Vaginal discharge in newborns

Mothers, especially new mothers, are surprised when they change their baby’s diaper with white, clear or bloody discharge from the newborn’s vagina. They panic and worry about this until the doctor assures them that vaginal discharge for newborn girls is completely normal and usually stops within 10 days of birth. Not all newborn girls suffer from this, but it is due to the hormonal changes expected after birth, so there is no need to worry.

In this article, we will explain to you more about the causes of vaginal discharge in a newborn girl and how to deal with them.

What are the causes of vaginal secretions in a newborn girl?

During pregnancy, the level of estrogen and progesterone hormones increases in the mother’s body. Some of these hormones cross the placenta and reach the fetus. This is completely normal and in no way harmful, because the presence of certain hormones is necessary for the proper growth of the fetus. But after birth, a newborn loses this steady supply of hormones, and the sudden absence of the high levels of estrogen and progesterone they’re used to during pregnancy causes a reaction in their body, leading to a white and sometimes bloody vagina. secretions.

As mentioned before, vaginal discharge usually goes away on its own by the time the baby is 10 days old. However, you should contact your pediatrician if these discharges last more than two weeks, or become yellow or foul-smelling, as these symptoms can be a sign of infection and inflammation of the vulva and vagina (Vulvovaginitis)

What are the causes of vulvovaginitis in children?

Sometimes vulvovaginitis can be caused by an infection with fungi, bacteria (bacterial vaginosis), viruses, or protozoan parasites.

A yeast infection is often identified by a white, clumpy discharge that looks like curds and is white with swelling and redness of the vulva in the form of diaper rash. (napkin dermatitis)

The bacterial infection that causes vulvovaginitis in children is often caused by bacteria in the digestive tract. Viral infections such as herpes simplex virus (HSV:), and human papillomavirus (HPV:), and primary parasitic infections, such as trichomoniasis, which causes vulvovaginitis, are less common in young children because a small percentage of these can be transmitted to the fetus via the placenta.

There is also non-specific vulvovaginitis (Non-specific vulvovaginitis), caused by direct irritants, such as the use of fragrances in soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, and dryers, or hygiene problems, such as wiping from back to front when changing a diaper.

Are there other reproductive signs to consider?

In addition to vaginal discharge, there are other reproductive problems that can be experienced when changing a baby’s diaper, such as:

1. Swelling of the genitals

In a newborn girl, the labia or labia of the vagina and clitoris may appear visibly swollen due to sudden changes in the mother’s hormonal exposure. While it may bother some moms-to-be, this swelling is normal and not a medical concern. However, its continuation with itching or redness in this area may indicate the presence of a vulvovaginitis infection, and it should be properly treated to avoid complications.

2. Lip stickiness

It occurs when the two sides of the lips stick together, which is very rare. Although it can occur in newborn girls, it is more common in the second year of life.

The exact cause of this adhesion is not known, but the condition can occur when the skin on the labia is rough (usually due to prolonged diaper rash). Another theory is that these adhesions are caused by low estrogen levels.

Proper cleaning and showering will usually prevent this or can be a quick fix. This condition often gets better on its own as well. Studies show that such adhesions improve significantly without intervention (along with the use of intensive hygiene) and at a similar rate compared to those receiving topical estrogen. In some cases, they help separate the area without causing any damage to the skin.

Studies show that the success rate of using these creams is up to 90%, and surgery may be required because the adhesions can block the urine output or vaginal opening, but this is a very rare complication.

3. Urate crystals

Another strange thing a woman may see in her baby’s diaper is urate crystals, which look like a red or orange spot and can easily be mistaken for blood.

These brick-red crystals, often called “brick spots” by doctors, are a natural byproduct of the mixture of urate and calcium found in urine. It is very common when it appears in a newborn baby’s diaper.

You don’t need to worry as long as the problem does not persist for the first few days of your baby’s life, but you should consult a pediatrician if the brick spots persist for four days or more, as this could be a sign of your baby’s dehydration.

If the cause is dehydration, it means that your baby needs to be breastfed properly and you should consult a lactation consultant to give you the necessary advice to prevent this dehydration from developing and to achieve sufficient breastfeeding for your baby.

Golden tips for preventing vulvar and vaginal infections in children

  • Vaginal discharge in a girl does not require special treatment. You can simply clean the area with a gently damp mop or warm water on a soft cloth. Any remaining excess fluid will be absorbed by the pad.
  • Use a light touch so as not to injure the baby’s sensitive genital area.
  • Use only warm water or soft baby wipes. Perfumed soaps or shower gels can irritate the pad area, disrupt the natural balance of the vagina and cause a rash.
  • Wipe the area from front to back only.
  • Be sure to clean up any genital waste completely.
  • Check that the area inside the lips and between the skin folds is also clean, as secretions and excess diaper cream can collect inside the skin folds.
  • Never rub your baby’s genital area or try to clean the vagina yourself, as this is unnecessary and can actually cause injury or infection.
  • Be sure to change the diaper frequently and do not keep the baby wet for long periods of time, as this wetness can cause bacterial infection or fungal growth.
  • Be sure to see a doctor and treat any diarrhea or infection in your child’s digestive system quickly to prevent it from spreading to the vulva and vagina.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if vaginal discharge continues or if your baby develops lip swelling.




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