Candida yeast infections in children (babies, infants, toddlers or older kids) can occur in various parts of the body, and poses a considerable healthcare challenge.
This yeast fungus becomes part of the natural microflora of the body in infants during their birth, soon afterwards, and always poses a significant threat of turning into an opportunistic pathogen.
In fact, most infants get exposed to this fungus while leaving their mother’s birth canal, while others get exposed from their family members. Thus, Candida yeast infection in children is quite a commonplace occurrence, with oral thrush and diaper rashes being the most common types of these infections.
What Causes Yeast Infections in Babies?
Your child may develop yeast infections due to a number of reasons. Below are some of the possible reasons, and effective treatment of yeast infection, and also the ways you can prevent the infection in future.
How your baby develops yeast infection:
The common reasons for the development of yeast infection in babies are:
Moist diapers: If a child has an untreated diaper rash, then moist diapers can act as a perfect breeding ground to develop yeast infection.
Antibiotic treatment: if your child is exposed to antibiotic treatment they are more prone to develop the infection as the good bacteria are destroyed, which causes candida yeast infection to grow.
Oral Thrush: If your baby has yeast infection in mouth, chances are that it may have been passed from the mother. It can also spread to the baby’s diaper area by passing through the digestive system.
From mother during childbirth: The infection can also spread from mother to child during childbirth, especially if the mother had yeast infection prior to the birth.
Oral thrush in kids occur due to an overgrowth of the Candida fungus within the oral cavity. It mostly affects the children who have weakened immune functions, or have undergone a prolonged dosage of antibiotic therapy.
Moreover, yeast infection in babies can be contracted from their mothers during the process of breastfeeding if the fungus is present in large enough number of the skin surface in and around the breast region. Thus, occurrence of Candida yeast infection in children often takes place inside the oral cavity.
Signs of Yeast Infection in Children:
The manifestation of this infection often takes place through the presence of slightly raised lesions, with milky white color on the inside cheeks, and on the tongue. More such lesions might be present on the roof of the mouth, gums, or even the throat region.
Apart from that, a bout of oral thrush may also manifest through the presence of a curd like patch on the tongue, extending to the back of the mouth. Lesions might also appear on the inside of the lips, as well as, the junction at the corner of the mouth where two lips meet. Moreover, swallowing can become difficult or even painful if the infection spreads to the throat and epiglottis.
If your child has any of the above signs or symptoms, then please consult your local General Practitioner at the earliest possible time.
Research About Oral Candida in Children:
A study published by PubMed, researched 140 fit kids from 3 to 12 years old for Candida albicans. And about 45% of 3 to 5.5 year olds and 65% of 6 to 12 year olds were identified as Candida carriers. (See table 1 below)
The cases of Candida in the oral cavity according to the gender was 52.8% in girls and 60% in boys for 3 to 12 year olds. (See table 2 below)
Regarding salivary IgA, no marked difference was found in carriers and non-carriers. Greater concentration of IgA was identified in children from 6 to 12.
Another study in 2002 from ‘Journal of Dentistry for Children’ was carried out to identifying Candida albicans in the oral cavities and root canals of children. 20 children without caries (without tooth cavities) and 13 with caries (with tooth cavities) were examined. Candida presence was found in 69.2% of children with caries and in only 5% of caries free kids. (See table 3 below) Besides, 61.5% of kids tested positive for Candida in the root canal.
In conclusion, Candida can prevail to a large extent in children, irrespective of sex. A high percentage of kids aged between 6 to 12 years of age are more likely to have oral Candida. This may be due to many reasons, some reasons maybe; a high sugar diet or high consumption of foods containing yeast within them.
Also, children who have teeth cavities are far more likely to have a presence of Candida in their mouths, than children without. This may be down to the fact that tooth decay occurs when the diet is very high in sugar, and sugar is what the Candida yeast really likes to feed on, especially within the oral cavity where the warm and moist conditions can favour the growth of Candida.
It is very important to contact a paediatrician before gettng any treatment for yeast infections. To treat the oral thrush, various drops and gels can be applied on the affected area.
Also the antifungal medication: Mycostatin is an excellent choice for treating a case of Candida yeast infection in children affecting the oral cavity.
Candida yeast infection in babies also causes most, but not all, of the diaper rashes that affect babies and infants. This is because the Candida yeast fungus is particularly fond of chronically moist skin folds in the body such as the groin region. Therefore, children often experience diaper rashes, which manifest in the form of fiery red regions, which occasionally has red borders.
Apart from the fiery red patches, yellow pus-filled spots might also be present that tends to break often and turn flaky. Mycostatin is once again the most effective antifungal medication for treating instances of diaper rash caused by Candida yeast infection in toddlers with it being available in the form of ointments for topical application.
For treating the diaper rash antifungal and anti-yeast creams such as clotrimazole, miconazole, nystatin etc. can be applied after consulting the doctor. Ointments and barrier creams are also used to prevent the rash from getting worse.
You must also change the diapers of the baby regularly and clean the affected area gently with water and soft cloth or cotton ball. Do not use alcohol wipes or rub the area too hard.
Candida yeast infection in kids can also cause infection in the nail beds of children who have a habit of sucking on them because the continuous presence of moisture provides the ideal growth condition to the fungus. Mycostatin is again the antifungal medication of choice, with topical ointments containing it being ideal for taking care of the infection.
Therefore, Candida in children is not that a rare phenomenon, but luckily effective treatment options are available to take care of any and all such infections.
Prevention of Candida
The thrushes can be transmitted to baby from mothers by hugging, kissing, bathing or nursing the baby. So if the mother has yeast infection, then contact with the baby must be limited.
They can also be transferred from unclean dummies and bottles, so it is necessary to sterilize and clean them regularly.
It’s suggested that you leave your baby without diaper for a few hours every day.
You must check the diapers more often and change them immediately when soiled or wet.
The diaper can be taped loosely to allow air to circulate around the skin.
Wash your baby’s clothes at 60 degrees temperature to destroy fungus.
Yeast Infection in Babies Pictures:
Oral Candida in Children – Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology Journal – 1984 – by Berdicevsky, D.Sc., H. Ben-Aryeh, D.Sc., R. Szargel, M.Sc., D. Gutman, D.D.S. (PubMed)
Candida in Oral Cavities of Children – Journal of Dentistry for Children – 2002 – by Akdeniz, B. Güniz; Koparal, Ece; Şen, B. Hakan; Ateş, Mustafa; Denizci, A. Akin
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