Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Vaginal Discharge

Question: My daughter is 4 years old and has had a yellowish green discharge for several days. I tried treating it with Lotrimin but it did not go away. I took her to the doctor where they did a urine test and took a culture. They called me to tell me her culture came back positive for strep. She is on amoxicillan for 10 days. How does a child at this age get strep in the vaginal area? I am concerned this is somthing serious and her pediatrician is not expressing that to me. :Lisa

Answer: It is not uncommon for girls at this age to develop an irritation in the vaginal area. If your daughter is toilet trained and is cleansing, bathing and wiping herself on a regular basis, it's possible that incomplete cleaning occurred and resulted in an irritative local infection such as what you are describing.

Other possible factors that may cause symptoms such as this are bubble baths. They are one of the most common causes of this type of irritation. Bubble baths are also a common cause of urinary tract infections. The soap and fragrance can irritate delicate tissues. Tight clothing can also irritate and cause localized infection. (These irritants may set the stage for infection, indirectly causing the problem.)

You stated that a urine test showed an infection. She is being treated for that. Followup tests may be necessary after treatment. Strep bacteria is just one of many organisms that may cause a urine infection. The bacteria(strep) may be found normally in the vaginal area at times. As was mentioned earlier, "setting the stage by irritation" may cause an overgrowth of this bacteria, leading to infection. Since the vaginal area is next to the urethra, it easily transfers bacteria during wiping. Hygiene is very important, especially for females in this area. Good habits early on will hopefully last a lifetime.

Speak with your daughter's pediatrician about your concerns. Maybe a little reassurance is all that is needed.

PS: The reason that Lotrimin did not work: This cream is an antifungal and has no activity against bacteria. It definitely doesn't work for urine infections caused by bacteria.

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.