Vulvovaginitis is inflammation (redness, warmth, pain, and swelling) involving both the external female genitalia (vulva) and the vagina. In prepubertal girls, the symptoms consist of burning with urination, vulvar pain or itching, and vaginal discharge. Redness of the skin in the area may or may not be present. Vulvar inflammation is frequently caused by poor hygiene, chronic abrasions from friction, contact with play equipment, or prolonged sitting in sand boxes. A chemical irritation may arise from the use of harsh soaps or bubble baths, leading to similar symptoms.
To minimize the chance of developing Vulvovaginitis:
- Bathe daily. Wash the genitalia with a soft cloth using a mild soap, and then pat the skin dry or air dry if possible.
- Avoid playing in soapy bath water for prolonged periods of time. Wash and shampoo just prior to finishing the bath.
- Avoid the following:
- Bubble baths
- Nylon underwear
- Tight fitting clothing, especially in hot weather and in overweight girls
- Wearing tights or panty hose over underwear
- Wearing underwear to bed
- Prolonged exposure to wet bathing suits
- Perfumed products
- Wipe from front to back. Throw away the toilet tissue after one wipe. It may be helpful to use a diaper wipe for a “final cleaning” of the genital and rectal areas.
- Have your daughter wear white cotton underpants and loose fitting clothing.
The treatment for Vulvovaginitis involves:
- Keeping the area clean and dry
- Applying a non-perfumed powder to the area, such as a cornstarch powder
- Using vinegar sitz baths. Put ½ cup of white vinegar into the bathtub. Add enough water to cover your daughter’s hips. Let her soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this two to four times a day for up to a week.
- Applying 1% hydrocortisone cream (Cortaid®, Cortizone-10®) four times a day for approximately 4 to 5 days.
If you do not notice improvement within a week, call the office for further instructions.