Yeast Infection Information

Health condition

Candidiasis can be in the form of:
· Diaper rash
· Oral thrush
· Candida paronychia
· Vaginal yeast infection

· Rash
In healthy newborns, the most common form of candidiasis is a diaper rash. Skin in the diaper area becomes red and tender, especially inside skin folds and creases. In general, any diaper rash that lasts for 3 days or longer may be candidiasis.

· Oral Thrush
Candidiasis may appear as oral "thrush." in healthy newborns. In oral thrush, the Candida fungus invades parts of the mouth and throat, causing cracks in the corners of the mouth and whitish or yellowish patches on the lips, tongue, palate, and inside the cheeks.

When these patches are scraped or rubbed, pinpoint areas of bleeding can be seen underneath. Often, a baby with oral thrush may have no other symptoms than the patches. Sometimes the patches are painful, however, and the child has problems feeding, or is generally fussy and irritable. Newborns can develop thrush from mothers who have vaginal "yeast infections" at the time of delivery. When this happens, symptoms of oral thrush usually begin 7 to 10 days after birth. Candida infections can be very serious in premature infants and in children with cancer, HIV infection, or any weakness of the immune system. In these children, Candida infection may spread through the blood to attack the lungs, brain, spleen, kidneys, and liver.

· Candida paronychia
Children of any age may develop Candida paronychia, an infection of the skin around the nails. Fingernails are most often affected, especially in children who spend a lot of time with their hands in water. The cuticle and skin around the nails becomes swollen, red, and sometimes painful. The fingernails may grow to be abnormally shaped or colored, or may actually lift away from the skin.

Vagina yeast infection
Older girls and women may develop Candida vulvovaginitis, an infection of the vagina and the area around the vaginal opening. Also known as vaginal "yeast infection", symptoms include: vaginal pain, itching, or redness; a thick, white "cheesy" vaginal discharge; pain or discomfort on urination. Sometimes whitish or yellowish patches on the skin of the vaginal area (these look similar to the patches seen in the mouth of a baby with oral thrush).

Vaginal yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans Yeast are tiny organisms that normally live in small numbers on the skin and inside the vagina. The acidic environment of the vagina helps keep yeast from growing. If the vagina becomes less acidic, too many yeast can grow and cause a vaginal infection.

The acidic balance of the vagina can be changed by your period (menstruation), pregnancy, diabetes, some antibiotics, birth control pills and steroids. Moisture and irritation of the vagina also seem to encourage yeast to grow. Women are advised not to douche or use feminine hygiene sprays, deodorant sanitary pads or tampons, or bubble bath, and avoid using colored or perfumed toilet paper. These items seem to affect the balance of acidity of the vagina and can lead to symptoms of a yeast infection.

Also, in both sexes, any part of the body that is constantly moist, warm, and dark can be a site of Candida infection. This is especially true of skin folds in the areas of the scrotum, underarms, inner thighs, areas between fingers and toes, and the skin over the base of the spine and under the breasts (in older girls). In any one of these areas, candidiasis may appear as itchy areas of moist, crusted skin, sometimes with bright-red patches that may become infected with pus.

Other Causes
Healthy children may develop a Candida infection after being treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill many "harmless" bacteria that normally compete with Candida for a place in the microscopic environment of areas like the mouth and vagina. When this happens, Candida is free to grow without competition, and the result is often either oral thrush or a vaginal infection.

You can prevent yeast infection
In most healthy children, candidiasis can be prevented by keeping the skin clean and dry. If an overweight child has repeated candidiasis between skin folds, weight loss and exercise may help.

To prevent Candida diaper rash, change soiled or wet diapers immediately. If you use cloth diapers, rinse them several times after washing to remove traces of soap or detergent that can irritate your baby's skin. Avoid using fabric softeners - even these can be skin irritants. Some experts suggest allowing your baby to go without diapers for several hours each day. This is to give irritated skin a chance to dry and "breathe." This is easiest when the baby can be placed in a crib that has waterproof sheets. For many parents it is more practical to buy a nonprescription diaper cream or ointment, like zinc oxide, to soothe and protect areas of skin that are prone to diaper rash.

To prevent Candida infections of the fingernails, try to keep little hands from prolonged contact with water.

To prevent vaginal candidiasis, keep the vaginal area clean using unscented soap, and avoid vaginal sprays or douches. Have the child wear cotton panties, or those with a cotton crotch because cotton doesn't trap moisture or block air circulation like nylon or polyester. After swimming, make sure your child quickly changes into dry clothing.

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