If you suspect a vaginal yeast infection in a child, the best course of action is to have the youngster examined by a doctor. He or she can make a proper diagnosis and advise you on how to treat this condition.
Yeast Infection Basics
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans. This is a yeast that is naturally present on the body. It can be found on the skin, in the mouth, and in the gastrointestinal tract. Most of the time, it is not a health concern because the body also produces bacteria designed to keep Candida levels low.
A yeast infection occurs when the body is not able to keep the levels of yeast in check, and an overgrowth occurs.
Causes of Yeast Infections
Yeast thrives in a wet environment, which means that babies and young children who are in diapers or using disposable training pants should be changed often. Make sure that you dry the child thoroughly after bathing and that youngsters change out of wet bathing suits promptly after swimming.
Yeast infections can also occur during or after an illness, when the child's immune system has been weakened. If antibiotics have been prescribed for another medical concern, a yeast infection may occur.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection
A vaginal yeast infection will produce some or all of the following symptoms:
- Redness and Irritation
- Painful Urination
- A Thick Discharge that Looks Like Cottage Cheese
Even if only a few of these symptoms are present, the child could have a vaginal yeast infection. Level of discomfort is not an indication of the seriousness of the infection; it's possible to have a severe infection with only a bit of mild discomfort.
Vaginal Yeast Infection in Child: Treating the Condition
If your child complains about any of the symptoms listed above or you notice redness or swelling in the vaginal area, do make an appointment for your child to see a doctor. The doctor will examine the child and give you some suggestions for treating the symptoms.
Over the Counter Treatment Options
Once a vaginal yeast infection has been confirmed, the doctor may suggest that you buy one of the creams available from a drugstore for treating it. You will probably want to buy a seven-day treatment package, since this formulation is less likely to burn. (The affected skin is already irritated, and you don't want to cause the child any more discomfort than she is already experiencing.
Sitting in a warm bath may help to relieve some of the symptoms of the yeast infection and keep the child a bit more comfortable. Putting a cool, damp cloth over the irritated area may help, too. Scratching and rubbing to relieve itching will only irritate the skin further, and the child may actually break the skin if she rubs too hard. This may lead to a more serious infection.
Yeast Infections and Diet
Cutting down or eliminating certain kinds of foods from your child's diet may help to avoid further yeast infections. The following have been linked to an overgrowth of Candida and should be avoided:
- Foods Containing Refined (White) Flour
- Foods with a High Sugar Content
- Maple Syrup
Other foods, such as cheese, peanuts, and dried fruit, should also be avoided due to their high mold content. The ideal diet to avoid a further vaginal yeast infection in a child should be made up mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables. Yogurt, especially brands containing Probiotics, are also a good choice.
Do schedule a follow up with the doctor if you suspect you are dealing with recurring vaginal yeast infections in a child. These may be a sign of a more serious medical condition.