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Yeast Infection in Children
Introduction to Yeast Infection in Children
While it may seem a little strange to people who think of yeast infections as adult women territory, kids can get yeast infections all the time.
Infants, toddlers and even kids up to puberty can easily get a yeast infection in a variety of places and for a variety of reasons.
While oral yeast infections may be the most common, genital yeast infections can arise by a number of ways, including simple irritation.
Skin yeast infections may also affect children wearing diapers in particular, as the chronic moistness of a diaper can set up perfect conditions for one to develop.
Causes of Yeast Infection in Children
Babies and children often get yeast infections for the same reasons that everyone else does.
Causes of child yeast infection in more detail
Yeast Infection in Newborn Baby
If a mother has an active yeast infection at the time of natural birth can also give that yeast infection to her newborn.
The newborn will probably come into contact with Candida on the way out in any circumstance, as Candida is a frequent resident of the vagina.
However, if there isn't an active yeast infection, the Candida in Mom's birth canal is in its single-celled, non-invasive form and a simple antibiotic ointment in the eyes is usually enough to protect the child.
However, if the Candida organisms are in their multicellular invasive form indicative of an active yeast infection, then the baby's immune system can be overwhelmed with the yeast to a critical degree.
Yeast Infection in baby or toddler
Improper diapering or untreated simple diaper rash can lead to yeast infections in the diaper area.
Simple diaper rash is a rash caused by the immune system itself.
Exterior skin such as on the buttocks, the exterior of the genitals and the perianal area between the genitals and the anus does not react well to constant moisture, especially not if the moisture is highly acidic as urine tends to be.
However, if this goes untreated for too long, the outer layers of the skin can become too compromised and a skin yeast infection develops.
Because of the delicacy of the area, a genital yeast infection can pop up pretty quickly as well, especially in little girls.
Oral-mouth yeast infection in child
Children often develop oral yeast infections for one reason or another.
If a baby or toddler sucks on a pacifier too often, that pacifier can provide a place for Candida yeasts to multiply and go to their invasive form.
Improperly stored or cleaned bottles can also be a problem, as can teething rings or other objects that a child sucks on often.
Breastfeeding babies can give a yeast infection to and get it back from their mothers.
Children also often kiss each other in childhood affection displays, and oral thrush can pass easily between them.
Yeast infections in child caused by parental ignorance
Unfortunately, where children are concerned there is one more cause that can be heartbreaking to deal with. Child abuse can cause yeast infections as well.
There are two types of child abuse that can contribute to the problem.
The first, and by far most common, is simple neglect through ignorance or lack of care.
Neglect due to ignorance of how often a baby needs to be changed is thankfully the easiest to repair. Most new parents feel horrifically guilty and ashamed upon finding out they accidentally gave their child a yeast infection because they didn't know how often to change a diaper, and the problem usually never rears its head again.
Child Yeast infection caused by parental neglect
Recurring genital yeast infections due to lack of care can be quite problematical, not least because it's so incomprehensible.
How do you convince a parent to change who frankly doesn't really care and sees the child's needs as nothing more than inconveniences?
Sometimes, you just can't do it and the child is better off in foster care.
A doctor or psychiatrist will usually need to make that decision based on a relatively consistent pattern of deliberate parental neglect and childhood problems.
Child Yeast Infection caused by sexual abuse
The second type of abuse, which is to say active sexual molestation, is utterly beyond comprehension to me and is difficult even to write about.
However, the symptoms of child yeast infection caused by sexual abuse are relatively easy to diagnose.
If a child has a yeast infection along with tearing, bleeding or scarring, either in the vagina or the anus or both, which can happen to both genders, the child has probably been the victim of sexual molestation.
The culprit in this case may not be the parents, especially if the child has other caretakers, even a bus or taxi driver can qualify as a temporary caretaker.
It's best to leave the investigation of such a case to professional social workers or doctors because it's such a volatile issue and the parents may or may not be aware of it.
If there is any reason to believe that a baby or child has been sexually molested, call child services or a doctor as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Child
Mouth / Oral baby or child yeast infection symptoms
Babies usually get pretty classic symptoms of oral yeast infections.
When the baby opens his or her mouth, you'll often be able to see white or cream colored plaques inside the mouth.
These plaques are often described as looking like cottage cheese.
If you scrape at them with a nail or toothbrush, they'll generally bleed or show red, swollen tissue underneath.
