My boyfriend and i have vaginal sex and i just ended my period yesterday, and we had sex. I showered and cleaned my vagina right after, but when i woke up this morning my vagina was irritated and still is. We had sex today, and the same thing happened (irritation and some itchiness) I took pills for a yeast infection i had last week and it helped it go away. I use Ivory soap, and we use spermicial lubricated condoms (Trojan) could my vagina be irritated due to those things? Please help me figure this out.

Vaginitis – the fancy name for irritation of the vulva or vagina – can be caused by any of the things you mentioned. But everyone’s body reacts differently to different things, so it might not be clear right away what the source of the problem is.

It’s possible you still have that yeast infection, or just some lingering irritation from it, or it could even be a whole new yeast infection. Sometimes sexual intercourse can throw off your vagina’s natural balance and cause yeast to overgrow.  Sex could also make irritation from a yeast infection worse, or make it take a bit longer to clear up.

The spermicide in the lubrication on your condoms could also be the problem. Spermicidal condoms don’t actually provide any more pregnancy protection than condoms with regular lube, so you might want to consider switching to condoms with a different type of lubricant. You may also be allergic to the latex in most condoms. This is less likely, but if different types of latex condoms cause the same irritation, try condoms made from non-latex materials, like polyurethane or polyisoprene. You can also try the female condom, which is made from nitrile, a synthetic rubber.

Perfumed soap and other personal care products can cause vaginitis as well. Stay away from scented tampons and pads, and don’t use vaginal “deodorants.” And whatever you do, don’t douche. The vagina is self-cleaning, so there’s no need to “wash it out,” even after sex. Using water and a mild soap (Ivory, like you mentioned, is fine) to clean your vulva (the outside parts of your genitals) is all that’s needed.

No matter what’s causing it, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or visit a Planned Parenthood health center. They can best help you get to the bottom of this.

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood