A yeast infection is a fungal infection that occurs due to an overgrowth of the yeast cells such as Candida albicans. These fungi exist in a low concentration in the gastrointestinal tract among other, good bacteria, and when the number of yeast cells starts to grow rapidly, the yeast cells from the feces may get in contact with the skin and cause an infection. This superficial infection leads to a diaper rash, which causes the skin tissues to soften and break down around your baby's buttocks.
What Does a Yeast Infection Rash Look Like?
A yeast infection diaper rash has an appearance similar in some ways to a rash caused by urine or diarrhea. The skin is red, irritated and raised, and in some cases, fluid accumulates under it. However, the rash is typically made up of a larger central area and several satellite pustules, which are characteristic of a yeast infection but won't occur if a rash is caused by the baby's urine or stool. The rash may appear on the baby's buttocks, thighs, genitals, skin folds or the tummy. The diaper rash may be accompanied by an oral yeast infection.
Is It a Yeast Infection?
Even if a yeast infection diaper rash looks very much like a regular diaper rash, you should check for the satellite pustules that are indicative of a yeast infection. A foul odor to the skin signals a severe yeast infection. If in doubt, visit your pediatrician, who can clearly determine if your baby has a yeast infection.
Yeast Infection Treatment
Your pediatrician may recommend a topical antifungal cream. Over-the-counter creams including miconazole, nistatin or clotrimazole are available.
In addition to applying the cream as directed, you should reduce moisture in the affected areas. Change the baby's diaper as soon as he or she eliminates any urine or feces, dry the area and allow it to breathe, which can speed up the recovery.
Switch to disposable diapers if you are using cloth diapers, at least while the baby is recovering, because disposable diapers pull moisture away from the skin and keep the baby's buttocks dry. Moisture only facilitates the reproduction and development of the infection. Also make sure to disinfect your diapers before using them again. The best way to rid your diapers of any yeast is to boil them in hot water on the stove for fifteen minutes.
Increase the baby's intake of probiotics, if possible. Give him or her yogurt, which reduces the number of yeast cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
The treatment may take 4 to 7 days but could take longer, depending on the severity of the infection. If the infection is severe, your doctor may recommend treatment with oral antifungal drugs; however, the administration of antibiotics can increase the number of fungi, so this type of treatment is not often recommended.
When to See a Doctor
If the infection is mild, the rash may be treated with over-the-counter topical ointments. However, if the diaper rash doesn't go away within a week despite treatment, you should see a doctor to learn about and begin a better course of treatment. If your baby has an oral yeast infection, this may affect your nipples when you are breastfeeding, so you need to contact your doctor and get a few baby-safe ointments for your breasts along with the baby's treatment.