32 answers

Recurring Vaginal Redness in Toddler

My 19 month old daughter has been having recurring vaginal irritation problems for about 2 months now. I've taken her to see the doctor at least 5 times for the problem. It seems that for each visit, the redness clears up a bit so the doctors don't see it as red as I have. In any event, they tested her for a urinary tract infection and it came back negative. They also suggested I try hydrocortizone cream, which seemed to clear it up, but once I stopped the cream it just came back. Another suggestion was to use a yeast infection cream. Same result, the redness seemed to go away but came back. She is potty training and I thought it might be the pull up brand I was using. I switched diapers and switched diaper cream. I, of course am taking her back to the doctor but wanted to see if anyone else has ever experienced this problem with their toddler. It hurts her when she goes potty and she doesn't even want to take baths when the redness flares up. I know kids get diaper rash but this is getting really frustrating. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

So the redness in the vaginal area spread to the anal area after I sent my request out. When I took my daughter back to the doctor, he diagnosed it as a perianal strep infection. Apparantly it's the same type of strep that can cause strep throat but it can impact the anal area as well. He said the bright red "sharply demarcated" rash around the anal area (I know this sounds gross!) was an indicator of the strep infection. The strep infection can also be around the vaginal area. He prescribed an antibiotic. She's only been on it for a few days but the redness has completely cleared up and, hopefully, will not come back. Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice and suggestions. Maybe this information will be of help to all of you having similar problems. Basically if you see a vaginal and/or anal rash that has a sharp line of where it stops and starts, like a red ring around the anal area (rather than a rash that's kind of all over), ask your doctor about a perianal strep infection. Thanks again and good luck to everyone!

Featured Answers

She could be allergic to citric acid. I have seen this exact same reaction in my daughter and the daughter of a friend. My DD grew out of it, but we had to keep her away from anything containing citric acid until she was about 3 years old.

Hope this helps!

If potty training, she is probably just not wiping good or is irritated by toliet paper. I found this with my 3 girls when potty training.

I have two daughters ages 9 and 5. The only product I ever used for this type of irritation when they were small was A & D ointment. It's been around for a long time. It doesn't smell great but it really worked.

More Answers

I am experiencing the same situation with my 3 year old daughter right now. We've been to the Dr. 4 times in the past 3 weeks. I think I finally have it under control for the time being. Here's what I have been doing. When we get ready for bath time I have been washing her hair and letting the water drain completely. I then take her out and rinse all the shampoo bubbles from the tub. Then I fill it back up and let her have her play time in clean soap free water. When it is time to get washed I have her stand up and rinse her while the water is draining. That way she doesn't sit in the water with the shampoo or body wash bubbles. The Dr. also suggested to wash her 2 or 3 times a day with unscented Dove or Ivory and let her air dry. So far it has been helping and she isn't complaining as much and the redness is going away. I hope this helps you in some way and good luck!!

My daughter had that when she was little--ask the doc to test for strep. Sometimes it presents in other areas of the body. Hope this helps

What kind of diapers are you using? Have you tried switching diapers and wipes?

So much good advice! Wipe her from front to back, avoid bubble baths, rinse down there with her standing up (right before she gets out of tub, as hair shampoo can even irritate below), use corn starch to keep moisture level down, use a barrier cream like A&D ointment (which does noo have as many items to be sensitive to as Desitin), have Dr. do another test for urinary tract infection or culture on urine (sometimes needs more time to grow bacteria than the typical dip test)or yeast infection or Candida or foot-in-mouth desease. Make sure Dr. or nurse or you are doing a 'clean catch', so urine can be tested properly. My youngest had those issues and more. I also have had numberous UTIs. She ended up years later needing to go to the voiding dysfunction clinic at Cinti. Children's hospital, so I know firsthand about all the tests. Some pediatricians are better than others at treating what they see as "typical diaper rash that all kids have". Hopefully, this will give you plenty of questions to talk to the Dr. about on your next visit. Good luck. P.S. This rash does not mean that she will have additional UTIs or need more medical care - mine just worked out that way.

