Yeast infections are caused by the growth of a fungus on the body. This fungus is known as Candida, and therefore yeast infections are known as Candidiasis. While yeast normally lives on your body, your immune system keeps it from becoming dangerous. However in certain situations, such as if you are sick and taking antibiotics, Candida can grow out of control. In toddlers Candida infections can occur in the mouth and genital areas. This can recur because these areas are moist and warm and create a friendly environment for the growth of yeast.
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Oral thrush is a yeast infection on or in the mouth. Most people have a small amount of Candida in their mouth and digestive tract, but, in infants, the immune system cannot keep Candida growth in check. Oral thrush also can occur after giving your toddler a dose of an antibiotic, as bacteria that normally fight the Candida are killed off by the antibiotic. Signs of oral thrush include white patches on the lips, tongue and teeth, as well as scaled skin around the mouth.
Yeast infections can occur on the genitals of both girls and boys. Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include white or yellow discharge from the vagina, itching, burning and redness on the vaginal exterior. Symptoms of penile Candidiasis include redness or scaling on the underside of the penis and painful rashes. Yeast infections occur in these areas because they have warm, humid environments.
Diaper rash develops beneath your toddler's diaper and often is caused by Candida. This can occur when the area is not being kept dry and clean. Diaper rash also can happen if your toddler has frequent stools. Recurrent diarrhea can lead to recurrent yeast infections.
Candida that is on the skin usually is treated with medicated ointments. If the infection is in the vagina or anus, it can be treated with medicated suppositories. Oral infections can be handled with medicated mouthwash or lozenges. Your physician can advise you about which medications work best. If the infection is severe, it may be necessary to take oral anti-yeast medications.