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Pediatric - Vaginal Itching or Irritation

Vaginal itching or irritation

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Does this describe your child's symptoms?

  • Genital area burning or itching in young girls
  • No pain or burning with urination


  • Main cause in young girls: a soap irritation of the vulva or outer vagina (soap vulvitis) from bubble bath, shampoo or other soap

If not, see these topics

When to Call Your Doctor

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Could be from sexual abuse
  • Vaginal bleeding
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Fever is present
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Over age 10 (reason: soap vulvitis is unusual)
  • Vaginal irritation persists on treatment over 2 days
Parent Care at Home If
  • Probable soap vulvitis and you don't think your child needs to be seen

  1. Baking Soda-Warm Water Soaks:  
    • Soak for 20 minutes to remove irritants and to promote healing.
    • Add 2 oz. baking soda per tub of warm water (Reason: Baking soda is better than vinegar for girls not into puberty).
    • During soaks, be sure she spreads her legs and allows the water to cleanse the genital area.
    • Repeat baking soda soaks treatment 4 times per day for 2 days.
  2. Steroid Cream:  Apply small amount of 1% hydrocortisone cream to the genital area after soaks for 1 or 2 days.
  3. Avoid Soaps: Avoid bubble bath, soap and shampoo to the vulva because they are irritants. Only use warm water to cleanse the vulva or baby oil to remove secretions.
  4. Expected Course: If the symptoms are due to soap vulvitis, they should all clear within 1 to 2 days with proper treatment.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Irritation persists on treatment over 48 hours
    • Vaginal discharge or bleeding occurs
    • Passing urine becomes painful
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 1/19/2009

Last Revised: 4/2/2009

Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Online

Copyright 1994-2009 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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