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News from Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #060
September 01, 2011


Welcome to another edition of Baby Medical Q&A News.

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If you're new to the e-zine, there are 3 sections:

  • additions and changes to the site
  • new questions from visitors - and the answers, of course
  • news and updates from the pediatric and child health world

Please read and enjoy.

New Questions and Answers

Question: Is it normal for a 3yr old girl to have what appears to be a vaginal discharge?

Answer: Toddlers can have vaginal discharge. It is often seen when there is vulvovaginitis or inflammation of the vulva and around the vagina. This is common in little girls. Part of the reason is that they don't have estrogen so the vulvo-vaginal area is relatively dry and easy to break down. It can look red and there can be a slight vaginal discharge.

You can treat vulvovaginitis with a barrier cream to prevent wetness irritating the already irritated skin.

Yoghurts with live cultures (lactobbacillus etc) are also helpful are normalizing the skin flora (the normal bugs that keep our skin healthy). Alternatively, try a probiotic from the health store.

Then try these simple measures to prevent further irritation:

  • no bubble baths
  • white cotton underwear only
  • when wiping her bottom, teach your child to wipe front to back
  • ensure there is no constipation

Question: My baby is 2months old. She is taking breast and bottle milk. Intermittently the colour of the stool is pale yellow with black bits. What is the reason?

Answer:Black in the stool (poop, poo) is usually blood that has been altered by stomach acid, which means the blood must from at least as high in the body as the stomach.

The most likely cause of this in a baby who is breast fed is the mother having cracked nipples and blood being mixed with the milk and swallowed by the baby. Once in the stomach, acid acts on the blood and the resulting color is black which is then seen in the stool.

Sometimes the cracked nipple is not obvious, so even if you don't see anything, this is still the most likely cause of blood in the stool of a baby.

This is of no concern for the baby and you shouldn't worry either.

Question: Hi, I have a baby boy 11 months and 10 days, who seems to be a little delayed on achieving gross motor skills. He never crawled, he hates tummy time, he just rolls over. He can walk if held by hands, but does not pull himself to things for standing. No equilibrium or balance. Cognitive abilities and fine motor skills seems good for his age. While I am sure his legs and back are strong enough for crawling and even walking, his arms and shoulders are not since he won`t use them at all for supporting the weight of his body. What kind of exercises should I do with him to strengthen his upper body and arms?

Answer:It is probably wise for you to have your child examined by a doctor to make sure there is nothing wrong with the muscular or neurological system.

As far as exercises, I think putting your child on the floor, sitting or on his tummy may help bring on his development. However, it is important to check nothing is wrong with the nerves or muscles.

All the best.

Question:22 months I was curious about a 22 month old having black ashy bowl movements. It's happened twice, but she seems fine. I have never seen it before. Could it have been something she ate?

Answer:It could be something your toddler ate or it could be some bleeding in the upper gut - this is usually of no significance if it is infrequent. See the blood in the stool page.

News and Updates

Topical Salicylate Acid as Effective for Plantar Warts (verruca) as Cryoptherapy with Liquid Nitrogen

A study has shown that daily application of 50% salicylic acid (Verrugon) to plantar warts for 8 weeks was as effective as cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen applied up to 4 times every 2-3 weeks. This is good news as this can be done at home.

Reference: Cockayne S, Hewitt C, Hicks K, et al. Cryotherapy versus salicylic acid for the treatment of plantar warts (verrucae): a randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2011 Jun 7;342:d3271. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3271.

Have you seen this website?

Feeding Underweight Children - a site with many useful resources for parents of children who have difficulty maintaining their weight, including premature babies.

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