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Vulvovaginitis is infection or inflammation of the vagina or vulva in infants or young girls. It involves Vagina; vulva (vaginal lips) and skin around the genitals.

Signs & Symptons

  • Itching, redness and pain around the genital area
  • Vaginal discharge, which may or may not smell bad
  • Pain/ discomfort while urinating
  • Bleeding from the affected area (sometimes).


  • Infections caused by bacteria; worms including pinworms; and fungi; or viruses
  • Allergies to synthetic fabrics, soap or other items in contact with the genitals
  • Scratches, abrasions or genital injury from insertion of foreign bodies in the vagina by the child or a playmate
  • Genital injury from sexual abuse (you will be surprised to know how common this is. Beware of leaving your girl child alone with a male servant, whatever faith you may have in him)

Risk Increases With

  • Sprinkling too much of talc on vagina, it caking with urine causing excoriation of skin underneath
  • Leaving wet diapers on
  • Infrequent bathing or unsanitary living conditions


  • While toilet training – Teach the child to wipe from the vagina toward the anus, after every stool
  • Don’t let the child sit around in wet clothing
  • Don’t use
  • Provide the child with cotton panties or nylon panties with a cotton crotch–not panties made of non-ventilating materials
  • If antibiotics are prescribed for any reason, curd may help reduce risk by preventing vaginal yeast infections
  • Teach your child to resist and report any attempted sexual contact by an older person.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Repeated symptoms
  • History and exam by a doctor
  • Laboratory culture and microscopic exam of the discharge (rarely).

Possible Complications

  • Psychological trauma if the condition is caused by sexual abuse.

Probable Outcomes

Usually curable in 10 days with treatment.


General Measures

  • Follow suggestions under How to Prevent
  • Remove the source of any irritation or allergy, such as soap
  • Don’t try to remove a foreign object from the vagina. This may be painful or cause further injury. Take your child to the doctor for removal
  • If urinating causes burning, the child may urinate while bathing or urinate through a toilet-paper roll or plastic cup with the end cut out. This prevents urine from stinging inflamed skin.


Your doctor may prescribe:

  • Medication appropriate for the infection, including antibiotics, antifungal or deworming drugs
  • Topical ointments / lotions to relieve pain and itching

Contact your Doctor

  • Your child has symptoms of vulvovaginitis
  • You suspect your child has been sexually abused
  • Symptoms don’t improve in 7 to 10 days or symptoms worsen, despite treatment
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or swelling develops.