Oh my gosh! My daughter had this for about 6 months. I took her to the pediatrician many times. I even took her to urgent care once because it looked like she had a horrible sunburn down there. I finally made an appt. with a pediatric dermatologist who said to use original Desitin and she also prescribed an ointment that starts with a "d", but I can't remember off the top of my head what it's called. (My pediatrician recommended not using desitin, but using a maalox/aquaphor combination, but that didn't work on my daughter.) It took a while to get into the dermatologist, they had her appt. scheduled about 3 months out, but I called every couple of days to see if they had a cancellation and they finally did. I also don't use wipes, I just use wet paper towels in case the wipes were irritating her. My daughter hated baths, too. We put arm & hammer baking soda in the tub and that seemed to help. She has been completely cleared up since she saw the dermatologist (in early December) and I am so glad. I was so upset to see her in pain like that. I guess if it's a yeast infection, Lotrimin will work, but it takes a couple of weeks and you should still use it even if the redness has cleared up because the infection could still be active. If it's not a yeast infection, try original desitin every time you change her. It's very thick and stays on for a long time. Good luck--I know how hard that is!

My almost five year old has had this problem for a while too. Same thing, doctor's office and tests... no results. Let the area dry out naturally.. run in their birthday suit. Sometimes diaper rash creams sting at first before they do their job. Sometimes their skin is sensitive to bath soap, sometimes it's dry air. We were recommended to use Lotrimum, ended up using Cortaid. I have used good old Vaseline. We also let our daughter apply the cream herself and nick named it "tickle cream".
Mind over matter, I guess. Hope this helps!

If potty training, she is probably just not wiping good or is irritated by toliet paper. I found this with my 3 girls when potty training.

I have two daughters ages 9 and 5. The only product I ever used for this type of irritation when they were small was A & D ointment. It's been around for a long time. It doesn't smell great but it really worked.

Hello A.
My 18 month old just went through the same thing around christmas time. We went through all the creams just as you have and it would return. My Dr. then gave her an oral antifungal (Diflucan). This worked for us.

Hey been a while since my girls were babies but my oldest used to have the same problem and we figured it out to be acid...she could not eat too much tomato based or acidy type foods or she would break out like crazy in her vagina area...as she got older and ate more foods it spread even farther and that was when we figured it out-now she is 18 and has major acid reflux for the last 5 years...don't know if this helps but the advice is FREE!!!

Hi A.,
Melagel and Renew lotion are wonderful for diaper rashes. but something you might think about is the soap your using and laundry products. Almost all of personal care products have quanternium 15 in them or another brand name for the same thing. this is a formaldehyde releaser. It's not good for anybody, but some are more sensitive than others. If you like I can help you out with some better alternatives. Just let me know.
T.

www.livetotalwellness.com/T.
www.workathomeunited.com/T.

my girls also broke out when they was small. Our 7 yr. old still does when I get cheap tolet paper.Our other daughter we found out had a recation to acids in juices..which caused her to be raw..it took us alot of years to find out why this was happing to our girls..but thank god we did..best of luck to you and your daughter.

After reading your "what happened next" only last night I was lucky enough to get my 16 month old daughter in to see her doctor this morning and air my concerns as she has suffered almost the same symptoms as your daughter. I quoted perianal strep infection and the doctor agreed completely.

She is now on antibiotics, 2 lots of creams and a bath oil so fingers crossed she is well again soon. Thank you for putting your question up here as I was fed up of giving my daughter various medication only to see her in pain most of the time.

Updated

After reading your "what happened next" only last night I was lucky enough to get my 16 month old daughter in to see her doctor this morning and air my concerns as she has suffered almost the same symptoms as your daughter. I quoted perianal strep infection and the doctor agreed completely.

She is now on antibiotics, 2 lots of creams and a bath oil so fingers crossed she is well again soon. Thank you for putting your question up here as I was fed up of giving my daughter various medication only to see her in pain most of the time.

