1:19 pm - 07/19/2008

pubic itch

So I've had this problem for quite some time, but I finally got sick enough of if to post and see if anyone has any ideas.  I checked the memories, but nothing was quite right.

My pubic hair area is really itchy.  Like REALLY itchy.  Almost all of the time.  This has been going on for a little over a year; it started well before I had sexual contact with anyone, so I'm absolutely positive it's not an STD.  It's only where my pubic hair grows, too -- all over my mound, some on my outer labia, and at the tops of my thighs.  I use a little hydrocortisone cream, which helps a little, but I'm reluctant to use much because overuse of hc can make itching worse, and I'm on HBC, which increases the effects of hc.  Basically I only use the cream when the itching is unbearable.

I used to shave occasionally, and did a few times after this condition appeared.  I've since stopped, since my gyno said it could have been a trigger.

It is sometimes unbearably itchy, and I can't help but scratch, especially at night or when I've been sweating.  The skin is sort of sensitive in some places, and in others it's kinda bumpy (and I also sometimes get zits, so I know the difference).  Sometimes after I scratch it badly it oozes a little clear fluid, which then crusts over and gets itchy again!  I also frequently scratch until it bleeds, and then the scabs itch.  It's a horrible, horrible cycle that I haven't been able to break.

As far as everything else down there, it's totally normal.  I've never had a yeastie, UTI, or STD, and all my discharge and everything is normal.  The only problem is horrible itching anywhere the hair grows.

As I said, I'm 100% certain it's not communicable (got it before I had any exposure, and my boyfriend has been in contact with the area for months and has absolutely no symptoms).  It also sort of has phases (better, ok, worse), unrelated to my menstruation.  My gyno thought maybe it was just irritated follicles, and to try to leave it alone and wash with antibacterial soap, then rinse thorougly.  This helps in the short run, but not the long.  I've also started sleeping (bottom half) naked, which keeps it dry and helps some.  It's not an allergy, because I was using the same hypoallergenic laundry soap for years before it started.

I've looked up pictures of eczema, and it looks very similar and the onset seems kinda maybe right -- sudden unexplained itchy spots, helped by creams but not cured.  Could this be it?  Anyone else have a similar problem?  It's embarrassing and uncomfortable and I'd appreciate any help or commiseration you all could give.

**edited to be gender non-specific ;)

**Edited 7/26/08**
Thanks so much for all the comments!  I switched to using antibacterial Cetaphil (since I still have some small lesions from scratching, and I want to prevent acne), which is SLS-free, and will soon be switching to an SLS-free shampoo also.   I have also been using sensitive-skin lotion and occasionally the kind with menthol, and it's wonderful!  I'm so close to breaking the itch cycle and my pubes have never been happier (well, since this started ;) ).

I love all of you, VP-ers!
moonbunni 19th-Jul-2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Well, if your gyno can't figure out what it is, I'd see a dermatologist.

As far as eczema.... Oatmeal is commonly used in eczema treatment, like most over the counter stuff, and since you can put it in your baths (I used to have to as a kid for eczema) you could try submerging yourself in that. I don't know how safe any of the other treatments are to use in the vaginal region. ^^;
moonbunni 19th-Jul-2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Er, try submerging yourself in an oatmeal bath, not submerging yourself in oatmeal... Although you could try that as well I suppose. o_o
ascetique hope this helps!19th-Jul-2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
i went through exactly the same thing--itching, irritation, etc. it drove me insane. i thought i'd contracted something--well, really, i didn't know what to think. turns out that i've got eczema, and the eczema likes to target that place at times.

my mom has eczema too (way worse than me, poor her) and she says that lotion is all that keeps her sane. so i stocked up on some nice lotions that she recommended: lubriderm sensitive skin therapy moisturizing lotion (for sensitive dry skin) for everyday usage and when it's a little worse than normal, and aveeno skin relief moisturizing lotion with cooling menthol--now, this stuff is what i use when it's driving me up the wall, because it has menthol in it and it basically soothes on contact and has a nice cool feel to it. just moisturize with this stuff every day and put some on when it's being particularly bothersome--that has helped me considerably.

