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The signs of yeast infection in children are normally similar if not identical to those in an adult, although very young infants and toddlers may not be able to verbalize what they are feeling. These can include itching, a thick white discharge from the vagina in females, redness, and a white film in the mouth in the case of an oral infection or thrush. Oftentimes in very young children, infection will be persistent and may cause irritation to the genital area that does not subside. This is often due to parents confusing the infection with an ordinary diaper rash and not providing the appropriate medication.
Yeast infection in children may occur when a child is given oral antibiotics, or during the birth process. Occasionally, yeast infection may develop as a result of sexual abuse, although this is not normally the case. Antibiotics are used to kill off harmful bacteria in the body, but in the process beneficial flora are also destroyed, allowing yeast in the vagina, mouth, or digestive tract to grow out of control. The result is a yeast infection.
Parents may be able to recognize yeast infection in children by paying close attention during diaper changes or by listening to their child’s symptoms when verbalized. A persistent diaper rash that does not respond to normal treatments is often actually caused by yeast. Redness, inflamed skin, and sometimes a white discharge with no odor are all symptoms of a yeast infection. Malodorous discharge is likely due to another infection, and should be cultured by a physician.
Oral thrush is generally contracted during the birth process in infants, but it may also occur in children due to antibiotic use. It is most common in young babies who are born to mothers with vaginal yeast infections at the time of birth. Signs of oral yeast infection in children may include irritation around the lips and sometimes a white film on the tongue and inside of the mouth. Most times in infants, this clears up on its own. For older children, an oral anti-fungal medication may be used.
Yeast infection in children may be recurrent if frequent use of antibiotics is needed to treat common childhood illnesses such as ear infections. Steps should be taken to prevent bacterial infections, so that antibiotics can be avoided. When they cannot be avoided, a round of yeast infection treatment may help to ward off a recurrent infection.