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issues with 4.5 year old dd and washing vulva/labia

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Dd1, who will be 5 in 3 months, has always had a "sensitive vulva" but now I'm beginning to be concerned. I have always noticed that she presses really hard when she's wiping after peeing, and I keep reminding her that all she needs to do is pat lightly. She also won't even try to wipe herself after a bm, and I think it's a fear thing, like that she won't get clean all the way (and I have said I would help her, but she just wants me to do it). Anyway, she often complains that she itches or that her vulva hurts. Whenever I wash her in the bath I clean the outside and gently try to clean inside the labia and she ALWAYS says it hurts (and I'm not applying pressure at all) and tries to scoot away. I let her, on occasion, clean herself in the bath, but she told me today that she only cleans the outside and it hurts to clean on the inside. Does anyone else have experience with this? I believe her, but I do think that maybe it is part hurt mixed with part fear.... I am tempted to take her to a doctor, but I can't see a doctor saying much. What do you mamas think?
post #2 of 29
i'll be watching this... i'm having similar issues with dd.
post #3 of 29
i thought one was not supposed to clean on the inside other than just being in a bath have i been wrong?
post #4 of 29
The itching and the pain would make me wonder if maybe she has a slight infection of some kind. Will she let you look quickly and see if it's red/irritated at all? Do you actually see her itching a lot? If that were the case, I would probably take her to the doctor. If not, I would just wait a bit and see if some general things might clear it up.

I would not use soap in the bath at all (no shampoo, no bar soap, etc) for a while and see if that helps. Definitely do not use soap on the vaginal area. The vagina keeps itself very clean, and just the water from the bath is enough to rinse it well. Soap could be irritating her. It's called contact dermititis. I know from my own experiences, I can be very irritated by soaps, drier sheets, detergents, bubble baths, anything chemical that may come into contact with my vaginal area. I also have switched to showering only sometimes, because the soap from my hair is washed off much more quickly than if I'm bathing. Also, if you can get her to sometimes go pantiless or something at home, it's good to have the air circulation.

If wiping seems to be irritating her, or if she isn't doing it correctly, you could have her switch to squirting a peri-bottle of warm water after she pees, and then just don't wipe, just let the water dry off. Or just dab with a washcloth.

The other thing is, IMO, you don't really need to wash her vulva or inside her labia. Just the water swooshing around is enough, IMO. Washing it might actually irritate it more, and brings more attention to it. I would probably just leave it alone, and not even talk about it, not ask her to wash herself, either.

GL! I've had all sorts of issues with vaginal irritation, so I've tried lots of things. Eventually something works.
post #5 of 29
i have this issue with DD too (she'll be 5 at the end of May). My take on it is that she's not wiping well, which is causing some irritation. I also think, though, that it's because her clitoris is extremely sensitive and she is trying to avoid pushing on it.

One thing that has helped is bathing more frequently. Not *washing* more frequently, but just letting her sit and play in the bath water. we only wash her maybe 2x a week unless she gets filthy playing outside or something. And when we do wash her, it's the very last thing we do before she gets out of the tub, so she's not sitting in soap. i definitely notice when we bathe less frequently, she complains more.

i have considered getting some wet wipes for her to use, thinking it might make it easier and more comfortable to wipe herself. but those things often have weird chemicals and scents in them, and we're both extremely sensitive to that kind of thing, so i'm not sure it would help.
post #6 of 29
I don't try to *clean* dd's vulva at all. She wipes tinkle but we still wipe poo.

In the bath she plays in the water and I wash and condition her hair (curly, sigh...) and that's it.

No reason to *wash* inside or outside.

post #7 of 29
Almost sounds like vulvodynia to me, though I don't know if kids even get that. A doc could rule out infection and give you tips on what to do if it is vulvodynia.

In the meantime, I second the suggestions that you eliminate any potential irritants (soaps, bathroom cleaners, laundry detergents). I wonder if it hurts because she wipes too hard and has irritated that delicate skin. Maybe get super-soft TP or family cloth and emphasize the need to be gentle?
post #8 of 29
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I don't try to *clean* dd's vulva at all. She wipes tinkle but we still wipe poo.

In the bath she plays in the water and I wash and condition her hair (curly, sigh...) and that's it.

No reason to *wash* inside or outside.

I agree! In our house dd wipes herself for pee or poo (she'll be 5 in a couple months) and she washes her own hair in the bath. I gently remind her to use a little soap on her arms/legs. I generally let her control the whole thing.
post #9 of 29
It COULD be a little bit of a yeast issue. DD has had similar complaints and occasionally looks red--her ped said it could be yeast and to keep an eye on it. I think she also does not wipe very well.
post #10 of 29
Definitely no soap, or "washing" the vagina or labia minora at all. I wash the crease between DD's thigh and vulva, but that's as close as I get to the vagina. I would stop all soap or rubbing for at least a week. Use minimal soap altogether in the bath, so the water isn't soapy. I use a teeny tiny bit for DD's backside, feet and hands, wipe her face with a washcloth, and the rest just rinse with water. Be very careful with shampoo too. See if that helps. But if she's complaining of pain, I would bring her to the ped. A young girl's labia and vagina should have a specific color (different than sexually mature women) and if the color is off, that may be a sign of infection or irritation. A doctor should be able to tell. There may also be something else.