My daughter is 18 months old and she had a lot of redness around her vaginal area and I was eliminating foods. Come to find out, it was Apples. Apple juice and applesauce. We did not give it to her one week and she was fine, the next she had it and she was RED. I have to put vaseline on it, because it burns her if I put anything else on, as it starts to go away, I put a lot of vaseline and then a little Desitin on top. I always know when someone has given her anything with apples. Not sure if this helps, but if you do give her applesause or apple juice, don't for a week and see. Just a thought.

I have 3 daughters and sometimes they have irritation. Make sure you use wet wipes, the flushable ones when wiping, sometimes the toilet paper can cause irritation. You might try Bourdeaux's butt paste, it works very well. You might also ask your doctor if it could be a systemic problem with candida or yeast and may require an oral medication to clear it up like diflucan. Hope it gets better K. D

Hi A.,
My 5 year old daughter seems to be very sensitive in this area too. The doctors have suggested the same things and also sitting in warm baths when it flares up. She gets very itchy and digs at herself so the warm bath does the trick for that. It just occurred to me that maybe a diet change might correct it? When I get UTI's isn't it cranberry juice and yogurt that help out?
So I don't have many answers but I do sympathize and understand the challenge.

L. Mercer
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My one yr old had this problem and it seemed to last for over 3 months. I finally switched to triple paste and put as thick of a layer as I could on each time I changed her. It did eventually go away.

i have a son, so it is different. he gets red. And i think it is the acidity in his pee and poop. i put powder on him and it works normally all the time. but with a girl i am clueless on what you can use. or if there is something she can drink that may not be acidic. baby's bottoms are a mystery. just a thought if it is not the yeast infection. that is the only thing i can think. my one son has really sensitive skin. my other son does not get it.

A.,
I have a nine year old son and can't give you advise on your daughters condition. However as Denise said below you should consider switching to Toxic/Chemical Free products. Not to scare you but, Formaldehyde, a toxic cancer-causing agent, is commonly found in toothpaste, baby shampoo, hair care products, deodorants, cosmetics and mouthwash. I have my own business working with an awesome International Wellness Store that has reasonably priced Toxic/Chemical Free Products. I would love to share the details with you. Go to WWW.LiveTotalWellness.Com/AnitaM, fill in your information and I will get back to you right away. Best of Luck.
-A.

She could be allergic to citric acid. I have seen this exact same reaction in my daughter and the daughter of a friend. My DD grew out of it, but we had to keep her away from anything containing citric acid until she was about 3 years old.

Hope this helps!

My friends daughter has had this issue and the doctor suggested watching her diet to see if there is a particular food she is eating more of when the redness occurs. It ended up being a milk allergy and she put her on soy milk instead of cow's milk. My son tends to get really red when he drinks apple juice...he can eat apples but it has to be limited.

I know this might sound crazy but I swear it works. Take some white flour and put it in a pan and brown it in a pan on the stove. It will take the red out in about 24 hrs. Only downside is your daughter may smell like a cookie when using this. I laughed when my sister told me about this but it really does work. It seems that this is a old southern recipe for diaper rash passed down from one generation to the next and my sister's coworker's family swears by it.

My daughter, now 6, has recurring vaginal and anal redness after she eat high doses of vitamin C foods -- mostly strawberries, oranges and even vitamins. I noticed the correlation and then began closely watching body reaction after eating various fruit over time. I treat it with diaper rash creme, and she's good. What foods are you feeding your baby? Hope this helps.
J.

Don't worry, you're not the only one. My daughter is 4 and I have been battling this since she was just a few months old. There really isn't anything you can do to stop it, she will probably always be sensitive in her vaginal area. You can only keep doing what you are doing. You've probably tried all this, but in case there's something you haven't I am going to list the things that we do to control my daughter's irritation. We make sure that she sits in the bath every night, even for a few minutes, sometimes with no soap on any part of her. We always make sure not to put any soap on her vaginal area and use a small amount of mild soap on her body. We make her drink lots of water and nothing carbonated. Fruit juice seems to make hers worse (we even have to watch how much fresh citrus fruit she eats). When it gets bad we use Lotrimin cream and it helps her. My daughter also has eczema, so sometimes I have to use her eczema cream. I found a really soft material that I lined her underwear with too. I hope some of these suggestions help you.

