Thrush and Other Yeast Infections in Children
Medical Author: David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
View Full Profile Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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What are commonly known as “yeast” infections are caused by various species of a yeast-like fungus called , particularly the species . Yeast organisms are part of the germs (including bacteria) that are normally found on various parts of the body and which ordinarily cause no symptoms.
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 . 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.
Many infants acquire infections from their mothers during the process of birth. Yeast exists naturally in the mother’s vagina. When the child is delivered through the birth canal, the baby comes in direct contact with the yeast.
Many babies who escape this infection at birth soon acquire from close contact with other family members.
Thrush is yeast infection of the mouth and throat. Thrush can also be associated with yeast infection 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 noninfant population, thrush may be a sign of underlying HIV infection.