Period Guide

MG Asks: Why Does Your Vagina Itch Right Before Your Period?

vagina depressed

You know the drill. It’s the week before you’re supposed to get your period (for me it happens about three days prior), and suddenly your vagina is screaming “red alert,” itching like crazy! What gives?

It comes down to vaginal pH levels. A healthy pH level for the vagina is about 3.5-4.5 – slightly acidic. Right before your period, your pH plummets. This is because your estrogen levels have gone up, which has caused an increase in sugar in the vaginal tissue, which has made your vagina even more acidic. And as it turns out, yeast looooves acid. So you might have a slight (or not-so-slight!) yeast infection.

And if you’re itchy during your period? Again, it’s about pH levels. The pH of blood is 7.34 to 7.45, much higher than the pH of a healthy vagina. So the presence of blood can make your vagina not acidic enough, or too alkaline, which can lead to Bacterial Vaginosis. Ditto heterosexual intercourse; the average pH of semen is 7.2 to 7.8. And if you treat BV with antibiotics, that can lead right back to yeast infection, which is just so much fun!

So what can you do about it? Well, you want to keep a good balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your vagina; too little “good” bacteria and you get yeast infections, too much “bad” bacteria and you get BV. Probiotics are your friend, whether in pill form, via vaginal suppositories, or through your diet. Full-fat Greek yogurt and probiotic-rich veggie powder are my weapons of choice (and they help with digestion, too!).

You also, paradoxically, might NOT want to wash downstairs in the shower. Soaps have a pH of 9-10, and water has a pH of 7, so again, it throws off your pH balance. Your vagina is like a self-cleaning oven; let it do its thing! If you really don’t feel comfortable skipping the washing altogether, at least make sure you’re using a non-scented soap.

Revel in full-coverage cotton underwear that’s not too tight. Your honey badger needs to breathe; synthetic fabrics and thongs seal in all your moisture, and yeast is a big fan of moisture.

Lastly, take care of yourself. The stronger your immune system is, the easier it’ll be to fight off infections.
Good luck!

  • Reply
    Rasha Alhadi
    June 12, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Why this is not happen to all women?

    • Reply
      Monthly Gift
      June 13, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Rasha! Each person’s body responds uniquely to various stimuli. The main reason someone might be experiencing itching during their period is because of vaginal pH changes caused by hormones. To help, keep your vagina clean and regularly change your pad or tampon. As infections can also cause itching, consult a doctor if the issue persists. xx

  • Reply
    7 Weird Things That Can Make Your Vagina Itchy - Fashion, Beauty, Sex, Entertainment News for Teens | Maiden Girls
    July 4, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    […] leading up to it, you might feel super itchy down there. That’s because of the shift in your pH balance which can make your vag super itchy before and during your monthly […]

  • Reply
    Netta
    January 14, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Thanks so much for making this an easy way to digest what is going on with our vagina’s. I have no woman I am comfortable with in my life right now to ask this question to and my dad certainly wouldn’t know what’s going on so this is really helpful to me.

    • Reply
      Monthly Gift
      January 15, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      We’re so happy to help. It’s easy to feel alone with issues like these, but they are incredibly common and talking about them is key. We’re always here for you: to listen, to talk, whatever you need. Xx

  • Reply
    Jacqui
    March 6, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I am 50 and have been getting irritation each month for a few months now, always just as my period ends….is it likely to be a ph imbalance then or a hormone thing? I do not have any other signs of menopause….
    I have tried canesten without much improvement, it usually clears itself after a few days, been debating a gp appointment, but keep putting it off.

    • Reply
      Monthly Gift
      March 7, 2018 at 11:37 pm

      Hi Jacqui, We always suggest speaking with your gynecologist or GP as each situation is unique. Explain your situation thoroughly and together you’ll figure out what’s going on and find the best solution for you. Xx

      • Reply
        Tori
        March 9, 2018 at 5:45 am

        Jacqui, 43 here and for the past 12 months I’ve had a new thing going with thrush symptoms and severe vulval itching which is ironically ‘relieved’ when my periods arrive. My month has turned into an itch week then bleed week then sex week then waiting for the itch week! On rotation.
        I’ve visited different GPs, ran bloods for hormone levels you name it. I try desperately avoid sugar/carb cravings as best I can. I have a PH wash that I use 3 to 4 times a week and I don’t use soap on my box – but I do get up in there with clean fingers and remove intruding gunk if it is driving me insane. It relieves some of the intensity. Otherwise I figure this is just my body moving toward the menstrual end of days. I say hurry up already!

        • Reply
          Monthly Gift
          March 9, 2018 at 2:46 pm

          Tori, Thanks for sharing your story and your support! It’s crucial that we have these conversations so people know they’re not alone in their experiences. Xx

        • Reply
          Cyndi
          July 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm

          Oh my goodness!!! Thank you for this conversation! I am exactly the same with the week before and the “relief ” half way through my period. I was wondering if I needed to treat it or not because the are times it’s just unbearable. I’m 52 so hoping the end of periods comes soon!!

  • Reply
    Mary
    May 31, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Hi I am 16 years old and I have been experiencing this itching for about 2 years now. I did try going to an OBGYN and the doctor gave me a cream, but it didn’t help. She said she needed more information about it, but I was too shy and I didn’t know how to explain it. The itching really makes me uncomfortable specially when its almost time for my period. So I find this really helpful, but Is it normal for someone in my age to experience this? And I don’t know if its a yeast infection or a bacterial vaginosis.

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