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Sore bottoms in young girls

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Sore bottoms in young girls are usually caused by a condition called vulvovaginitis.

This causes redness (inflammation), itchiness and soreness of the vagina and the area of skin around the vagina opening (vulva).

It's very common for young girls to get vulvovaginitis, particularly between the ages of 3 and 10 years.

It usually improves after puberty begins, if not before, and doesn't cause any long-term problems.

Causes of vulvovaginitis

Vulvovaginitis is usually caused by irritation and infections. Young girls are prone to getting vulvovaginitis as the walls of their vagina and vulva are thin so can become irritated and infected more easily. Common irritants include soaps, bubble bath and tight-fitting clothing.

Germs (bacteria) that live naturally in the gut are easily spread if poo (faeces) is not wiped away properly after toileting. This is why vulvovaginitis is more common in girls who are learning to toilet themselves and look after own personal hygiene.

Symptoms of vulvovaginitis

Girls may have any or all of these:

Treating vulvovaginitis

In most mild cases, no treatment is needed as vulvovaginitis will often improve by itself. If not, the treatment depends on the cause.

Helping your child with vulvovaginitis

To help improve the symptoms your tamaiti (child) has and prevent them coming back try the following things:

Toileting

Bathing

Clothing and laundry

Getting help for a girl with vulvovaginitis

See a doctor if:

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed January 2022

Sources

Page reference: 52274

Review key: HIVPV-52274