Recognizing and Treating a Yeast Diaper Rash

Spotting the Signs Is Your First Step Toward Easing Your Infant's Skin

newborn crying during diaper change
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In the early stages, telling the difference between a diaper rash and a yeast diaper rash isn't always easy. By learning the signs, along with some time-tested prevention techniques, you can ensure that your infant's bottom is clean, dry and yeast infection-free. 

What Is a Yeast Diaper Rash?

If your baby is between four and 15 months, it's highly likely he'll have had a handful of diaper rashes by now.

And, unfortunately, they tend to get worse once your baby eats more solid foods. 

When the diaper rash is stubborn, refused to go away despite your best interventions, it may be a yeast diaper rash. This is caused by infection with a yeast (fungus) called Candida, which grows best in warm, moist places (like under a wet diaper, for instance).

Infants who are taking antibiotics, or whose mothers are taking antibiotics while breastfeeding, are more likely to have a yeast diaper rash. Acids in the stool; too-tight diapers; and reactions to soaps or products used to clean cloth diapers are also known culprits. 

Yeast Diaper Rash Symptoms

  • The bold red rash will be contained with a slightly raised border.
  • The rash is still hanging around after two days of diaper rash treatments.
  • Red or scaly areas (for boys: on the scrotum and penis; for girls: on the labia and vagina)
  • Pimples, blisters, ulcers or sores filled with pus 
  • Satellite lesions, or smaller red patches that blend with the other patches

Preventing a Yeast Diaper Rash

  • Let your baby "air out" by going diaper free for half an hour several times a day 
  • Change your baby's diaper as soon as he urinates or passes stool. 
  • Gently clean the diaper area with water with every diaper change. 
  • Pat the area dry or allow to air-dry.
  • Place the diaper on loosely. If they are too tight, they can irritate the baby's skin.
  • Wash your hands before and after changing a diaper.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

To treat a yeast diaper rash you may not need to run to your pediatrician right away. In fact, in  many cases, these yeast infections can be cleared up with the simple application of some over-the-counter topical treatments. 

These three common types of anti-fungal treatment creams are available without a prescription:

  • Nystatin (name brand: Mycostatin)
  • Clotrimazole (name brand: Lotrimin)
  • Miconazole Micatin (name brand: Monistat-Derm)

If the infection does not subside after the four to seven days of treatment often prescribed on the label, it's important to contact the doctor.

It's also imperative to reach out to your pediatrician if your infant develops a fever or the rash begins oozing or has open sores. This could indicate a bacterial infection that requires medical attention.

When to Call the Doctor 

Contact your pediatrician if.

. . 

  • Your baby is less than six weeks old
  • The rash gets worse or doesn't subside 
  • The rash spreads to the abdomen, back, arms or face
  • The rash is accompanied by a fever 
  • You notice pimples, blisters or large sores filled with pus

Source: National Institutes of Health 

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