Until treated, your child will complain of itching or burning in the genital area. The itching causes further irritation and eventual infection of the surface skin. When urinating, the urine may burn the already irritated skin, causing your child to complain each time she urinates. The discomfort goes away after 1 to 2 days of proper treatment.
This burning with urination is different from the burning caused by a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections will usually present with abdominal or side pain, increased urination, wetting at night in a toilet trained child, and sometimes fever. If treatment as described below does not help in 48 hours, a urine sample will be needed to check for a urinary tract infection.
Baking soda, warm water soaksHave your daughter soak her bottom in a basin or bathtub of warm water for 20 minutes.Add 4 tablespoons of baking soda per tub of warm water. (Note: Baking soda is better than vinegar soaks for the younger age group).Be sure she spreads her legs and allows the water to cleanse the genital area.No soap should be used.Repeat this every 4 hours while your daughter is awake for the next 2 days. This will remove any soap, concentrated urine, or other irritants from the genital area and promote healing.After the symptoms go away, cleanse the genital area once a day with warm water.
Prevention of recurrences
Antibiotic cream - If there is an odor, whitish discharge or extreme redness of the skin in your child’s genital area (outside the vaginal opening), use an antibiotic cream (Polysporin or generic brand) at least four times a day until better. The antibiotic cream should eliminate the odor and discharge after 5 days of use.
Hydrocortisone cream - After the odor and discharge have resolved, apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (a nonprescription item) to the genital area inside the labia. Hydrocortisone cream can be used to treat mild redness of the labia. Hydrocortisone may burn when first applied. If you are unable to use the hydrocortisone, continue the antibiotic cream until the redness is reduced.
After urinating, teach your child to gently pat herself and not to rub, as this can irritate the genital area.
After a bowel movement, teach your child to gently wipe herself and not to use the same piece to wipe her front.
Remember - "a separate piece for the front and a separate piece for the rear."
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