Yeast infections can strike whether you are young or old, male or female, but for babies, the likelihood that one could develop is greater than many realize. Where there is a warm and wet environment, such as in a baby’s diaper, a yeast infection can develop, spread and cause discomfort and pain as it worsens. For baby boys, the little folds in his legs, groin and genitals are ideal environments for a yeast infection to occur.
A yeast infection, or Candidiasis, is a condition caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast. Candida, a type of yeast, naturally lives on body surfaces but can multiply rapidly and cause infection in areas with warmth and moisture.
Before becoming a yeast infection, a diaper rash is marked by red and irritated skin. Once it progresses into a yeast infection, however, the rash will have slightly protruding, irregular borders. Enlarged, bright red patches will consist of small papules and pus-filled blisters. Small red patches, originally near the main rash, will enlarge and blend in with others. A baby boy’s scrotum and penis may become intensely red and scaly, and skin may be dry.
If your son was recently prescribed antibiotics, there is an increased chance for a yeast infection. Antibiotics kill the natural flora in the body that keep Candida controlled, which provides an opportunity for the growth of yeast, and a result of an infection. If your son had a recent bout of thrush in the mouth, it’s possible for the yeast infection to spread to the genital area. This happens when Candida passes through the digestive tract and accumulates at the place of excretion. Also, when a baby sits for prolonged periods in a wet, soiled diaper, Candida can multiply rapidly and develop into a yeast infection.
Keep baby as clean as possible. Always treat diaper rash so it doesn't worsen. Once a yeast infection has been established, however, regular diaper rash cream will not help it. Over-the-counter topical anti-yeast or antifungal cream should treat yeast infections. The pharmacist at your local drugstore can assist you with available medication. If topical cream doesn’t work, and the rash isn’t bettering within three days of the start date, call your child’s doctor.
Prevent diaper rash and yeast infections by using disposable diapers that are made of highly-absorbent material, and change soiled diapers immediately. Also, fasten diapers to provide air circulation around his skin, and let him go without a diaper when possible.
Call a medical professional if your son develops a fever or begins having open sores or discharging yellow liquid at the yeast infection site because these symptoms could indicate a bacterial infection and the need for an antibiotic. Also, notify medical personnel if your son’s penis becomes swollen, red and the foreskin can’t be pulled back. These may be signs of balanitis, a painful condition that can’t be treated with over-the-counter medication.