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Vaginitis In Children


What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is an inflammation or infection of your child's vagina. The most common causes are bacteria, a virus, or fungus. Chemicals in bubble baths, soaps, or perfumes can also cause vaginitis. Your child may also develop vaginitis from a foreign object in her vagina. An example is rolled up toilet paper left over from wiping.

What are the signs and symptoms of vaginitis?

  • Pain, itching, redness, burning, or swelling in your child's vagina
  • An odor from your child's vagina that may be foul or smell like fish
  • Thick, curd-like discharge
  • Thin, gray-white discharge
  • Small skin tears or chafing
  • Pain when your child urinates

What increases my child's risk for vaginitis?

  • Diabetes mellitus that is not controlled
  • Antibiotics
  • A weakened immune system
  • High estrogen levels, such as during pregnancy or from birth control pills
  • Sexual abuse
  • Incorrect care of the vagina, such as not wiping from front to back

How is vaginitis diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's signs and symptoms and examine her. A sample of discharge from your child's vagina will also be tested for infection.

How is vaginitis treated?

  • Antifungals are used to treat a fungal infection. They are usually given as a cream or gel.
  • Antibiotics are used to fight an infection caused by bacteria.

How can I help my child manage vaginitis?

  • Have your child use a sitz bath to ease her symptoms. A sitz bath is a portable tub that fits into the toilet basin. She can also soak in a bathtub that has 4 to 6 inches of warm water. Have your child stay in the sitz bath or tub for 15 to 20 minutes. Ask her healthcare provider how often to do this.
  • Do not let your child use irritating products in her vagina. Examples include bubble baths and perfumed soaps. The vagina is delicate and easily irritated.
  • Do not let your child wear tight-fitting clothes or undergarments. These can make her symptoms worse.

How can I help my child prevent vaginitis?

  • Have your child wash her vagina each day. Use mild soap and warm water. Help your younger child if needed. The area should be gently dried or left to air dry after washing.
  • Teach your child to wipe from front to back after she urinates or has a bowel movement. This will prevent germs from getting into your child's vagina.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child has unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • Your child has severe abdominal pain.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has abdominal pain.
  • Your child's symptoms get worse, even after treatment.
  • Your child's symptoms return after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.