Vaginal itching can occur for a variety of reasons and most women report experiencing itchy genitals at least once in their lives. While there are numerous topical creams and over-the-counter medications to ease vaginal itching, baking soda baths are frequently recommended as an inexpensive treatment option.
But do baking soda baths really work for vaginal itching?
Read on to learn all about the causes of vaginal itching, if baking soda baths help, and additional natural remedies that can provide relief.
What Can Cause the Vaginal Area to Itch
Depending on your age, hygiene habits, and general health, the cause of vaginal itching can vary from woman to woman.
Vaginal infections such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and bacterial vaginosis are common causes of genital itching, as are sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause are also responsible for vaginal itching, as well as diabetes, skin conditions like eczema, lichen sclerosus, or psoriasis, and allergic reactions to soaps or detergents.
Where Baking Soda Comes In
Also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is an alkaline chemical compound with a pH level of 9. (Baking soda is not the same as baking powder, which is a combination of baking soda, corn starch, and cream of tartare.)
Although it is mainly used for baking and cleaning, baking soda is also recommended as a natural remedy to soothe irritated skin, including vaginal and vulvar itching.
Do Baking Soda Baths Really Help Relieve Vaginal Itching?
Yes, when used correctly, the anti-inflammatory properties in baking soda are known to significantly relieve itching, as well as reduce swelling and redness.
As a precaution, it is important to understand that because it is alkaline, baking soda could increase the skin’s pH levels and lead to dryness or further irritation if used incorrectly.
However, when the appropriate amount is dissolved in water, the skin can absorb baking soda to soothe irritation and restore the skin’s natural pH balance.
Do Baking Soda Baths Cure Vaginal Infections?
It is important to understand that while baking soda can relieve vaginal itching, it will not treat underlying infections like urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, or sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis – all of which require antibiotic medication as treatment.
That said, baking soda has been proven as an effective and affordable way of treating and curing yeast infections in addition to alleviating symptoms like vaginal itching, burning during urination, and inflammation.
Baking Soda for Yeast Infections
Recent studies have shown that when dissolved in water, baking soda is capable of killing the bacteria that cause yeast overgrowth in the vagina. This is mainly due to the environment that the alkaline solution creates, which essentially prevents any further growth of the fungus.
Furthermore, the correct amount of baking soda keeps the skin adequately dry and dehydrates harmful bacteria, thereby eliminating the moist atmosphere in which candida cells are known to thrive.
Lastly, when baking soda is dissolved in water it works to rebalance and maintain a healthy pH level in the vagina, which encourages good bacteria to grow and keeps harmful microorganisms at bay.
Due to these antifungal properties of baking soda, many women’s health practitioners now recommend that women who are prone to yeast infections incorporate at least one baking soda bath into their weekly routine to promote vaginal health and keep future infections at bay.
Other Natural Remedies for Vaginal Itching
In addition to soaking in baking soda baths to relieve vaginal itching associated with genital infections, other natural remedies include taking probiotics and a natural supplement for women’s health called Boric Acid.
It is widely recognized that probiotics improve gut health and aid in digestion, however, studies have also confirmed that a daily probiotic can help women to re-balance pH levels when an infection sets in.
Additionally, a daily probiotic helps to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome and keep future infections at bay. Here at Intimate Rose, we’ve added cranberry and D-Mannose to our Flora Bloom Feminine Probiotics which make it even more difficult for infections to set in.
Boric acid has been used as a natural remedy for female health for over a century. These days, Boric Acid Suppositories are widely recommended by female health experts as an accompaniment to the prescribed antibiotic treatment for vaginal infections like BV, UTIs, and STIs.
In addition to relieving symptoms like itching, burning, and swelling, boric acid suppositories promote the perfect acid balance in the vagina and help to kill the TV parasite that causes trich, as well as the bacteria behind gonorrhea, chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infections.
How To Prepare a Baking Soda Bath For Vaginal Itching
- Before beginning your baking soda bath, ensure you have 20-40 minutes to relax in the bath and drink 1-2 cups of water to hydrate.
- Run a bath with warm water, add half a cup of baking soda, and move your hand through the water to allow the baking soda to dissolve properly. (According to dermatologists, warm rather than hot encourages relaxation and prevents further irritation to the already sensitive skin.)
- After soaking for 20-40 minutes, move slowly out of the bath to avoid any light-headedness, and rinse your body with fresh water to remove any residue of the baking soda and wash away toxins.
- Then gently pat the genital area dry, avoiding any rubbing with could cause further discomfort.
To relieve vaginal itching, soak in a baking soda bath twice or three times a day until symptoms subside.
Can Baking Soda Baths Be Harmful?
Although baking soda baths are inexpensive and largely effective in relieving vaginal itching for the majority of women, there are some cases where they should be avoided. Anyone experiencing the following is advised to refrain from baking soda baths or consult with their doctor beforehand:
- Women who are allergic to baking soda
- Women with diabetes
- Women with large open wounds anywhere on the body
- Women with heart disease
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Women who are susceptible to fainting & light-headedness
Baking soda is an inexpensive household product that can significantly help to relieve vaginal itching, irritation, and swelling when dissolved in a bath of water.
Although baking soda baths have been proven to treat yeast infections without antibiotics, they can only be relied upon to ease vaginal itching associated with more serious vaginal infections like STIs, UTIs, and BV. To cure these types of infections, antibiotics are always necessary.
As mentioned above, there are some cases where baking soda baths are not recommended so it’s always best to speak with your doctor or a dermatologist before using baking soda baths.
Web MD – Vaginal Itching - https://www.webmd.com/women/vaginal-itching-burning-irritation
National Library of Medicine -Sodium Bicarbonate - https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sodium_bicarbonate#section=Top
National Women’s Health Association – Vaginal Yeast Infections - https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections
World Health Organization – Sexually Transmitted Infections - https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)
National Library of Medicine - BASIC study: is intravaginal boric acid non-inferior to metronidazole in symptomatic bacterial vaginosis? Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4514959/
Springer Link - Lastauskienė E, et al - Formic acid and acetic acid induce programmed cell death in pathogenic Candida species. DOI: - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00284-014-0585-9
Springer Link - Letscher-Bru V, et al - Antifungal activity of sodium bicarbonate against fungal agents causing superficial infections - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11046-012-9583-2
Cleveland Clinic – Boric Acid Vaginal Suppository - https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/19641-boric-acid-vaginal-suppository
Journal of The Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association - The Antimicrobial Effect of Boric Acid on Trichomonas vaginalis - https://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/Fulltext/2014/12000/The_Antimicrobial_Effect_of_Boric_Acid_on.6.aspx