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Vulvovaginitis in children: parent information

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What is it?
Inflammation or irritation of the vagina and vulva (the opening of the vagina).

Your child may have redness, irritation, itching and sometimes there may be a discharge. The colour of the discharge may range from clear to yellow or green or even faintly brown. There may be discomfort when passing urine.

Usual causes

  • Lack of the female hormone (oestrogen) in young girls. This will correct itself when your child starts producing oestrogen at the onset of puberty.
  • Threadworms can often cause severe itching or irritation, especially at night. Your doctor may prescribe treatment for all the family.
  • In some cases the symptoms may be caused by an infection. Your child may need swab tests to rule out this possibility. They are usually carried out at the time of the examination. The swabs we use are very fine and cause little discomfort.
  • Eczema may cause the skin to be more sensitive than normal. This can lead to irritation by common things like bubble baths, soaps and washing powders.
Editorial Information

Author(s): Department of Dermatology, Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow