close   X

12/13/23 blog post

when to be concerned about vaginal yeast infections

girls in leotards

in this article:

A vaginal yeast infection, also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis, is a type of fungus that not only affects adult women but young girls as well. While common, vaginal yeast infections should not go untreated. We asked pediatric urologist, Dr. Christopher Brown, to help us understand signs and symptoms, causes, and when to seek medical attention for vaginal yeast infections.

what are the signs and symptoms of vaginal yeast infections?

If your child has a vaginal yeast infection, she may experience:

  • Redness, swelling or itching of the vulva (the folds of skin outside the vagina)
  • A thick, white discharge that may look like cottage cheese
  • Pain or burning when peeing

what causes vaginal yeast infections?

It is completely normal to have small amounts of fungus in the vagina. When the fungus grows beyond a normal amount it can lead to a yeast infection. Candida albicans is the most common organism that causes vaginal yeast infections. This overgrowth can happen if a girl:

  • Has a weak immune system
  • Takes antibiotics for a bacterial infection
  • Has high blood sugar
  • Wears clothing that is too tight or is made from synthetic materials that trap heat and moisture

Girls going through puberty and hormonal changes are more likely to get yeast infections than younger girls who have not yet gone through puberty.

how are vaginal yeast infections treated?

Treatment for vaginal yeast infections typically involves antifungal medicine prescribed by your child's primary care provider. It is important to take the medicine as prescribed so the infection doesn't come back.

To avoid future vaginal yeast infections, you can try incorporating these preventative approaches:

  • Gentle cleansing of genital area using mild, fragrance-free soap and water
  • Encourage your child to change their underwear regularly
  • Maintain a balanced diet to support overall immune function
  • Avoid using scented products, harsh soaps or bubble baths in the genital area

when should I seek medical attention for my child?

Although every vaginal yeast infection requires medical attention from your child's primary care provider, there are some situations that may indicate a more serious concern.

  1. Persistent symptoms - if symptoms don't go away after completing medicine.
  2. Recurrence of infections - more than four infections in a year may be a sign of an issue that requires further evaluation.
  3. Spread of infection - if the infection spreads to the abdomen or thighs, contact your provider to rule out other conditions.
  4. Discomfort during urination - pain or discomfort while peeing may mean that the infection is more severe.
  5. Underlying health conditions - conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system may cause more frequent yeast infections. Managing these conditions will help prevent future infections.
  6. Changes in discharge color or odor - these changes could be a sign of a different type of infection.

If it is recommended that your child be seen by a specialist in urology, you can schedule an appointment online.

when to be concerned about vaginal yeast infections
star star star star star

Christopher Brown, MD

schedule appointment
view full bio