In this section
While your child is
young, the skin around the vulva (external female genital area) can be quite
thin and sensitive, and this can lead to it being easily irritated. Occasional
itching around the vulval area is common.
Sometimes, irritation to the skin can cause pain (Vulvovaginitis). The symptoms are usually not serious and can be alleviated at home, by following some simple steps.
Thrush is not common before puberty, although it can be common in
babies. Threadworms can also cause itching, redness and even pain around the
There are many simple ways to try to reduce your child's symptoms if
they have itch or irritation around the vulva. Although they have not been
studied, these suggestions may also help to improve symptoms.
If your child's itch and irritation remain after trying the suggestions above, see your GP. Also see the GP if your child has:
How can I get my child to stop scratching?
It's hard to get a child who is feeling itchy to not scratch, but it is important to discourage scratching so they don't irritate the skin further. Try placing a cold, damp, cloth against the itchy area to relieve the itch, or give your child a vinegar bath. See your GP if nothing
seems to help.
How do I know if my child has thrush?
It is very rare for children to get thrush before they start menstruating, so vaginal or vulval itching is not likely to be thrush. Vulvovaginitis is more likely. If your child has a thick, white discharge from their vagina (with a ‘cottage cheese’ appearance and yeasty smell) then it may be thrush. If there is a discharge,
see your GP.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Dermatology department. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed March 2018.
This information is awaiting routine review. Please always seek the most recent advice from a registered and practising clinician.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.