- Things to Know
- Symptoms & Signs
- Diaper Rash
What is oral thrush?
Thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth and throat. Thrush can also be associated with yeast infections of the esophagus. Thrush appears as creamy white curd-like patches on the tongue and inside of the mouth and back of the throat. As mentioned above, in individuals with impaired immune systems, yeast infections are more common. For example, in a non-infant population, thrush may be a sign of an underlying HIV infection. The child may not have any symptoms from the condition or may refuse to eat or swallow because of pain or an unusual feeling in the mouth. Sometimes older children complain of a cottony feeling in the mouth.
Another form of oral yeast infection is angular cheilitis, which is the development of painful fissures at the corners of the mouth. Yeast infection can also involve the tongue and lead to flattening (erosion) of the papillae of the surface of the tongue, along with pain and reddening of the tongue (acute atrophic candidiasis).
What are yeast infections?
What are commonly known as "yeast" infections are caused by various species of a yeast-like fungus called Candida, particularly the species Candida albicans. Yeast organisms are some of the germs (including bacteria) that normally reside on various parts of the body and that ordinarily cause no symptoms or signs.
Why do yeast sometimes cause symptoms and signs?
Certain conditions, such as antibiotic use, may upset the balance of microbes in the body (particularly between the bacteria and fungi) and allow an overgrowth of Candida. Yeast also can thrive in chronically moist folds of skin, such as in the groin.
Yeast infections may flare up and then heal in most people. However, in newborns or individuals with impaired immune systems, yeast can cause more serious or chronic infections.
How do babies get yeast infections?
Many infants acquire Candida infections from their mothers during the process of birth. Yeast exists naturally in the mother's vagina. The baby comes in direct contact with the yeast during delivery through the birth canal.
Many babies who escape this infection at birth soon acquire Candida from close contact with other family members.
What are oral thrush symptoms and signs?
Most common oral thrush symptoms include:
- Thrush is characterized by a white coating or white patches on the tongue, mouth, inner cheeks, and the back of the throat.
- The tissue under the white patches is often red, raw, and sore. Lesions can be painful and even bleed when scraped.
- Oral thrush often looks like cottage cheese or milk curds.
- Bad breath
- Cheilosis (Cracking at the outer edges of the lips)
- Feeling of food stuck in the throat or sore throat
- Strange or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Burning mouth syndrome: Symptoms of a painful burning sensation, mouth dryness, soreness, tingling, or numbness throughout the mouth and tongue. Symptoms can be associated with an abnormal bitter or metallic taste in the mouth.
- In severe cases of thrush, the esophagus (food pipe), which leads down to the stomach, may also be involved. This will cause pain with swallowing, fever, shaking or chills, or difficulty swallowing.
IMAGESSee a picture of thrush in baby as well as other oral health conditions See Images
How do children (and adults) acquire thrush?
Outbreaks of thrush in childcare settings may be the result of an increased use of antibiotics and growth of the yeast normally present in the mouth, rather than newly acquired Candida infections. In children (and adults) taking antibiotics or steroids (such as cortisone-related asthma medications), the balance of the normal microbes in the mouth can be disturbed. This may cause an overgrowth of Candida, which in turn results in oral thrush.
How does yeast affect diaper rash?
Candida may infect an infant's diaper area and worsen a diaper rash. This is because yeast can grow very readily on irritated, moist skin. The infected skin is usually fiery red with areas that may have a raised red border and is usually intensely itchy (pruritic).
Can thumb sucking cause problems with yeast?
Children who suck their thumbs or other fingers may occasionally develop Candida around their fingernails. This causes redness at the edges of the nails.
What is the treatment for thrush and other yeast infections?
Health care professionals usually treat oral thrush and yeast infections, such as Candida diaper rash, with antifungal medicines; these include nystatin (Mycostatin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin), or miconazole (Monistat) either by mouth or in a topical cream. Luckily, most Candida are very sensitive to nystatin, and resistance is rare. There are many topical antifungals available as over-the-counter brands. Oral thrush requires an oral medication that is available by prescription only.
The following tips can help care for children with diaper rash:
- Caregivers should change the child's diapers frequently and gently cleanse the child's skin with water and a mild soap and pat it dry.
- It is important to minimize skin contact with urine and stool.
- Allowing periods of exposure to dry air without wearing a diaper can also be helpful.
- Barrier creams or ointments, such as Desitin or A&D, are helpful. While cornstarch may help mild diaper rash, it should not be used for children with significantly inflamed skin.
- High-absorbency disposable diapers may help keep the skin dry.
- A baby's bottom is very sensitive, so staying dry is very important. Avoid plastic pants that do not allow air to circulate over the diaper area. The diapering system should be able to hold urine or liquid feces.
What should caregivers do if the medication does not effectively treat the yeast infection?
There are some situations when a child may need a different medication to clear a yeast infection. A health care provider may prescribe another type of antifungal cream or oral preparation that may include ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric), fluconazole (Diflucan), or itraconazole (Sporanox).
Should a child with yeast infection be kept out of childcare?
There is no need to remove a child with yeast infection from childcare. Since most healthy people already harbor Candida, children with thrush and Candida diaper rash do not have to be excluded from child care (as long they are able to participate comfortably).
