In childhood, the infection usually begins in the vulva, with secondary spread to the vagina. In adolescence, particularly after the onset of sexual intercourse, vaginal involvement is primary. Vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection) is very rare in children unless the child is immunocompromised or on antibiotics.
Young girls are particularly susceptible to vulvovaginitis. Because the genital area is close to the rectum, bacteria (and sometimes parasites –like pinworms) spreads easily. In addition, children can spread bacterial respiratory infections from their nose and mouth to the vulva. Infection with sexually transmitted pathogens suggests sexual abuse.
In addition, vulvar skin is thin and sensitive to trauma from scratching, rubbing from tight-fitting clothing, or exposure to irritants like harsh soaps or bubble baths.
Everyone has a fungus called candida, which is typically found in the intestines, mouth, skin and the tissues around the genital areas. When, candida grows out of control, it causes a yeast infection. Candida flourishes in warm, dark areas, such as the vagina or armpit.
Vulvovaginitis is an inflammation of the vulva and vaginal tissues . This is common problem in prepubertal girls. It is typically not caused by a specific pathogen and is not treated with antibiotics. It can also be caused by infection, irritation, a foreign body, allergy, or systemic disease.
Pediatric yeast infection is a general term that describes when a naturally occurring fungus grows in excess and causes irritation.
If your daughter has symptoms of vulvovaginitis, her doctor will first ask about her symptoms as well as about:
Her doctor will then examine the vulvar area and may swab the area to test for bacterial and other infections. If the doctor suspects a foreign body is present, he or she will conduct a pelvic exam and remove it.
The prepubertal vulva and vagina is easily irritated by urine, sweat, stool, soaps, and perfumed products. This can cause discharge which further irritates the skin of the vulva.
In many cases, vulvovaginitis does not need to be treated with anything more than improved hygiene and vulvar care. This includes:
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe a low-dose topical steroid to reduce itching and inflammation. If these methods don’t work, and vulvovaginitis is caused by infection, her doctor may prescribe antibiotics (or an anthelmintic in the case of pinworm infection).