some other things i have done to manage the problem are stop putting a shaving implement anywhere near that area (instead i just trim neatly, this is helpful to the problem also) and do not use soap at all--you should be able to get yourself clean without water, and it might be just me, but antibacterial soap sounds like it'd be really harsh. soaps generally have things in them that cause the soap to lather and foam, and i've found in extensive research that the chemicals that make it lather and foam--you guessed it--are skin irritants, especially to people with eczema. the same thing with shampoos, even shampoos that are medicated for flaking scalps and stuff--they still have major skin irritants. not sure if you have this problem anywhere else besides the special parts, but if so, you might want to check your shampoo bottles, etc., for ingredients that have "laureth/laurel sulfate" in the name.

good luck!
ladymac111 Re: hope this helps!19th-Jul-2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
I think you are my new favorite person :) I am FOR SURE trying out the lotions you recommend, and menthol sounds like just the ticket.

I was wary about the AB soap, but since a gyno suggested it, I figured it was worth a try. The kind I have is the "gentle" formula, but I'm going to be on the lookout for laureth/laurel sulfate in the future. It hasn't made anything worse, at any rate.
forgetapril 19th-Jul-2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
A bit of a personal question, but do you trim your pubic hair?
I find when mine is kept short, it's less irritating than when I let it grow out a bit. It's like when it's longer, underpants tug at the hairs, making them uncomfortable (either sore or itchy.)
cfoxrun 19th-Jul-2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
same here, when it is short, no itching, but when it grows, i guess it rubs my undies or something and gets terribly itchy.
ladymac111 19th-Jul-2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
hm, i'll give it a try
pixxidust116 Eczema poster!19th-Jul-2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
Hello there! I actually have eczema all over my body-- boy to I feel you. Just some quick facts: it loves warm, moist places. I've used hydrocortizone for years, and sometimes it just makes the situation worse as it gets sticky and moist.

When I have a break-out all over my body, I generally take a warm Aveeno bath. In addition, you should check your soap and makeup products for for lanolin-- it's a serious trigger. Also, see if cutting out scented items (THIS INCLUDES PADS/TAMPONS) has an effect. Put on a cold compress and see if that helps.

I can't really think of anything else.... I just wish you the best!
ladymac111 Re: Eczema poster!19th-Jul-2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
This definitely sounds like eczema, then! Cold water (such as in the shower) makes it feel a lot better. I stopped using pads and tampons a few months ago, and that has helped in that specific area.

Thanks for your comment :)
photocopyme 19th-Jul-2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
This explains a lot of what I've been suffering! I was pretty concerned that I'd contracted something, too, but lots of research and consulting with a gyno proved that it wasn't something I'd contracted. This is the only thing that makes sense. I too get the little bumps, and the occassional pubic zit, and can also tell the difference.

However, mine always itches way less when I shave the itching area. Sweating makes it worse no matter what, however, I think I've developed an allergy of some kind to my sweat because I itch all over very unbearably when I sweat enough.

I'm definitely going to try the lotions that ascetique suggested to see if it helps me. If not, I shall look into something else.
ladymac111 19th-Jul-2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely trying them, too. Can you say "Hello relief, will you be my friend?"

Back when I shaved it seemed to make it better too, possibly because then moisture wouldn't get trapped as easily.
pygmybugs 19th-Jul-2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
Sounds a lot like eczema, which I have in spades. Although, thankfully, not in my nether regions. It seems like, from your description, that you're kind of a sensitive, allergy-prone person (as am I). My eczema got a lot better once I found the right meds to help control my allergies (Singulair and Zyrtec), and did my best to make sure there were the least amount of allergens in my environment (no cats, nothing scented or artificially colored, keep the house clean so mold and dust mites are at a minimum, et cetera). Also, once I took dairy, sulfites and nightshades out of my diet, my allergies and eczema got a lot better, too.

There are a couple of non-steroidal topical creams for eczema, but besides being stupidly expensive, they didn't really do much for me, and were kinda burny and unpleasant. Plus, I dunno if they'd be safe for your pubic area.