Childcare providers should follow good hygiene, including careful hand washing and disposal of nasal and oral secretions of children with thrush, in order to avoid transmitting the infection to children who may not already be infected.
Are there other names for yeast infection?
Health care professionals refer to a yeast infection as candidiasis because Candida causes the infection. Thrush is another name for oral candidiasis. The old name for Candida was Monilia. The infection is still sometimes called moniliasis, and thrush is still at times known as oral moniliasis.
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Thrush and Other Candida Infections." HealthyChildren.org. Oct. 21, 2020. <https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/infections/Pages/Thrush-and-Other-Candida-Infections.aspx>.
Top Thrush and Other Yeast Infections in Children Related Articles
Breastfeeding (and Formula Feeding)It's important to know whether you will breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby prior to delivery, as the breasts' ability to produce milk diminishes soon after childbirth without the stimulation of breastfeeding. Breast milk is easily digested by babies and contains infection-fighting antibodies and cholesterol, which promotes brain growth. Formula-fed babies actually need to eat somewhat less often since formula is less readily digested by the baby than human milk. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of feeding.
Candidiasis (Moniliasis) PictureDisease caused by the yeast Candida albicans. Candida albicans can cause vaginal yeast infections, diaper rash, skin rashes that emerge in moist, warm folds of skin, and thrush (white patches inside the mouth and throat). Candidiasis tends to develop when the normal balance of bacteria is upset, as sometimes occurs with the use of antibiotics. Prevention measures include the use of probiotics, and in some cases, dietary changes. Candidiasis can be treated with antifungal medications. Candidiasis is usually a minor and easily addressed problem, but it can be an important problem for those with immune-system disorders, such as AIDS.
Diabetes Symptoms in WomenDiabetes symptoms in women include vaginal itching, pain, or discharge, loss of interest or pain after having sex, polycystic ovarian syndrome (POS), and urinary tract infections or UTIs (which are more common in women. Symptoms of diabetes that are the same in women and men are excessive thirst and hunger, bad breath, and skin infections, darkening of skin in areas of body creases (acanthosis nigricans), breath odor that is fruity, sweet, or acetone, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, blurred vision, fatigue, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, wounds that heal slowly, irritability, and weight loss or gain.
Complications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same, for example, skin, eye, and circulation problems, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), ketoacidosis, and amputation. If diabetes is not managed a person may not survive.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and non-prescription drugs and certain medical conditions. Symptoms of dry mouth include a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, frequent thirst, sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth, cracked lips, a dry feeling in the throat, a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, and a dry, red, raw tongue.
IntertrigoIntertrigo is a rash, usually found in skin folds, that is caused by rubbing, increased temperature, and moisture. Affected areas may be treated with a weak topical steroid and barrier cream.
Itching (Pruritus)Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching including infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Skin RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
What Is the Fastest Way To Get Rid of a Yeast Infection?Learn what medical treatments can help ease your yeast infection symptoms and speed up your recovery. Learn how to safely get rid of a yeast infection while pregnant.
Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the Candida fungus. Symptoms of thrush include pain or difficulty swallowing, a feeling that food gets stuck in the throat, and fever. Treatment of thrush depends on the cause and severity of the infection. Infants, toddlers, and children with thrush often do not require treatment.
Tongue ProblemsThere are a variety of diseases and conditions that can cause tongue problems, discoloration, and soreness. Though most tongue problems are not serious. Conditions such as leukoplakia, oral thrush, and oral lichen planus may cause a white tongue while Kawasaki syndrome, scarlet fever, and geographic tongue may cause the tongue to appear red. A black hairy tongue may be caused by overgrown papillae on the tongue. Canker sores, smoking, and trauma may cause soreness of the tongue.
Mouth Problems: TMJ, Canker Sores, Painful Gums and MoreSores, painful gums, bad breath -- what's going on in your mouth? Find out with our slideshow of the most common mouth problems. Learn about canker sores, cold sores, oral thrush, TMJ, and oral cancer. See what treatments for bad breath and other dental problems are available from your dentist.
Yeast Infection QuizHow much do you know about vaginal yeast infections? Learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of a yeast infection with the Vaginal Yeast Infection Quiz.
Yeast Infection vs. Diaper Rash in Infants, Toddlers, and ChildrenDiaper rash in infants, babies, toddlers, and children is caused by Candida, the most common type of fungus. Signs and symptoms of diaper rash includes red, elevated skin that may be visible under and in the creases of the skin, groin, or anus. Yeast diaper rash is not painful. Treatments for diaper rash include antibiotic creams, lotions, natural home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, and oral antibiotics. Yeast infections in infants, babies, toddlers, and children can cause diaper rash and thrush. Signs and symptoms of thrush include thick, white lacy patches on top of a red base that can form on the tongue, palate, or elsewhere inside the palate. Treatment for yeast infections caused by Candida fungi are similar to the treatments for diaper rash. If Candida gets into the bloodstream of an individual they may get sick with or without a fever. If the Candida infection spreads throughout the body up to 45% of people may die. Even with common mouth thrush can cause critical illness and may be more resistant to normal treatment.