Yeast infections are most commonly thought to only occur vaginally in women but the fact is that a yeast infection can occur in various areas of the body in both males and females of any age. Babies and children are also susceptible to getting some sort of yeast infection just as adults are.
Some Candida Albicans Facts
The Candida albicans yeast is present all over our body; the vagina, the skin, the mouth, and even the intestines. When the yeast stays at a normal level, it will not cause any problems, in fact, most people don’t even realize that we have yeast in our bodies at all times.
The problem with a yeast infection arises when something causes a chemical or hormonal imbalance within the body. The yeast reacts to this imbalance by multiplying and growing; an overgrowth of the Candida yeast is what develops into a yeast infection.
A variety of things can cause this imbalance in the body including taking an antibiotic, some birth controls, or an unhealthy diet to name a few. Babies and infants are more susceptible to developing a yeast infection due to their weakened immune system.
Yeast thrives on skin that is often times moist and warm, this is why many babies develop a yeast infection in the form of diaper rash. This can be caused by a few things such as if a baby is left to sit in a wet diaper for a long amount of time or antibiotic use. If the mother is on an antibiotic and the baby breastfeeds, this can cause a yeast infection even though the baby is not taking the antibiotic directly. An allergy to certain soaps can also be the underlying cause of a diaper rash.
Symptoms of a diaper rash may include a red rash that continues to grow, red scaly areas on the penis or scrotum of a boy, blisters, ulcers, or sores filled with pus. This rash can become painful and you may notice the child crying as he is cleaned and wiped on the affected area. If you suspect that your baby is suffering from a yeast infection diaper rash, the first step in treating the infection is to treat it with Nystatin which may also be called Mycostatin or Nystat-Rx. This medication can be given via an oral medication or a suppository in the case of a vaginal or anal yeast infection.
Apart from medication, there are other things you can do to help get rid of the infection while also preventing it from coming back in the future. Clean the affected area gently with mild soap, rinse, and dry by patting the skin softly as to not cause any unneeded irritation to the baby. If the diaper rash is mild, you can apply cornstarch to the area however, you should not use cornstarch in severe cases. You should also ensure that the child is not left in a soiled diaper for any long period of time. Try using super absorbent diapers to keep the area dry and clean and do not use plastic pants over the diaper as this will just trap warmth and moisture into the diaper.
Children and babies are also susceptible to develop a yeast infection of the mouth also known as oral thrush. Symptoms of thrush include a white rash or spots on the inside of the mouth, tongue, or throat that may bleed if rubbed, a thick white coating on the top of the tongue, dry mouth and a burning sensation in the mouth. These symptoms may cause problems with eating or drinking. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the throat and esophagus making it difficult to eat resulting in malnutrition.
If the baby is breastfeeding, the yeast infection can be passed back and forth between mother and child if both parties are not treated properly. If the child sucks his thumb or other fingers, the yeast infection may be transferred to the skin on the fingers as well. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from oral thrush, he or she should be examined by a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Nystatin may sometimes be used to treat an oral yeast infection as well as medicated lozenges, suspensions, or mouthwashes. These medications will need to be taken usually a few times a day. A lozenge will need to be left in the mouth to dissolve while a medicated mouth wash should be used in the same way as other mouthwash. A few things that can cause oral thrush apart from a weakened immune system may include poor nutrition, use of an inhaled steroid, oral antibiotics, or diabetes.
Finding the Triggers
The most important thing about treating yeast infections is to find out what the underlying cause of the infection is. Something is causing an imbalance in the body resulting in an overgrowth of the candida yeast. If the underlying cause is treated properly, you have a better chance of the infection not coming back however, if the underlying cause is not treated, the yeast infection is more likely to reoccur.
The symptoms of a yeast infection will not just go away on it’s own; it will need some sort of treatment before it will go away. Many medications only treat the symptoms and not the cause of the infection, this is why it is important to have your child seen by a physician and find out what your treatment options are.
Since children have already weakened immune systems, it may be better to go straight to the doctor instead of attempting to treat with over the counter or natural remedies. If your child is suffering from oral thrush, he may experience difficulty eating or drinking or may refuse to eat or drink due to experiencing pain in the mouth from the infection. Always ensure that your child is getting enough fluids and proper nutrition until the proper treatment can be given.
You do not need to keep your child out of daycare or school because of a yeast infection, due to the infection not being very contagious. As long as the child care provider practices good hand washing habits, everyone should be safe from catching a yeast infection.
If left untreated, the symptoms of a yeast infection can become more serious. In fact, in severe cases, the infection can spread to the blood resulting in sepsis and requiring hospitalization. This is why it is very important to start treatment as soon as possible if you suspect that your child is experiencing a yeast infection.
Yeast infections are common amongst children and many treatment options are available to help your child get rid of it without negative side effects.