While the most common place a yeast infection happens is the vagina in women between the ages of child bearing, it can affect both genders, and any age. Candida in children can happen in several forms, but the two most common are Thrush in young babies, and diaper rashes can sometimes turn out to be yeast infections. The information gathered here looks at causes of candida in children, and prevention. It is not focused on the more serious but also more rare systemic candida that can infect some newborns. If you are more interested in that information there are several other articles on this site that covers it.
Candida in children can be caused by
Some of the causes of candida in children are the same as those in adults, but there are some that are specific to the young. If you have a child with a yeast infection and are trying to determine the cause you are on the right path. Just treating it may mean it will return at some point in the future because the actual cause has not been addressed. Some things to look for or consider are;
- Sucking their thumb – if you child is a thumb sucker this can encourage candida overgrowth both in the mouth and around it, and on the thumb and nail
- Weak immune system – obviously all babies have a weak immune system as it is not yet fully developed, but if your child has other underlying medical conditions that weaken their immune system this can make them more prone to yeast infections
- Antibiotics – children seem to pick up everything that it going around so may be on one course of antibiotics after another. Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad, which is not good for preventing yeast infections as the good bacteria are part of your bodies way of controlling the candida and preventing it from overgrowing
- Bottles and breastfeeding – if the child is still a baby and bottle or breast feeding there is a higher chance of them getting oral yeast infection or Thrush. If bottle nipples are not properly cleaned (and pacifiers) or if the mother has a breast yeast infection, that can be passed on
- Being born – if the mother has a vaginal yeast infection at the time of birth it can be passed on to the baby
- Wet diapers – it is important diapers are changed frequently as a baby sitting in a wet diaper creates an environment perfect for candida to thrive
Preventing candida in children
There are a lot of things you can do to prevent candida in children such as;
- Changing diapers often and making sure you clean and dry the area before putting a fresh one on.
- Cleaning and sterilizing sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers as well as toys they chew on.
- Use good quality disposable diapers that have a better absorbency.
- Do not keep them in a diaper 24/7, let them crawl or lie or run around with nothing on sometimes. The air is good for them and they enjoy the feeling.
- If you breastfeed clean your nipples and allow them to dry before covering up again or before feeding. A baby and mother can create a cycle of yeast infections between them if only one is treated and not the other for Thrush or a breast yeast infection.
- Do not feed them on a diet that is high in refined, junk, processed and sugary foods. This is not just generally unhealthy for them, it also makes it easier for candida to breed. Try to get them to drink just water sometimes. When drinking juice water it down drastically – if you do 1 part juice and 3 parts water from a young age they do not know it is ‘meant’ to be stronger! Also try getting them to eat more greens – hide it in foods if you have to.