Candidiasis is an infection caused by the yeast Candida albicans. Candida is harmless in most cases and can be found on the skin, vaginal region, and digestive tract. However, it can overgrow in rare circumstances. This might result in symptoms like rash, soreness, irritation, and other side effects. A Candida yeast infection is common in adults as well as in children. Babies and toddlers are more susceptible to it. Proper treatment is recommended to cure all types of yeast infections.
Yeast Infection in Children
Most yeast infections in children are due to the fungi Candida albicans. Candida yeast lives typically on and in the body and causes no harm. Various factors regulate its amount. However, when it grows uncontrollably, especially in babies, it causes yeast infection. Such infections in babies are very irritating.
Yeast thrives in warm, damp environments. Yeast infections in babies are most common in the diaper area. However, they can also arise in other skin folds around the armpit, neck, or mouth. A yeast diaper rash occurs when yeast overgrows and causes a diaper rash. It usually results in red inflammation with a slightly elevated border. Warm and damp conditions promote yeast infection on baby skin. A child whose immune system is compromised is susceptible to yeast infection. Some critically ill babies can infect deeper tissues or enter the blood circulation, causing severe sickness. Antibiotics and corticosteroids can also induce yeast to develop. They destroy the usual bacteria in tissues, allowing the yeast to thrive uncontrollably(1).
Suppose you detect that your infant has a yeast diaper rash. In that case, there are various home remedies and over-the-counter medicines that can assist. Some instances of newborn yeast infections may be treated at home. In contrast, others may necessitate the attention of healthcare providers.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Children
Symptoms of yeast infection vary from mild to severe, depending upon the conditions under which it occurs. Symptoms can occur differently in each child. They also vary with the location of infection. Symptoms of infections occurring in skin fold areas are;
- Pimple and redness of the skin
- Itching and burning in the infected region
- Patches that release white fluid
An oral yeast infection arises when a Candida fungal overgrowth affects a child’s mouth and throat(2). Its symptoms are;
- Soreness in mouth
- Pain during feeding
- Redness of mouth with severe infection
- White patches on the tongue
Your child’s healthcare provider will initially inquire about the start of the discharge and itching, as well as any antibiotics or changes in diaper habits before the onset of symptoms. The physician will then undertake a physical exam involving inspecting the genital area if the infection is a concern. Your physician may be able to identify Candida simply by doing an exam. Still, they may also collect a tiny sample of the discharge to ensure a yeast infection. Once it is diagnosed, treatment is compulsory to avoid further complications.
Children in the following conditions are at risk of yeast infection
- Hot, humid weather
- Too long usage of wet and soiled diapers
- Poor hygiene
- Health conditions like autoimmune issues
- Early intake of antibiotics
Yeast infections are seldom severe, although they are unpleasant. This is especially true for babies under the age of five. In rare situations, the disease might enter the bloodstream of babies who already have impaired immune systems. This can also happen in toddlers who have medical issues that need the placement of IVs or catheters in their skin for an extended length of time.
Treatment of yeast infection in children depends on where it occurs and how severe it is. Usually, it is treated with different medications that can be oral or IVs. Specific home remedies are also available for treatment. Antifungal ointments applied directly to the afflicted regions are typically used to treat skin yeast infections in toddlers. Other forms of yeast infections in the body, such as those that might develop in the mouth or spread to other body regions, will require oral antifungal drugs to be treated(3).
To treat a yeast diaper rash, you can use medicated creams with antifungal characteristics. Yeast infections are often treated with topical antifungal creams such as nystatin, mitrazol, miconazole, Mycelex, and clotrimazole. As long as you apply the cream after each diaper change, the rash can disappear in four to seven days. However, if they have adverse effects such as nausea, itching, or dry skin, consult your healthcare provider to see if they should continue using the drug.
The Candida albicans strain that most often causes yeast infections dwells mostly in your body. Healthcare experts typically suggest oral antifungal drugs in addition to medicated creams. Antifungal lotions efficacy might wane over time. As a result, the antifungal drug fluconazole is highly efficient in treating yeast diaper rash.
Fluconazole is an oral medication that primarily inhibits yeast development. Children from 6 months to 13 years old may take it once daily for two weeks. If your infant is under six months old and develops a yeast diaper rash, you must visit your healthcare provider immediately. If you have severe adverse effects, contact your healthcare professional.
