Whether or not your child should see a gynaecologist is always a difficult question for mothers to answer when their girl child (prepubertal) experiences any gynaecological health issues or is being affected by itching or burning. What should your first course of action be?
Dr Katrien Dehaeck, a leading gynaecologist at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town who specialises in Paediatric Gynaecology and is a consultant at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, says, “As a mother, you may feel or know that something isn’t quite right, but you’re not sure if this needs to be checked out by your local doctor or a gynaecologist. There are specific symptoms that I would always recommend be checked out by a gynaecologist.”
If your girl child is experiencing any of the below, they should be taken seriously and she should be taken to a paediatric gynaecologist:
A chronic vaginal discharge, especially if there is blood or bleeding involved
A strong smelly vaginal discharge
Lumps, bumps and warts.
“Your daughter may be experiencing an itch or burn that can be caused by a variety of factors. Most commonly, if a girl has an itch, doctors diagnose it as candida (thrush). This is not generally something that little girls get, as their vaginas are still too alkaline, so I would recommend seeing a gynaecologist if she gets diagnosed and prescribed candida medication, before going ahead with the treatment,” says Dehaeck. As precautionary remedies for itches and burns in the genitalia, Dehaeck recommends getting your child dewormed and ensuring that her hygiene is optimal. “Some girls are still too small to wipe properly from front to back and get faecal contamination as a result. Assist your child and make sure that she is being cleaned properly at all times. Also, avoid washing with strong soaps and do not use bubble bath,” adds Dehaeck.
Not all irritations are serious and some, such as rashes caused by nappy rash or allergic reactions to creams can be treated with over-the-counter treatments. “My overall advice would be to take what your child says seriously and get her checked out properly. There are times when foreign objects or even labial adhesion, where the labia minora are stuck together and it seems there is no vaginal opening even though there is, may be the cause of the gynaecological health issues. These can all be dealt with without too much problem, but the quicker your child is examined and diagnosed, the better,” adds Dehaeck.
Dr Katrien Dehaeck is a leading gynaecologist specialising in Vulvo-vaginal diseases and has been in private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town for 25 years, where she specialises in Gynaecology, Gynae Oncology, Vulvo-vaginal disease and Paediatric Gynaecology. Visit: www.drkatrien.co.za or call 021 531 9311 / +27 82 564 5745
Source: Byte Media on behalf of Dr Katrien Dehaeck. Image: iStock