Candidiasis, sometimes called moniliasis or a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or mucous membranes. Although yeast is normally a harmless inhabitant of the digestive system, diaper region, and vaginal area, it may cause an infection when the skin is damaged or when conditions are warm and humid, or when a child has a depressed immune system. In some very sick children, it can infect deeper tissues or get in the bloodstream and cause serious illness. Antibiotics and corticosteriods can also cause yeast to grow because the normal bacteria in tissues are killed, letting the yeast grow unhampered.
The symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the location of the infection. The following are the most common symptoms of a yeast infection. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Skin folds or navel
Patches that ooze clear fluid
Itching or burning
White or yellow discharge from the vagina
Redness in the external area of the vagina
Redness on the penis
Scaling on the penis
Painful rash on the penis
White patches on the tongue, top of the mouth, and inside of the cheeks
Corners of the mouth (perlèche)
Cracks and/or tiny cuts at the corners of the mouth
Nail beds (peronychia)
White or yellow nail that separates from the nail bed
The symptoms of candidiasis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a medical history and physical examination of your child, your child's doctor may scrape off a skin sample to confirm the diagnosis with a microscope or a culture.
Candidiasis is highly treatable with medicated ointments. Yeast infections in the vagina or anus can be treated with medicated suppositories. Thrush may be treated with a medicated mouthwash or lozenges that dissolve in the mouth. Severe infection or infections in an immunocompromised child may be treated with oral anti-yeast medications.