Our body contains a host of microorganisms that are not harmful to us. However, when they grow out of control, they can make us ill. One example is the Candida yeast.
Candida is found both on our skin and inside our body, in the mouth, throat, gut, and vaginal area. It is usually harmless. However, when it grows uncontrollably, especially in babies, it causes yeast infections.
Yeast often proliferates in warm and moist areas. In infants, yeast infections most likely occur in the diaper area, but they can also occur in other skin folds around the armpit, neck, or mouth. When yeast overgrows and causes a diaper rash, it’s called a yeast diaper rash. It generally causes a red rash with a slightly raised border.
If you notice your baby has a yeast diaper rash, there are some home remedies and over-the-counter treatments you can use to help your baby. Some cases of baby yeast infections can be treated at home, but others may require a doctor’s attention.
Medicated creams with antifungal properties can be used to treat a yeast diaper rash. Mostly, antifungal topical creams like Bio-statin (nystatin), Mycelex Troche (clotrimazole), and Mitrazol (miconazole) are used for treating yeast infections.
If you notice side effects such as upset stomach, itchiness, or dry skin, contact your doctor to determine if you should continue using the medication.
Candida albicans, the strain that most commonly causes yeast infections, mainly resides in your body, so doctors usually recommend oral antifungal medications to be used alongside medicated creams.
The effectiveness of antifungal creams can decrease gradually. That’s why Diflucan (fluconazole) is highly effective for treating yeast diaper rash.
Fluconazole is an oral drug that primarily slows down the growth of yeast. Children between the ages of 6 months and 13 years old may take it once daily for two weeks. It is essential that you see your doctor if your baby is under 6 months old and has a yeast diaper rash.
Contact your doctor if you notice severe side effects like nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
Your pediatrician will likely recommend IV medication if the yeast infection has spread around your baby’s body. Some of these IV medicines cause unpleasant side effects, but they are reliable medicine for severe fungal infections.
Home Care and Remedies
Yeast diaper rash can also be managed with a few home care remedies. Proper cleaning, frequent diaper changes, and barrier creams are just a few ways you can treat your baby’s yeast infection. Always remember to consult your healthcare provider since home care remedies are not always safe for your baby.
Candida thrives in moist and warm areas, so frequently changing your baby’s diapers, especially when wet, can help prevent yeast overgrowth in your baby’s diaper area. Using highly absorbent disposable diapers will also create an environment that does not encourage yeast growth.
Giving your child regular diaper-free time allows your baby to stay dry and prevents having too much moisture around their diaper area. Places like your backyard or even around the house are good to let your baby rest without diapers on.
It is important that you properly clean your baby’s diaper area during each diaper change. Avoid using scented baby soaps and lotions, since they can irritate your child’s skin.
You don’t need to use wipes every time you change your baby’s diaper since super-absorbent diapers reduce the amount of urine that comes in contact with your baby’s skin.
For baby girls, it’s advisable to wipe from front to back to prevent yeast infections. For baby boys, use a diaper or cloth to cover the penis and avoid getting sprayed as you carefully clean the creases and folds in the genitals.
Applying barrier creams or diaper rash creams like zinc oxide and petroleum jelly to the affected region can prevent or cure yeast infection. What they do is reduce the moisture in the diaper area.
Natural oil mixtures can alleviate the symptoms of yeast infections. Application of a small amount of oils or vinegar can help to relieve the discomfort of yeast diaper rash on your baby.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before using home remedies to treat or prevent your baby’s yeast infection.
When to See the Doctor
A yeast diaper rash can be easily managed at home, but there are times when you need to visit your doctor.
If you notice that your baby’s rash is bleeding or infected, or if your child is constantly crying and appears ill, you may need the urgent attention of your pediatrician.
You should also bring your baby to the doctor if you notice open sores or the rashes spreading to the arms or face.
Your doctor can identify a yeast infection via a physical exam. In rare cases, dermatologists may need to obtain samples of the affected area to test for a fungal infection in the laboratory.
Yeast diaper rashes usually clear up through use of natural home remedies like frequent diaper changes, air-drying, ointments, and other remedies mentioned above.
There are arguments that cornstarch powder and talcum will help to prevent rashes or cure diaper rashes. However, there hasn’t been any proven relationship between the powders and yeast infection.
In fact, you should avoid using talcum and cornstarch powders to treat your baby’s yeast infection. Talcum can irritate a baby’s lungs if inhaled, and cornstarch may make the rash worse.
In severe yeast infections, your baby’s bloodstream may become contaminated by the Candida yeast and they may develop a serious illness.
Other babies may also experience oral thrush. Chances are that a breastfeeding mom may develop yeast rash on their breast due to infection from their baby’s oral thrush.
Long-lasting thrush is sometimes a result of pacifiers or bottles not being properly boiled to remove the fungus.
Tips that can help you prevent the recurrence of a yeast infection in your baby include:
- Frequently bathe your baby in warm water, and clean their diaper region after each change.
- Avoid rubber pants or tight diapers, because they tend to trap moisture that can encourage yeast growth.
- Change your baby’s wet diapers frequently to avoid fungal infections.
- Let your baby’s buttocks air-dry either naturally or by using soft cloths or dryers to speed up the drying process.
- Double-check your baby’s products (like soaps and creams) to ensure they don’t contain fragrances and substances that can irritate their skin.
- Barrier creams are useful for protecting your baby’s skin from the surface of stool and urine.
- Don’t give your baby unnecessary antibiotics, since they disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria and yeast and can lead to yeast infections.
- Maintain good personal hygiene if your are breastfeeding, and clean your baby’s pacifiers to help your baby avoid oral thrush.
Your baby may get a yeast infection if they wear dirty or wet diapers for too long. Using a number of home remedies and maintaining good hygiene for your baby can help get rid of a yeast diaper rash. If you notice any bleeding, have your baby checked out by a doctor.
A Word From Verywell
Treating yeast diaper rashes isn’t tough, and they can easily disappear days after home care remedies are applied. Making sure your baby stays clean and dry by changing their diapers often and letting them have diaper-free time can also help treat and prevent yeast infections in your baby. If you notice persistent symptoms or complications like bleeding or thrush, see your doctor for help.