Q: Dear Dr Ketch, my 5-year old daughter will sometimes have vaginal discharge. I am so worried. I’ve checked her but there is nothing amiss…is it normal & what can I do..??
A: Yes a little girl can have a vaginal discharge.
I am slightly worried about your checking her! 😀 I hope this did not involve unnecessary poking around??? The cause of the vaginal discharge can actually be a foreign body that got in there…a hair bead or even a bit of tissue left after cleaning up, for example. That is sufficient to cause significant discharge.
Other causes include:
- Prolonged contact between skin in the genital area and faeces and/or urine
- Other skin irritants like perfume, use of bubble bath and/or perfumed soap
- Lack of cleanliness.
- Bacterial infections
- Other infections like measles
Poor personal hygiene is a common cause as children start to go to school and begin to take care of their hygiene themselves especially after using the bathroom. It is critical that our babies are taught to clean themselves properly by wiping from the front to the back. Please do some sort of spot check to ensure that they have cleaned thoroughly 😀
Is this discharge associated with itching? If so and the discharge is cheesy white and thick, it may be candidiasis. Candida is not a usual cause of vaginal discharge in this age group, though. Please let the doctor confirm the diagnosis. He will take a detailed history and find out what exactly this discharge is or is not.
If it is due to candidiasis, it may be due immune system compromise by antibiotics and is also found in children diagnosed with diabetes.
To prevent this discharge, start by ensuring your baby wears loose cotton undies and do not give her antibiotics she does not need. As had been mentioned on this page before, all that is needed to wash your delicate inner self is clean water and clean hands. Teach her that. Ensure that your baby dries properly, especially the vulval area (pat dry) after a bath to prevent the build-up of fluid and warmth that encourages fungal growth. Discourage tight clothing and if anything, encourage her to wear skirts. Encourage her to also sleep without underwear at night as often as possible and if your home situation is conducive enough for it.
Have a good evening, y’all 😀