Aveeno products seem to do me pretty good. Their sensitive body wash, oatmeal bath and lotions do me well. I second the laureth/lauryl sulfate thing. It's damned hard to find personal care products without them in there, but the less I use, the better my skin feels. Even your shampoo suds can trickle down while you're rinsing and irritate eczema breakout areas. (For example, if I haven't taken my allergy meds, you can see bright red trails all over my body where shampoo suds run. Even if I rinse very well.)
ladymac111 19th-Jul-2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
ah, allergies .. I have seasonal and animal allergies, and I'm sensitive to nickel (e.g. stainless steel earrings). I'll try taking my Claritin regularly and see if that helps it -- usually I only take it if I'm having trouble breathing. Also I might see if benadryl helps, though it makes me sleepy so it's not a good general-use thing.. maybe at night.
righteousbean 19th-Jul-2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
If you've ruled out everything else, it may be eczema. When I was younger I used to get it on the inside on my wrists and the creases of the inside of my elbows, same with knees. It likes moist and warms spots. I feel for you, maybe you could see a dermatologist, but speak to your gyno again about it and see if maybe she can prescribe something?
ladymac111 19th-Jul-2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
I actually do have a dermatologist, because I have some suspicious moles. Next time I go in to see him maybe I'll have him take a little look -- it's on my upper legs too so I wouldn't have to show him all of my stuff XD
lil_tree_frog 19th-Jul-2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
i used to get the same thing, i have very sensitive skin...

to treat, i use an electric hair trimmer (like for beards), and keep it all trimmed at about 1/2 inch and i wash twice daily with a gentle soap, goats milk, or something like that... i'm a redhead, so the my skin and i do battle constantly

usually dryness or i'm a little sweaty and break out, it sucks, but i manage
frolicnaked 20th-Jul-2008 02:39 am (UTC)
I'm glad folks have been able to answer your questions. I know not so much about eczema, as all of my pubic itchies have turned out to be either YIs or allergic reactions (thank you latex condoms and Tide laundry detergent). Since it doesn't sound like it's among the most usual of culprits, seeing a dermatologist about your situation might be the best way to go.

But just as a thought on your last line -- There are definitely more than "ladies" in VP, and many people who don't identify as such could probably still give out good info (and commiseration!) with respect to your questions. :)
ladymac111 20th-Jul-2008 02:59 am (UTC)
ah, thanks -- i debated about that, and have gone back to my first instinct. as usual, it was right ;)
leia149 20th-Jul-2008 03:05 am (UTC)
I wanted to add another soap that may be worth trying. Satin soap, it is found at better piercing shops. It is anti-microbial, so like any soap keep it just to the pubic hair. But it is mostly made for old people with sensitive skin, and has a lot of skin conditioning agents. It smells sort of like old people though.
moonbunni 20th-Jul-2008 04:20 am (UTC)
....You know, I can imagine how funny that would be in bed.

"...Your vagina smells like old people. D: "
lady_borg 20th-Jul-2008 04:16 am (UTC)
I have exzema, not down there but dont use parabens, alcohols and SLS down there at all. And a lot of products have them. Go to a natural store and find something trust me...they work.

Also...a tip I used when I had an unbearable itch is a full wax. Whether you are opposed to it or not it can rid the irritation of the hairs. Shaving is sometimes too rough for certain people and it can irritate things further, jsut remember if you do it take and probitoic or a immune booster just in case.
In fact a probitoic would probs be a good idea. jsut to get rid of any bacteria causing harm.
beekathy 23rd-Jul-2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
does your pubic area has flakes? you know, like dundruff...not that flaky, but has flakes. like dry skin flakes? thats what i have, & it's really itchy. i was wondering if you have them too.
ladymac111 26th-Jul-2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
sometimes it flakes after I've scratched it raw. I don't think I have what you're describing, but I have heard of it before.
stellapr Seven years later23rd-Jun-2015 02:34 pm (UTC)
I do not even know if you are still part of this journal, but I would like to find out if you have ever come across something that helped you with this problem? I am suffering from this for 16 years now, and it is just getting worse.
ladymac111 Re: Seven years later23rd-Jun-2015 11:44 pm (UTC)
I'm still here, and I actually finally got it cleared up once and for all a couple years back. I went to a dermatologist and it turned out to be a fungal infection, so I got a steroid antifungal cream and it was gone in a month. I only wish I'd gone to a doctor with it right away.
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