The most common places for these plaques to appear is on the tongue or the inside of the cheeks, but they can show up anywhere inside the mouth, on the tonsils or even at the back of the throat.
Older children will often complain of symptoms of pain or burning in their mouths.
It's rare, but some kids will develop a condition called angular chelitis alongside an oral yeast infection. This problem shows up on the lips or at the corners of the mouth, and it looks like red, inflamed cracks in the tissue right around the mouth.
Skin yeast infection symptoms in child
Skin yeast infections will most often appear with the symptoms of red patches with scalloped edges.
There may symptoms of a large patch with smaller satellite patches around it, or it may be one contiguous area.
Small blisters or ulcers can be symptoms that may or may not develop.
One way to know that a skin yeast infection has developed in the diaper area is that it doesn't respond quickly or at all to conventional means of diaper rash treatment.
If the sores won't go away with more frequent diapering, leaving the diaper off every so often and the use of a regular diaper ointment, the baby may have a yeast infection.
Genital - penis, vagina - yeast infection symptoms in child
If the child develops a genital yeast infection, the symptoms will be the same as in adults.
Girls will often experience redness, swelling, itching, burning, pain during urination and will often show the distinctive white, curdish discharge. A yeasty smell may also show up.
Boys will develop red, inflamed patches around the head of the penis, may show a discharge from the urethra, and will often also experience pain while urinating.
Children who are verbal can be asked about their discomfort, but pre-verbal children should be watched carefully. If the child squirms a lot or shrieks during urination, it's a sure sign that something is wrong.
Systemic yeast infection symptoms in child
If a child develops a severe fever, starts shaking uncontrollably, or exhibits other frightening signs of illness, either call a pediatrician immediately or take the child to the emergency room.
Children, especially newborns, don't have the same immune strength that adults do and can develop a systemic yeast infection, known as candidemia, more easily than adults.
A systemic yeast infection is usually deadly to a small child, so don't hesitate to get medical help.
Treatment and Prevention of Yeast Infection in Child
Children will need to see a pediatrician in order to properly diagnose and treat an active yeast infection.
There aren't any pediatric antifungals on the market today available over the counter, and it's not a good idea to use adult medications on a child.
Child metabolisms work differently than adult systems, and any medication must be adjusted for both weight and age.
In addition, some medications can interfere with a child's growth and development if not watched carefully, so don't try and treat childhood yeast infections with adult products.
Things you can consider doing at home
You can do several things at home to make children's yeast infections go away faster and to keep them from coming back.
Recurring yeast infections in a child, then you may want to consider these suggestions
If your baby needs medicine to treat thrush, don't put the medicine dropper in the baby's mouth. Drop the medicine on a cotton swab and swab it on the affected area. Throw away the swab, and don't put anything back into the medicine bottle that could be contaminated with the yeast. Unsweetened yogurt may be in order if the baby's old enough.
If you're breast-feeding an infant who has oral thrush, you and your baby will do best if you're both treated. Otherwise, you're likely to pass the infection back and forth. Your doctor may prescribe a mild antifungal medication for your baby and an antifungal cream for your breasts.
If your baby uses a pacifier or feeds from a bottle, wash and rinse nipples and pacifiers in a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and water every day until the thrush clears up.
Under normal circumstances you should still wash all bottle nipples and pacifiers every day and either boil them for twenty minutes or run them through the hot cycle of your dishwasher.
Always put pre-made bottles into the refrigerator immediately and never give a child a bottle that's been out of the refrigerator for more than an hour.
Also, if you feed a child half a bottle, don't give him or her the other half if it's been over an hour no matter where the bottle's been stored.
If a child has to take liquid antibiotics or has an asthma inhaler, make sure the child washes his or her mouth out after each and every dose. This will keep the medication from disturbing the natural state of the mouth and keep oral yeast infections down.
Conclusion of Yeast Infection in Children
Yeast infections are a relatively common childhood affliction and not normally cause for worry.
With preparation and a bit of work, they shouldn't cause any lasting problems, nor should they become a constantly recurring problem.
As the underlying conditions that contribute to yeast infections get fixed, the infections themselves should become nothing more than a memory.
References used for this page on Child Yeast Infection
Scipen, Barnard, Chard, Howe and Phillips, Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing 1980 edition. McGraw Hill Publishing
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