What does she wear to bed? Can she wear a nightgown w/o panties? And only all cotton, lightweight panties during the day.

Hope this clears up!
post #11 of 29
another vote for no washing..

Id try soap free baths and just a quick hair wash and rinse.
My dd has eczema and we avoid sitting in soapy water, he vulva could be irritated from soap or bubble bath or shampoo in the water.

My dd takes soap free baths and then i soap up her hair and rinse her standing......
post #12 of 29
Please do not wash inside your daughter's vulva. It's a very sensitive area and easily irritated. Remember that little girls do not have nearly the same amount of secretions that adult women do. They do not need to rinse excess mucus and what not..it's not there at this age.

My DD (4 1/2) has just started noticing her normal, healthy secretions and has been rubbing at it, trying to wipe it off. She is always red and irritated after but a plain water bath makes things better (adding baking soda can be soothing too). I've talked to her about what it is and how it is suppose to be there to keep her vulva clean like earwax, boogies and tears. She gets it and has started to leave it alone. She has stopped complaining of an itchy vulva
post #13 of 29
Yes, good idea, a little baking soda or vinegar in plain water, like a sitz bath, can be helpful for irritated vulvas.
post #14 of 29
We just had this discussion with the ped and she suggested what many PPs had said. Frequent soaks in the tub, washing hair/body right before she gets out so she's not sitting in soap, and making sure she wipes well after going to the bathroom. It's really helped.
post #15 of 29
I have never washed dds labia. maybe after a poo as an infant.
I do not think you are supposed to wash inside. Being in water should be more than enough.

At 3-4yr I stated to tell dd to give wash with her hands and water while in the shower if I thought she smelled like pee.
post #16 of 29
My almost 7 yo dd was prone to yeast infections when she was 4-5 yo. She maybe didn't wipe well and she'd get itchy. We used a prescrip. med from her ped off and on for awhile then it just stopped. Maybe she was wiping better?

We never use soap for bathing the kids. My ds has severe eczema and I found that a salt sea bath was really good at getting rid of yeast infections and warding off impetigo which goes hand in hand w/eczema. IMVHO I think soap is overrated!
post #17 of 29
DD (5) was saying that it hurt when she unrinated and I thought it was a UTI. Took her to the ped and it was a yeast infection. Treated it with Lotrimin. Now we have her change her panties and leotard as soon as she gets home from gymnastics and it has not happened since.

Just wondering if your DD could get it from moisture, a wet bathing suit...
post #18 of 29
We had this issue often between age 3 and 5. It would come and go....sometimes staying for months at a time. My dd was always itching down there. I took her to the doc thinking a yeast infection. But the doc didn't think so. She thought maybe there was a hair inside the labia but found nothing. Basically, she just wasn't wiping consistently. Dd sleeps in a nightgown with no panties now and sits in the bath a lot. That seems to keep it in check. I'm still waiting for the day she will wipe her own poop...but that is another thread...
post #19 of 29
I was wondering if she is wiping hard because she is itchy and it helps it feel better for a second?

Do you think it could be a yeast infection?
post #20 of 29
YEAH!!! I'm not alone! My DD is going through some of these symptoms too- and I remember going through some when I was 6yrs (i *HATED* being 6yrs- everything sucked!) and now it's kinda DeJaVU with my DD!

She too isn't wipeing very well, we DO try to keep some wet wipes-made for toddlers (target brand work well for our sensative exzma prone skin believe it or not! crazy) and recently she says she has an owie, needs "medicine" or diaper rash ointment. Well when she let's me look, she's BRIGHT RED and has green buildup in there. SO, we do the ointment, I help her wash for an afternoon, and she's fine by the 3rd time she goes potty. Strange.

I have a family history of women with yeast infection after yeast infection. Maybe that's something to look into- if it's normal for your "family" then maybe you need to cut the foods that contribute to yeast, STOP the prolonged baths', avoid at all cost bubble bath and scented soaps/shampoos.

You could also start explaning about how sensative that skin is- and that she has to use her extra soft hands. I explained to my DD that she needs to touch very lightly- like we do with some pretty breakable knick knacks.

I hope she starts to outgrow this phase soon, as I hope mine will also- but I have yet another little girl about to potty train too! OY!!! I hope your DD starts to feel better soon. I would take her to the doc, if you have a good reliable doc that isn't going to traumatize her! If you do have a good doc, it might do her some good to hear from the Doctor that she needs to wipe, and to be easy, Kids always listen to the authority figures. Sending you Healing Vibes!
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