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child with vaginitis

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is presenting with vaginal discharge (dark yellow) and no other symptoms. I am a microbiologist and I performed a urine culture (negative) and a vaginal culture that grew out few non-hem strep
(normal vaginal flora) and many haemophilus influenzae. I took her to the pediatrician this morning with this info and the Dr. only tested her for strep(negative) and informed us not to give bubble baths and apply diaper rash cream. What is your opinion?

Vaginitis or vulvovaginitis is an extremely common issue. I see girls with vaginitis daily in my pediatric practice. Often parents have never heard of it and like you seemed uncertain of the diagnosis.

Most cases of vaginitis occur in potty trained girls usually 3 or 4 years old. Is your 2 1/2 year potty trained? Anything “itis” means “inflammation of”. Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils, while vaginitis is inflammation of the vaginal area. Signs and symptoms of vaginitis include pain with urination, itching, external redness, foul odor and discharge.

Vaginitis is typically the result of poor hygiene especially wiping the wrong way. This back to front wiping moves intestinal bacteria into the vaginal area. Bubble or soapy baths can indirectly cause vaginitis. Sitting in soapy water can remove a girls normal, irritant protective vaginal mucus. Lack of normal vaginal mucus makes an individual susceptible to irritation. In Florida, we often see cases of vaginitis secondary to prolonged wet bath suit wearing.

Before treating an child for vaginitis it is important to make sure they do not have a urinary tract infection or UTI. Both vaginitis and UTIs are common causes of painful urination. Children with UTIs are usually sicker and they may have fever, frequent urination, or abdominal or back pain.

There are many home remedies used to treat vaginitis. My favorite Gordon tested remedy is vinegar baths. Place one cup of white vinegar in a warm soap free bath. Have your daughter sit and play in the tub for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the tub. Wash her with soap in a shower (so she doesn’t smell like vinegar). Give her vinegar baths as needed for symptoms. Most symptoms respond after only one bath.

If she is still uncomfortable after the vinegar bath it is fine to apply a diaper rash cream, but I doubt she will need it. If her symptoms worsen or do not improve take her to see her doctor.


Written April 2013 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician






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