- Genital symptoms in young girls (before puberty)
- Symptoms include pain, itching, discharge, bleeding and rashes
- Vulva itching and irritation from soap is the most common problem
- Symptoms not caused by an injury
Symptoms Covered in this Topic
- Vaginal symptoms include discharge, bleeding and pain
- Vulva symptoms include itching, pain and pain when passing urine
- Genital area skin symptoms include itching, pain, rash and swelling
Causes of Genital Symptoms in Young Girls
- Soap Vulvitis. The vulva is the area outside the vagina. Soaps can cause this area to be red, sore and itchy. Bubble baths are the most common cause of genital itching.
- Poor Hygiene. Not rinsing the genitals at all can also cause itching. Any stool left on the vulva is very irritating. This can happen with loose stools or back to front wiping. It's also seen in children who leak stool because they are blocked up. Traces of sand or dirt may do the same.
- Yeast Vulvitis. Yeast infections of the female genital area are rare before the teen years. They do occur in girls who are still wearing diapers. They can happen after a course of antibiotics. They can also happen in girls with diabetes.
- Labial Fusion. (Also called labial adhesions.) This is when the vaginal lips or folds are stuck together. The vaginal opening looks closed off. Labia that are closed more than half way can collect soap or stool. The main symptom is itching in this area.
- Pinworms. Sometimes, an adult pinworm will travel into the vagina. The pinworm's secretions are very irritating. This leads to intense itching.
- Vaginitis. Vaginitis is a bacterial infection of the vagina. The main symptom is a yellow discharge. The most common cause is Strep, the same one that causes bad sore throats. Vaginal discharge from STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is not common before the teen years.
- Vaginal Foreign Object. Young girls may put an object (such as a bead) in the vagina. This can be part of normal behavior as young girls explore their bodies. It will cause a bad-smelling discharge. If the object is sharp, the discharge will be blood-tinged.
- Bladder Infection. These are common in young girls because the urethra is so short. The main symptom is pain or burning when passing urine.
- Skin Rash. Most skin rashes are from contact with some irritant. The irritant is often on dirty hands. The cause is from not washing them before using the toilet.
- Serious Cause: Sexual Abuse. Suspect for any symptoms that are strange or not explained.
- Soap is the most common cause of genital itching in young girls. It can also cause the area to become red and sore. This is called soap or chemical vulvitis.
- The vulva is very sensitive to the drying effect of soaps.
- Sitting for a long time in a bubble bath is the main cause.
- Shampoo or soap in the bath water can also cause redness and itching. So can washing the genitals with a soapy washcloth.
- In young girls, the inner female genitals should only be washed with warm water. The skin around the genitals can be washed with soap.
- Soap vulvitis only occurs in young girls before puberty. Breast buds are the first sign of puberty. This diagnosis is easy if young girls are using bubble bath.