Pediatric yeast infection is a general term that describes when a naturally occurring fungus (such as Candida) grows in excess and causes irritation.
What is a Pediatric Yeast Infection?
Everyone has a fungus called candida, which is typically found in the intestines, mouth, skin and the tissues around the genital areas. Candida flourishes in warm, dark areas, such as the vagina or armpit. When Candida grows out of control, it causes a yeast infection.
What are the different types of Pediatric Yeast Infections?
There are three main types of yeast infections:
Toddler (1 to 3 years*) yeast infection
In infants, Candida can cause what is commonly called a “diaper rash,” which results in a red and itchy rash in the area covered by a diaper. This infection can also create a rash in the armpit, mouth and neck .
Vaginal yeast infection
This is the most common type of yeast infection. Approximately 75 percent of all women will have at least one during her lifetime. Yeast infections are uncommon in normal prepubertal girls, so treatment is usually avoided in these girls unless they had recent antibiotic therapy, are immunosuppressed, or still wear diapers.
Male yeast infection
This type is rare and is transmitted during unprotected sex with a woman who has a vaginal yeast infection. Men who aren’t circumcised are at a greater risk to contract the disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of a Pediatric Yeast Infection?
- Itching and irritation
- Pain during urination
- Pain during intercourse (adolescents)
- Vaginal swelling
- White spots or rash on the penis
- White, thick coating on tongue
- Discharge from the vagina or penis that can have an odor
*Age of toddlers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
How are Pediatric Yeast Infections diagnosed?
Your child’s doctor will first ask questions about when the discharge and itching started, including any use of antibiotics or change in diaper habits before the onset of symptoms. The doctor will then perform a physical exam, which may include checking the genital area if this where there is concern for infection. Your provider may be able to diagnose Candida just from their exam, although they may also obtain a small sample of the discharge to make sure that there is in fact a yeast infection.
What are the causes of a Pediatric Yeast Infection?
The candida fungus can grow due to:
- Antibiotic medications
- Conditions like diabetes or auto-immune issues
- Douches or vaginal sprays, which upset the vaginal balance
- High hormone levels
- Sexual contact
- Underwear that’s too tight or made from materials that trap heat and moisture
- Weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, immune-suppressing medications (organ transplants) or other reasons
How are Pediatric Yeast Infections treated?
Most uncomplicated Candida infections are easily treated by oral antifungals. While there are several over the counter options that can help treat Candida, your provider may choose to prescribe oral antifungals as these might be less expensive and more effective.