Here’s How to Tell If Your Toddler Has a Yeast Infection

Toddlers can have yeast infections, just like adults. They can be hard to spot, though, because toddlers often can't tell you about their symptoms.

A common cause of toddler yeast infections is wearing wet diapers for a long time. Urine can change the acidity of the skin, and that may allow yeast to overgrow. An imbalance of bacteria and yeast is also a cause. This can be caused by taking antibiotics. 

Yeast overgrowth can cause a yeast diaper rash that's easily confused with a typical diaper rash. This article looks at the differences, other signs to watch for, and how to treat and prevent yeast infections in your toddler.

toddler on bed

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Yeast Infection vs. Diaper Rash

A yeast infection can be mistaken for a diaper rash, but they’re not the same. A diaper rash is normally a patchwork of inflamed and chapped skin.

Signs that point to a yeast infection include:

  • Deep red inflamed patches with bumps around the edges.
  • Irritation at the front and in skin creases.
  • Diaper rash creams don't clear it up. 

Are Toddler Yeast Infections Contagious?

Yeast infections aren't typically contagious, but breastfeeding can transmit them. Yeast overgrowth can spread from mother to child and vice versa.

Yeast Infection in Toddlers

A yeast diaper rash can spread to other areas of the body. Yeast likes moist areas and skin folds. If you suspect a yeast infection, check your child's:

  • Armpit
  • Mouth
  • Neck

Changing your toddler's diaper frequently is the best prevention. Keep an eye on their training pants or underwear, as well, since they may still have accidents.

Recap

Toddlers can develop yeast infections from wet diapers. They look different from a typical diaper rash and may spread to the armpit, mouth, or neck.

Treating Toddler Yeast Infections

One way to treat yeast infections in your toddler is with an antifungal ointment, like miconazole. These ointments are available over-the-counter (OTC).

Your pediatrician may recommend prescription oral antifungal medications, like fluconazole, if the infection is in their mouth. That's called oral thrush

Generally, yeast infections improve within two weeks of starting treatment. You can speed up your child’s recovery by reducing sugar intake, as yeast feeds on sugar. Adding more vegetables to meals may help, too.

Some people use yogurt to treat yeast infections. It’s best to avoid putting yogurt on your toddler’s rash, though, as it contains sugars.

Instead, consider adding probiotics to your toddler’s diet through Greek yogurt. It's low in sugar and rich in probiotics, so it can boost the bacteria that tamp down the yeast.  

Don't treat your toddler with suppositories unless a healthcare provider says to. Always check with a provider before trying treatments on a baby or toddler. 

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Normally, yeast infections resolve within two weeks of starting treatment. If your child's last longer, take them to see a healthcare provider.

Your child needs immediate medical attention if they have:

  • A rash spreading rapidly across the diaper region
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Pus or fluid coming from the bumps or red skin patches

Recap

Toddler yeast infections can be treated with anti-fungal ointment or oral medication. Less sugar and more vegetables in their diet can clear it up faster. Feed them Greek yogurt but don't put it on the rash. Get medical help for rashes lasting longer than two weeks with treatment.

Prevention

You can prevent yeast infections in your toddler with a few simple changes.

  • Give them more diaper changes and diaper-free time.
  • Wash their bottoms with mild soap after each diaper change and pat them dry with a clean towel.
  • Sterilize pacifiers and bottle nipples in hot water after each use to kill the fungus and prevent oral thrush.

Summary

Toddler yeast infections look different from a typical diaper rash. They may also spread to other moist areas or skin folds.

Treatment may include anti-fungal ointment or oral medication. Feeding them less sugar, more veggies, and Greek yogurt may help, as well.

Get medical help if it doesn't clear up or other symptoms develop. Frequent diaper changes, washing and drying their bottom, and sterilizing bottle nipples and pacifiers can help prevent yeast infections.

A Word From Verywell

Yeast infections in your toddler can make you worry. Rest assured that they're easily treated. Don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician or another healthcare provider. They can help you identify yeast infections and the right ways to treat and prevent them.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. Vaginal yeast infection (thrush): overview.

  3. Horowitz BJ, Edelstein SW, Lippman L. Sugar chromatography studies in recurrent Candida vulvovaginitis. J Reprod Med. 1984;29(7):441-443.

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