Children love to have fun during bath time. Whether it’s playing with bath toys, surrounding themselves with bubbles or just splashing around, kids enjoy having fun in the tub. However, bubble baths can cause side effects in girls. The opening to a girl’s urethra (the tube urine comes out of) can become irritated after being exposed to the chemicals in bubble bath. This is true whether you’re using a popular brand or an organic product. As a result, girls may experience painful urination after taking bubble baths. The problem is not serious, and the symptoms usually resolve in a day or two. The problem is that painful urination can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI). So not only could your child be uncomfortable after the bath, but it may result in a doctor’s visit to check for a UTI.

The same symptoms can occur if a girl sits in soapy water for a long period of time. Therefore, it’s a good idea not only to avoid bubble baths, but also to have your kids play during the first part of the bath before you wash them and shampoo their hair.

If your child develops painful urination after a bath, there two things you can do to relieve the symptoms. Both approaches flush the chemicals from the urethral opening and should be done twice a day. If the symptoms don’t resolve promptly, make an appointment to see your doctor.

  • Fill the bathtub partway with warm water. Have your daughter lean back with her knees apart. Ask her to gently separate her outside vaginal lips. Fill a clean container with bath water and pour it over her vaginal tissues. If you don’t have a container, you can splash water in the same direction. Repeat two or three times.
  • Have your daughter sit on a toilet with her legs open. Ask her to gently separate her outside vaginal lips. Fill a bottle (the type that has a nozzle) with warm water. Hold the bottle a few inches in front of her vaginal tissues and squeeze. This may tickle, but it should not hurt. Repeat two or three times.