Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Vulvovaginitis

What is it?

Vulvovaginitis is a condition that affects the vagina or the outer genital area (the vulva). A young girl with vulvovaginitis may experience redness, soreness, burning, itching, or vaginal discharge.

What causes vulvovaginitis?

There are many possible causes of vulvovaginitis. The most common are:

  • Irritation of the genital area, due to harsh soaps, detergents, chemicals (chlorine, bubble bath), poor hygiene practices and tight clothing.
  • Infections, for example with bacteria such as strep
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

It is important to be examined by a health care provider who can find out the cause of the problem.

Prevention and treatment

1. Teach good hygiene

  • Wash hands before and after toileting.
  • Wipe from front to back after urinating - consider toilet paper wipes or damp gauze.
  • Urinate with knees spread apart and stay seated on the toilet until finished urinating to allow all the urine to come out.
  • Take a bath (not a shower) every day. Soak in a frog-leg position in a tub of plain water for 10-15 minutes daily.
  • Avoid constipation.
  • Wash the genital area very gently during a bath, using a mild bar soap such as DoveŽ and make sure to wash between the folds (labia). Rinse well after a bath with clear water.

2. Avoid irritation

  • Wear white cotton underwear and avoid wearing underwear at night.
  • Avoid harsh laundry detergents and bleach, and make sure underwear is rinsed thoroughly. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
  • Do not use bubble bath or add anything else to bath water unless prescribed by your provider.
  • Use a mild, hypoallergenic bar soap, such as DoveŽ. Avoid deodorant soaps.
  • Avoid tight jeans or pants, pantyhose, and tights.
  • Avoid sitting in a wet bathing suit after swimming – rinse off after swimming and change as soon as possible into dry clothing.
  • Make sure all soap is washed off after bathing, and do not allow a bar of soap to float around in the bathtub.

Call the office if:

  • Your child’s symptoms are not getting better.
  • You notice vaginal bleeding.
  • Your child has pain or burning when urinating and urinating more often.
  • You have other concerns or questions.
  • Symptoms return.

After treatment:

  • Come to the follow-up appointment, even if the symptoms are better. We want to be sure you are better.
  • Continue baths including Phisohex, and focus on hygiene.