Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

What is candidiasis?

Candidiasis, also known as a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or in the mucous membranes.

Although yeast normally lives harmlessly in the digestive system and vaginal area, it can cause an infection when the skin is damaged, when conditions are warm and humid, or when a child has a depressed immune system. Antibiotics can also cause yeast to grow, as the normal bacteria in tissues are killed, letting the yeast grow unhampered.

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

The symptoms of candidiasis vary, depending on the location of the infection. What’s more, each child may experience symptoms differently. The most common symptoms may include:

Skin folds or navel

  • Rash
  • Patches that ooze clear fluid
  • Pimples
  • Itching or burning

Vagina

  • White or yellow discharge
  • Itching
  • Redness in the external area of the vagina
  • Burning

Penis

  • Redness on the underside
  • Scaling on the underside
  • Painful rash on the underside

Mouth (thrush)

  • White patches on tongue and inside the cheeks
  • Pain in the mouth

Corners of the mouth (perlèche)

  • Cracks and/or tiny cuts at the corners of the mouth

Nail beds

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Pus
  • White or yellow nail that separates from the nail bed

The symptoms of yeast infection may resemble other skin conditions, so consult a physician for an accurate diagnosis.

How is candidiasis diagnosed?

In addition to a medical History and Physical Form of the child, a physician may scrape off a skin sample to confirm the diagnosis with a microscope or a culture.

What is the treatment for a yeast infection?

Candidiasis is highly treatable with medicated ointments, and yeast infections in the vagina or anus can be treated with medicated suppositories. Thrush can be treated with a medicated mouthwash or lozenges that dissolve in the mouth. Severe infection or infections in immunocompromised children may be treated with oral anti-yeast medications.

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Dermatology

The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Health System continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.

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