- 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
- Soap vulvitis occurs exclusively prior to puberty.
- Occasionally, it is due to poor hygiene or back to front wiping.
- If the vagina becomes secondarily infected, a vaginal discharge will occur.
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
Should I Call?
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
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- 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
- Vaginal itching is a recurrent problem
Parent Care at Home If
- Probable soap vulvitis and you don't think your child needs to be seen
Care at Home
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR SOAP VULVITIS
- Soap (especially bubble bath) is the most common cause of genital itching in young girls.
- The vulva is very sensitive to the drying effect of soap.
- Only cleanse the genital area with warm water.
- After puberty, soap can be tolerated.
- Baking Soda-Warm Water Soaks:
- Soak for 10 minutes to remove irritants and to promote healing.
- Add 2 ounces (60 ml) 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 2 times per day for 2 days.
- Steroid Cream: Apply a tiny amount of 1% hydrocortisone cream (no prescription needed) to the genital area after soaks for 1 or 2 days. Avoid continued use.
- Avoid Soaps:
- Avoid bubble bath, soap and shampoo to the genital area because they are irritants.
- Only use warm water to cleanse the vulva
- Baby oil can be used to remove any dried secretions from the labia.
- Expected Course: If the symptoms are due to soap vulvitis, they should all clear within 1 to 2 days with proper treatment.
- 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. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 6/1/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Version Year: 2012
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.