How to Know If a Baby Has a Yeast Rash
Babies often suffer from rashes; most come and go quickly. Rashes caused by yeast, a type of fungus, might not disappear without treatment. Candida albicans, a type of yeast, can affect your baby's diaper area as well as her mouth. Breast-feeding moms and babies can easily pass the infection back and forth unless both receive treatment. Yeast rashes normally have a characteristic appearance that makes them easy to recognize, but see your baby's doctor for confirmation and medication.
Thrush, the commonly used term for a candida infection in the mouth, affects between 2 and 5 percent of babies, a July 2008 "Pediatric Education" article reports 3. Babies can acquire the candida infection when they pass through the birth canal if you have a vaginal yeast infection at the time of delivery. Yeast, a common fungus, normally thrives in dark, warm, moist environments, such as the vagina or mouth. Yeast most often affect bottle-fed babies, but can also affect the nipples of breast-feeding moms. If both mom and baby don't receive treatment, the nursing couple will pass the infection back and forth. Thrush in babies looks like milk curds stuck to the sides and roof of the mouth. If you try to pick them off, thinking they're milk, the affected area might bleed.
Yeast is a common cause of diaper dermatitis, more commonly known as diaper rash. Because yeast grows best in dark, moist areas, the folds of the legs serve as an excellent breeding ground for yeast proliferation. Candida causes a bright red rash with raised borders. Smaller areas can coalesce into the larger area. The reddened area may develop pus-filled pimples and bumps. Baby boys can develop a scaly, bright red rash on the scrotum. The rash, which might itch and burn, causes pain and discomfort.
Yeast infection cause pain and discomfort, but it rarely has a serious effect on your baby. Thrush can interfere with feeding, since swallowing can hurt. A baby that won't eat could become weak and dehydrated. Rarely, diaper rash caused by thrush could lead to a bacterial infection in the open areas of the rash.
Thrush in babies often clears on its own, but if it persists for two weeks, see your baby's doctor. Anti-fungal medications destroy the fungus, but if you don't completely treat the infection, it might return. Your doctor might prescribe anti-fungal creams or oral medications if over-the-counter anti-fungals don't work. Changing your baby often to keep the area dry and leaving the diaper area open to air for periods of time during the day can help the area heal by depriving it of its favored growth conditions. If you bottle feed your baby, discard the nipples and buy new ones, since the old ones might still harbor the fungus.
- Pediatric Emergency Medicine; Steven G. Rothrock, John A. Brennan
- UpToDate:Diaper Rash in Infants and Children
- Pediatric Education: What Are the Treatment Options for Oral Thrush in Young Infants?
- DAJ/amana images/Getty Images