Vaginal itching in children is relatively common issue and may be associated with redness, inflammation, and discharge or even bleeding. Most of the cases are harmless and can be effectively managed and prevented by removing the irritating cause or with some home remedies and over the counter medications.
Vaginal itching is quite common in children and young girls. In girls between 2-4 years, bacterial vaginitis due to bacteria entering the vagina as a result of poor toilet hygiene is quite common. So it is important for mother to educate about proper washing and wiping after urination and bowel moments. Lazy to wash/wipe or excessive washing and wiping can both cause irritation.
As your child reaches eight or nine, vaginal itching may be due to vaginal yeast infections. Although yeast normally lives in the vagina without harming, they can be symptomatic when they overgrow. This can lead to severe itching, burning, redness and inflammation and may also be associated with thick white discharge. Overgrowth of the yeast can be due to antibiotics that are usually given for ear and throat infection in children or any other condition that weakens the immune system.
In rare cases, vaginal itching can also be due to pinworm that causes itching around anal areas. They can migrate out of the anal areas and reach towards lower vagina. Itching due to pinworm is severe during nights.
Vagina can be very sensitive before puberty and easily irritated by several substances. Experts agree that most of the cases of genital itching and redness are caused by local irritants like bubble bath, scented soap and shampoos. Strong detergents and bleach used to clean the under garments can also cause irritation and itching, as can tight fitting nylon panties. Several other nonspecific vulvo-vaginitis can cause itching in children and young girls before puberty. However, once puberty begins, the vagina tends to be more acidic, that can fight and help prevent infections.
Psoriasis, lichen sclerosus et atrophicus, childhood eczema, and seborrhea are some of the other conditions that can cause vaginal itching in children.
It is very important for parents to educate their child (between age 10-13 years), about the vaginal parts and commonly encountered issues, so she can be aware of the changes and manage accordingly. Also when there is unexplained recurrent infection that is resistant to treatment, one should suspect sexual abuse in a child. As this matter is very sensitive, you should talk to your child about it and try to help and support her in every way.
Home Remedies for vaginal itching in children
There are several remedies that can get rid of vaginal itching, few are listed below:
- Maintain good toilet hygiene.
- Avoid bubble bath, scented soap and shampoo.
- Avoid tight fitting nylon underwear; always wear loose fitting cotton underwear.
- Baking soda soaks is preferred in children with yeast infection and thought to work better than vinegar soaks.
- If there is inflammation low strength steroid (1% hydrocortisone) for 2-3 days might help.
If the symptom doesn’t subside within a week or if your child has vaginal discharge, bleeding, painful urination or any other symptoms contact your health care provider immediately.