If the yeast infection spreads throughout the body, then IV medication is recommended. Although some IV medications have specific side effects, there are reliable antifungal medications for treating severe yeast infections (4).
A few home remedies might also help with yeast diaper rash. Cleaning properly, changing diapers often, and using barrier creams are just a few strategies to manage your baby’s yeast infection. Remember to always check with your healthcare provider because home treatments are not always safe for your infant. However, many mothers use home remedies for the treatment of mild yeast infections.
Change Diaper Frequently
Candida thrives in damp and warm environments. Therefore changing your baby’s diapers often, especially while wet, can help avoid yeast overgrowth in the diaper region. Using highly absorbent disposable diapers will also help produce an environment that is not conducive to yeast development(5).
Maintaining proper hygienic conditions is essential to prevent yeast infection. You must clean your baby’s diaper region thoroughly after each diaper change. Scented baby soaps and lotions should be avoided since they might irritate your child’s skin.
A best practice to avoid yeast infections in infant girls is to wipe from front to back. Cover the penis with a diaper or cloth for infant males to prevent getting sprayed while cleaning the creases and folds in the genitals. Applying barrier creams or diaper rash treatments to the afflicted area, such as zinc oxide and petroleum jelly, can help prevent or cure yeast infection.
Diaper Free Time
Giving your kid frequent diaper-free time lets them keep dry and prevents excessive moisture in their diaper region. Places such as your backyard or even around the home are ideal for allowing your kid to run around without diapers.
Natural oil Remedies
Natural oil blends can help to ease the symptoms of yeast infections. For example, a tiny quantity of oil or Apple cider vinegar applied to your baby’s diaper will help reduce the irritation of yeast diaper rash. Tea tree oil is also a natural remedy to treat yeast infections in children. In addition, it is effective in fighting all types of Candida infections.
However, it is suggested that you consult your healthcare practitioner before using home remedies to treat or prevent a yeast infection in your baby.
Prevention methods need to be implemented in your daily routine to avoid having a yeast infection. Consult with your child’s healthcare provider about administering antibiotics. Antibiotics should only be recommended when absolutely necessary.
Suppose your child is given antibiotics too frequently. In that case, the good bacteria or some of the required bacteria that keep yeast at bay may be destroyed(6). Tips for preventing the occurrence and recurrence of a yeast infection in your baby include:
- If you are nursing, keep your personal hygiene in check and clean your baby’s pacifiers to assist your infant in preventing oral thrush.
- Antibiotics should not be given to your infant unless absolutely necessary, as they upset the balance of beneficial bacteria and yeast and can result in yeast infections.
- Bath your infant frequently in warm water, and clean and dry the diaper area after each change.
- Avoid wearing rubber trousers or tight diapers because they retain moisture, which can promote yeast development.
- To minimize fungal infections, change your baby’s damp diapers regularly.
- Pacifiers and bottle nipples should be washed in hot water to kill germs.
Consult your healthcare provider or Yeast Infection Advisor if they continue to suffer yeast infections regularly. Recurrent yeast infections may have an underlying cause that must be addressed. Yeast infections in the diaper region usually subside once your child is no longer using diapers. Maintaining good hygiene and the use of home remedies can help to prevent yeast infections in children.
1. Jain A, Jain S, Rawat S. Emerging fungal infections among children: A review on its clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and prevention. Vol. 2, Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences. 2010. p. 314.
2. Alberth M, Majoros L, Kovalecz G, Borbás E, Szegedi I, Márton IJ, et al. Significance of oral Candida infections in children with cancer. Vol. 12, Pathology and Oncology Research. 2006. p. 237–41.
3. Oriel JD, Partridge BM, Denny MJ, Coleman JC. Genital Yeast Infections. Vol. 4, British Medical Journal. 1972. p. 761–4.
4. Filioti J, Spiroglou K, Roilides E. Invasive candidiasis in pediatric intensive care patients: Epidemiology, risk factors, management, and outcome. Vol. 33, Intensive Care Medicine. 2007. p. 1272–83.
6. Opportunistic yeast infections_ candidiasis, cryptococcosis, trichosporonosis and geotrichosis – Vázquez‐González – 2013 – JDDG_ Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft – Wiley Online Library.