May also be called: Diaper Rash, Thrush, Oral Thrush, Yeast Infection
Candidiasis (kan-di-DYE-uh-sis) is a fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of the common yeast candida, which is found on everyone's body.
Candidiasis in newborns usually appears as diaper rash. But babies also can develop it in the mouth or throat (called oral thrush, or oropharyngeal candidiasis). This very common infection causes cracks in the corners of the mouth and white patches on the tongue, palate, lips, and insides of the cheeks. Often, these babies picked up the fungus during breastfeeding or from their mother's vagina during delivery.
Candidiasis in the vagina (vulvovaginal candidiasis) is commonly called a yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infections can cause pain, itching, redness, a thick white vaginal discharge, pain during urination, and sometimes whitish patches on the skin of the vaginal area. Yeast infections can happen to any girl, and are not considered sexually transmitted infections.
Thrush in babies is treated with liquid antifungal medicine. Thorough cleaning of all bottle-feeding supplies can help prevent thrush in formula-fed infants. A breastfeeding mom whose nipples are red and sore might be passing the infection back and forth with her baby; in that case, a doctor might recommend antifungal medications.
In most cases, vaginal yeast infections can be prevented by keeping the vaginal area clean and dry. Doctors typically treat them with prescription medication taken by mouth or a vaginal cream, tablet, or suppository; these will clear up the symptoms in a few days and the infection within a week.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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