My daughter has had several urinary tract infections in her 6 years (along with having a rather evasive test that she had to be sedated for). One suggestion that I would offer is to try to limit the amount of time she sits in the tub water. Most definitely don't use any bubble bath. If she can stand as in the shower, that would be helpful, too. Also, I would consider using thick cotton underpants (Gerber makes some) with rubber pants over them for toilet training. Whatever material is in the pull-up might be adding to the redness. I know that the pull-ups are convenient, but the cotton underpants might offer relief (and might help speed up the toilet training). Also, be sure wiping is front to back. I hope this helps.

Have you tried changing her soap and bubblebath? My Mom says that when I was a kid, I got very bad vaginal irritation from Mr. Bubbles bubble bath. With my kids, I've always tried to go w/the more natural brands (I really like California Baby), and haven't had any problems. I did notice though, that the 1 time my daughter took a bath at a relatives house and we used their soap, she got irritation in her vaginal area. You'd think that an allergic rash would be all over, but I guess it only gets the super sensitive areas sometimes. Another thought is changing the cleanser you use to clean the tub. Any residue left behind from cleaning could contribute to irritation in that area. Good luck to you.

Salt baths!!!
Salt baths!!!
Salt baths!!!

Gosh, not one mom recommended a salt bath. Salt is a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic solution. It cleanses and sterilizes while soaking. No soap. Just Epsom Salt, or Dead Sea Salt, or Sea Salt, or Kosher Salt, even table salt...there are over 50 trace minerals in Real Salt.

I washed my babies bottoms in salt all the time, and I still make bath salts for the entire family and now as Christmas gifts for all. They are naturally healing.

Try dusting some organic corn starch between each change. When she poops, try rinsing with water instead of wiping. Cut out sugar as much as possible, it feed yeast. And finally, sunlight and air as much as possible. The natural approch is always best. I think those creams are designed to keep you using them instead of curing the problem. Some pure aloe might help her skin heal faster too.

Hi My name is L. S. I had the exact problem with my daughter and we also tried all the same thing to be honest it is still a problem once in a while potty training her helped because the urine wan't on her body pools also are a problem we coat my daughter down in a thick diaper cream or a vasaline type of ointment something thick also she only sits in clean bath water so if she want's to play she can but no soap or anything she does a shower and we bought one that you can pull off the wall so it fits here hopefully this helps please feel free to email me at ____@____.com

My daughter had this issue and the primary cause was bubble bath. The agents in this fun bath product is too harsh on that tender area. Stick with a gentle cleanser and hydrocortizone cream and your precious one should be fine. My prayers go out to since I know its distressing when our angels suffer.

My daughter gets red down there sometimes to. She always used to tense up when I would wipe the area with a baby wipe. Ocassionally I would put diaper rash cream on it and that would ease it a little bit but it never totally went away.
Baths can irritate that area. Especially if you put bubble bath in it. Just use plain warm water when giving a bath. I know you will still get some in there when you wash the hair and body but maybe you can do that right before you take her out and she can stand up for that.
The other thing to is have her eat yogurt. The live active cultures are good for balancing the good and bad bacteria that are down there in case it is a type of yeast infection or even irritation. Hope that helps a little. Oh, yeah cranberry juice is good too if it were a urinary tract infection. That can be hard for a kid to drink though because it is a little tart but you could mix it with something else.

Try a soap called Pure and Natrual that helped my family. Also since she is potty trainined and now wearing pantys it could be your detergent. My little niece is very sensitive. Try detergent with out dyes, or fragrance and skip the dryer sheets....

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