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Vulvovaginitis In Children


Vulvovaginitis is an infection of the vulva (outer genitals) and vagina. It is common in girls who have not reached puberty. Before puberty, girls do not have pubic hair to prevent germs from entering the vaginal area. Your daughter may have itching, burning, redness, swelling, or rash on her vulva or in her vagina. There may also be a discharge, bleeding, and an odor.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your daughter has a fever.
  • Your daughter's vagina begins to bleed or has a bloody discharge.

Contact your daughter's healthcare provider if:

  • Her symptoms get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about her condition or care.

Follow up with your daughter's healthcare provider as directed:

Your daughter may need to see a pediatric gynecologist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during her visits.

Manage your daughter's symptoms:

Help your daughter do the following:

  • Soak in clean, warm bath water for 15 minutes at least twice a day. This will help clean the area. Do not add any bubble bath or shampoo to the water. Pat the area dry. Do not rub.
  • Do not use scented, deodorant, or antibacterial soaps, washes, or powders. These change the natural pH of your daughter's vagina and can cause irritation.
  • Apply barriers to the area. Examples include diaper rash ointment or petroleum jelly. This will decrease pain when she urinates.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods to prevent constipation. Constipation can make symptoms worse. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if your daughter needs to be on a special diet.

Prevent vulvovaginitis:

Have your daughter do the following:

  • Bathe daily. Use a mild soap and pat the area dry.
  • Clean the vaginal area properly. Wipe from front to back after she urinates or has a bowel movement. Wash the area after a bowel movement, if necessary. Pat the area dry after cleaning.
  • Wear cotton underwear during the day. Cotton allows air to flow to the area and pulls away moisture. Do not wear any underwear at night.
  • Do not wear tight pants, swim suits, or leotards for long periods of time. Tight clothes can rub and irritate her genital area.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Your daughter's risk increases if she is overweight. Ask her healthcare provider how much she should weigh. Ask him to help create a weight loss plan if she is overweight.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.