Itching , redness and swelling of the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area (vulva) is a common problem in girls before the age of puberty. Vaginal discharge may also be present and its color, smell and consistency may vary depending on the cause of the problem.
What are the causes of vaginal itching and discharge in children.
Common causes of vaginal itching and discharge in children include the following :
- Chemicals such as perfume and dyes in detergents , fabric softener, creams, ointments and sprays may irritate the vagina or the skin around the vagina.
- Vaginal yeast infection.
- Vaginitis : Vaginitis is common in girls before puberty. However if the child has a sexually transmitted vaginal infection , sexual abuse must be considered and addressed.
- A foreign body such as toilet paper or crayon that a little girl places in her vagina. An infection with discharge may occur if the foreign body is still present in the vagina.
- Pinworms which is a parasitic infection that mainly affects children.
How to deal with vaginal infections in children
Your child should do the following to prevent and treat vaginal infections.
- Avoid colored or perfumed toilet tissue and bubble bath.
- Use plain, unscented soap.
- Limit bath time to 15 minutes or less. Ask your child to urinate right after bath.
- Use only plain water. Do not add baking soda, colloidal oats, oats water or anything to bath water.
- Do not let soap float in bathwater. If you need to shampoo, do it at the end of the bath.
You should also teach your child to keep the genital area clean and dry. She should do the following :