaben Ambani hospital, “Constant moisture due to sweat can give rise to wetness that brings in superficial skin infections like taenia. Some women have extremely dry skin which can become dryer in winter or due to lack of hormones, particularly for those in the peri-menopausal age. In this case, moisturising skin with emollients is prescribed,” she says.

“The itch could even be associated with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, and needs to be treated by a dermatologist and a gynaecologist.”

At times it may be the arrival of a vaginal infection or an infection of the skin of the vulva and groin that may cause irritation.

“There are common infections here like thrush or vaginal candidiasis. In this case, there will be curdy white, cheesy, or greenish yellowish discharge with bad odour. There is a possibility that it can be passed on to the male partner and they can both experience itching or rash.

In this case, both will need to be treated,’ says Dr Joshi. “The best solution lies in maintaining a personal cleanliness guide,” advises Dr Malik as a general rule. “Wear cotton underwear of the correct size in keeping with your built, no constricted clothing. Avoid wearing corsets and body shapers for long periods of time. Keep yourself hydrated by increasing your water intake, especially now during summer, and remember to change your clothing after it turns sweaty. A good level of hygiene goes a long way.”

Ban the itch

In post-menopausal women, the itching may be due to extreme dryness. In this case, you can apply coconut oil, after ruling out other pathology. Always remember to stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water, suggests gynaecologist Dr Ashima Malik.

Avoid frequent vaginal washes and washing your vaginal area daily. When doing so, only use water and an intimate soap, which is different from that used for the rest of the body.

Avoid applying harsh soaps, feminine deodorants, and scented creams.

Always clean the vaginal area from front to back after calls of nature.

Always keep the vaginal area dry and change damp clothing as quickly as possible after bathing or exercising.

Use cotton underwear, do not use synthetic fabrics.

Use tampons and sanitary pads properly, changing them frequently and not using them for longer than recommended.

Avoid using overly tight trousers that cause chafing and the accumulation of moisture in the intimate area.

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Published 18 May 2020, 18:54 IST

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