Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina.
Vaginitis is the most common gynecologic problem in young girls. It can be caused by irritants like soap, or be related to a yeast infection, bacterial infection, or a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It usually causes itching, burning, or pain with urination (peeing).
Occasionally, poor hygiene or toileting causes vaginitis. Before puberty, the lining of the vulva is very thin and sensitive, making it more susceptible to infection.
A discharge occurs with most vaginal infections. While some vaginal discharge is normal just before puberty, vaginal secretions along with itching, an unusual odor, or a change in color (brown, gray, or green) suggest a vaginal infection.
If an irritant is found to be the cause, it's important to avoid it in the future, whether it's soap or bubble baths, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, nylon underwear, or sand (from a sandbox or a day at the beach).
If vaginitis is related to an infection, the health care provider may recommend a topical or oral medication, depending on the cause.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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