Sore bottoms in young girls

Sore bottoms in young girls

Some parents worry that a sore red bottom may be caused by sexual abuse.  Although that is a possibility, it is not the usual reason and there are lots of other things that are much more likely causes of a sore red bottom.

Key points to remember about sore bottoms in young girls

  • a condition called vulvovaginitis is one of the main causes of sore red bottoms in young girls
  • vulvovaginitis is redness and itchiness of the vagina and surrounding area
  • mild vulvovaginitis is a very common problem in young girls
  • mostly it will get better without treatment
  • see your family doctor if the symptoms don't go away

See external links and downloads below for information about how to prevent and treat vulvovaginitis.

What can cause sore red bottoms?

Sore red bottoms can happen for lots of reasons.  For example, a child might:

  • have sensitive skin
  • have problems with hard poos or wetting themselves
  • be on some pills that are causing it
  • have an infection
  • have pinworms

There might also be another reason for a sore red bottom.

These children can have pain, itching or burning around their vulva, or bleeding from their vagina. They can also have pain when they wee or they can have discharge (mucus from their vagina) that can smell a bit bad.  

How do I get rid of it?

Mostly it will get better if you do the following but sometimes your child might need medication.

There are some other hints in the external links below.

  • do not wash the area too much
  • do not use soap or shampoo in the area - just water is fine
  • wear loose cotton underwear and no underwear at night
  • do not use perfumed washing powder or fabric softener on underwear
  • wipe the bottom from front to back after doing poos
  • encourage your child to wee when they need to and not to 'hang on'
  • rinse the vulva with water after weeing
  • use soft, unscented toilet paper
  • pat or air dry the area after washing, do not rub
  • for babies, change nappies frequently

The content on this page has been developed and approved by the Clinical Network for Child Protection, Paediatric Society New Zealand.

This page last reviewed 07 June 2017.
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