Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Vaginal Irritation and Itching (Chemical Vulvitis)
- Your daughter has pain, soreness, burning, or itching in
- She does not have pain or burning when she urinates.
- She uses bubble bath or bathes in soapy water.
- She has not reached puberty.
Most vaginal itching or discomfort is due to a chemical
irritation of the vulva or outer vagina. The usual
irritants are bubble bath, shampoo, or soap left on the
genital area. Occasionally, it is due to poor hygiene.
This chemical vulvitis almost always occurs before puberty.
At this age, the lining of the vulva is very thin and
sensitive. If the vagina becomes infected, there will be a
EXPECTED COURSE OF CHEMICAL VULVITIS
The discomfort goes away after 1 to 2 days of proper
- Baking soda, warm water soaks
Have your daughter soak her bottom in a basin or bathtub
of warm water for 20 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of
baking soda per tub of warm water. (Note: Baking soda
is better than vinegar soaks for the younger age group).
Be sure she spreads her legs and allows the water to
cleanse the genital area. No soap should be used.
Repeat this every 4 hours while your daughter is awake
for the next 2 days. This will remove any soap,
concentrated urine, or other irritants from the genital
area and promote healing. After the symptoms go away,
cleanse the genital area once a day with warm water.
- Hydrocortisone cream
Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (a nonprescription item)
to the genital area after the soaks.
- Prevention of recurrences
- Don't use bubble bath before puberty because it is
very irritating. Don't put any other soaps or
shampoo into the bath water. Don't let a bar of soap
float around in the bathtub. Wash the genital area
with plain water, not soap. If necessary, use baby
oil to remove secretions from between the labia that
don't come off with water. If you are going to
shampoo your child's hair, do this at the end of the
- Keep the bath time less than 15 minutes. Have your
child urinate immediately after baths.
- Wear cotton underpants. Underpants made of synthetic
fibers (polyester or nylon) don't allow the skin to
"breathe." Discourage wearing underpants during the
night so the genital area has a chance to "air out."
- Teach your daughter to wipe herself correctly from
front to back, especially after a bowel movement.
- Encourage her to drink enough fluids each day to keep
the urine light-colored. Concentrated urine can be
CALL YOUR CHILD'S PHYSICIAN DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:
- The itching is not gone after 48 hours of treatment.
- A vaginal discharge or bleeding occurs.
- Passing urine becomes painful.
- You have other concerns or questions.