Could My Toddler Have a Yeast Infection?

Is your toddler itchy "down there?" Dr. Claire McCarthy advises on whether they might have a yeast infection—and what to do.

Uncomfortable toddler with arms crossed over their chest

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My 4-year-old daughter often complains of an itchy vagina, and she's frequently red down there. Could she have a yeast infection?

According to Claire McCarthy, M.D, a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital, she could have a yeast infection, but more likely the itching is due to irritation from not wiping very well, a common oversight among preschoolers. Wiping effectively is obviously important after pooping to keep germs away from the vagina, but it's also important after peeing; when the area stays moist, it can become irritated.

Make sure your daughter wipes (flushable wipes can help) and then dries well after going to the bathroom. For extra protection, avoid bubble baths, wash with a mild soap, and only use 100% cotton undies. If their vaginal area is red, some diaper ointment or even just petroleum jelly can protect the skin while it heals. If it doesn't get better, or if they also has a thick, bloody, or foul-smelling discharge, call your doctor.

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