Vulvovaginitis Pediatric Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
February 9, 2021

What is Vulvovaginitis?

Vulvovaginitis refers to local irritation of the vagina and the surrounding area. Lack of labial development in pre-pubertal children makes them more prone to vulvovaginitis. Other contributing factors in include:

  • Poor bathroom hygiene 
  • Use of tight clothing such as tights, leggings or jeans
  • Bubble baths 
  • Other irritants such as scented detergents and fabric softeners

Volvovaginitis can look a lot like a urinary tract infection. Symptoms can include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Small amount of bleeding
  • Foul smell
  • Itching 
  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain with urination, urinary urgency or frequency

Vulvovaginitis Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis of vulvovaginitis can almost always be made based on a good history and physical exam. 

Treatment is supportive.

Soothing the area 

  • With cold compresses
  • Use vaseline as a barrier cream 
  • Allow the area open to the air whenever possible

Clothing

  • Avoid tight clothing 
  • Don’t wear a wet bathing suit for too long
  • Use a nightgown or loose fitting pajamas

Bathing

  • Avoid bubble baths
  • Do not directly wash the genitals with soap
  • Rinse with fresh water
  • Pat dry or use a blow dryer on the cool setting

Bathroom hygiene

  • Make sure your child is wiping front to back
  • Wet wipes rather than toilet paper may be less irritating
  • If a fungal infection is suspected, an antifungal cream might be recommended.

Check in With K If…

  • You have general questions about your child’s condition
  • You want general followup for your child
  • You have questions about supportive care
  • Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming

See a Doctor in Person If…

  • Irritation and redness does not improve or worsens
  • There is continuous or worsening pain with urination 
  • Development of stomach or flank pain
  • A fever develops
  • You have concern for a foreign body
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.