Candidiasis is a fungal infection that is caused by a fungus known as Candida albicans. Candida albicans is present normally over the skin, in the vagina, and the gastrointestinal tract of every human. This fungus is of no problem normally; however, it is the overgrowth of this organism that produces the infection.
Children are much more susceptible to suffer from candidiasis because of their weakened immune system and lo resistance to infections. The most commonly occurring yeast infection in children is oral thrush, vaginal yeast infection, and diaper or other skin infections.
Oral thrush is a yeast infection that infects the oral cavity. It is characterized by white patches that coats the tongue, upper wall of mouth, underside of the cheeks, and even involves the lips in severe cases. The white patches often described as curd-like patches and are often confused with the remains of milk. Infant who are breast feeding can also transfer the infection to the mother’s nipple. Oral thrush is commonly transferred to the baby while being delivered. If the mother is suffering from vaginal yeast infection while delivering the baby, the infection gets transferred as the baby travels the vaginal canal. Certain infection such as HIV/AIDS and cancers increases the risk of suffering from oral thrush.
The skin yeast infection can occur anywhere among the body; however Candida albicans prefer the moist areas of the body. For this reason, a diaper rash is much more common. The rash appears as a red, bumpy area of the skin that itches and is severely painful. It can spread to involve a large area and characteristically involve deep within the skin crease as well, which are spared in other skin conditions.
Lastly, the vaginal yeast infection is caused due to an overgrowth of Candida albicans in the vagina. It produces a thick, white, curd-like vaginal discharge. There is also severe itching in the vagina and frequent urination. Vaginal yeast infection is common in children who have a weakened immune system.
One of the major causes that produce all types of candidiasis in children is due to a high intake of antibiotics in this age group. Most children are required to take these antibiotics because of their repeated bacterial infections. Antibiotics weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection.
Furthermore, Candida albicans are fond of sugars and carbohydrates. Children usually have a rich sugar intake which causes the Candida albicans to overgrow in number.