Yeast infection in children is a fungal infection affecting their skin and mucous membranes. These occur due to Candida, a type of yeast. The infection is also known as candidiasis or moniliasis.
The treatment for yeast infection is usually with topical applications, such as creams or antifungal ointments. However, severe infections in children might have to be treated with oral medications or, in rare cases, intravenous antifungal therapies.
Read on to know more about the possible causes, symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures for yeast infection in children.
Causes Of Yeast Infection In Children
Yeasts are normal inhabitants of the digestive system, skin, and genital area. These are generally harmless organisms, but the following conditions may cause them to become infective (1).
- Skin damages
- Poor hygiene
- Warm and humid weather
- Immunocompromisation due to certain diseases, such as cancer or HIV
- Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, since high blood sugar levels may promote yeast growth
- Hormonal changes
- Antibiotic usage
- Corticosteroid use
Antibiotics and corticosteroids may hamper the growth of normal flora of the body, resulting in the overgrowth of yeast. Children with immunodeficiency due to diseases such as AIDS may experience severe yeast infections.
Signs And Symptoms Of Yeast Infection In Children
The symptoms of a yeast infection may vary depending on the affected area (2).
- Skin folds or navel area: Rashes and pimples are seen. Itching or burning sensation is felt in the skin folds. Clear fluid may ooze from the rashes if left for long.
- Vaginal area: Itching and burning sensation of the vaginal area is a common symptom. Redness and yellow or white vaginal discharge with an offensive smell could also occur during a vaginal yeast infection.
- Penis: Severe pain and scaling is usually seen during yeast infection of the penis. Redness may also be noticeable.
- Mouth (oral) thrush: White patches on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and floor of the mouth are common during oral thrush. Some children may experience pain.
- Corners of the mouth: This type of yeast infection is called perleche. Cracks and tiny cuts are seen at the corners of the mouth.
- Nail beds: Yeast infection of the nail beds is called paronychia. White or yellow discoloration of the nail, which appears to separate from the nail bed, is a common sign of paronychia. Children may also have pain, swelling, and pus draining from the nail beds.
These symptoms and signs may also occur in other skin conditions. Thus, you should consult a pediatrician for an exact diagnosis.
Prevention Of Yeast Infection In Children
The following measures could help prevent yeast infection in children (3).
- Maintain good hygiene.
- Keep the skin clean and dry.
- Avoid antibacterial soaps, perfumed soaps, and shower gels to wash the genital area.
- Use clean and breathable undergarments.
- Use prescribed antibiotics.
- Follow preventive measures if the child has a weak immune system.
Improper hygiene and wetness in the genital area and skin folds could increase the growth of yeast. Certain skincare products, such as strong soaps, may destroy the skin’s natural flora. You may give your child mild soaps and encourage them to keep the body clean and dry.
When To See A Doctor?
You may visit a healthcare provider if your child has any of the following signs and symptoms.
- Yeast infection affects a large area of the body
- Existing symptoms worsen
- Signs of a severe skin infection, such as swelling, redness, and warmness
- Development of new symptoms
Medical history and physical examination can help identify yeast infection in children. Pediatricians may also scrape and collect a sample of the skin lesion for microscopic examination or culture to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment For Yeast Infection In Children
The treatment may vary according to the affected area, the severity of the infection, and the child’s health status. Treatment options may include the following (1).
- Medicated ointments, creams, or gels are prescribed to treat skin infection.
- Vaginal or anal infections may require medicated suppositories.
- Medicated mouthwashes and lozenges are used for oral thrush.
- Severe infection and infection in immunodeficient children may require oral anti-yeast medicines (antifungal medicines).
- Intravenous antifungals may be prescribed if other parts of the body are involved or severe infections.
Possible Complications Of Yeast Infection In Children
Although yeast infection may not cause any complications in most children, it may result in life-threatening conditions in some rare cases. Invasive infection and a weak immune system are major reasons for complications.
The possible complications of an untreated yeast infection may include:
- Oral thrush
- Abdominal discomfort
- Secondary bacterial skin infection due to repeated scratching
- Candidemia, a bloodstream yeast infection
- Invasive candidiasis, the spread of yeast infection to other parts of the body, such as the brain, eyes, bones, and heart
Skin damage, poor hygiene, hot and humid weather, hormonal changes, and weakened immune systems can cause children’s yeast infections. Most children experience skin rashes, itching, and burning sensation in the affected area. Children with low immunity can develop complications of yeast infection such as invasive candidiasis and secondary bacterial infections. Maintaining good hygiene, keeping the skin clean and dry, and using breathable undergarments can prevent yeast infections. You may also seek pediatric care and use prescribed antifungal medications as per recommendations.
- Yeast infection in children occurs due to Candida, a type of yeast.
- Some possible causes could be skin damage, poor hygiene, hormonal changes, or humid weather.
- The symptoms are itching and rashes on the skin, burning in the vaginal area, scaling or redness of the penis, etc.
- Maintaining good hygiene, avoiding perfumed soaps, and wearing clean undergarments help prevent yeast infection.
- Some treatments may include medicated ointments, suppositories and intravenous antifungals.
2. Candidiasis (Yeast Infection) In Children; Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia
3. Candidiasis In Children; Nationwide Children’s Hospital