WHAT IS VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION?
Vaginal yeast infection in children, also known as vaginal candidiasis is a common female condition. It is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus. See also Home remedies for ringworm.This fungus is a micro organism (meaning that it can only be seen with a microscope) which naturally lives in the vagina. In a healthy vagina the yeast cells co-exist in small numbers with good bacteria called Lactobacillus. The Lactobacillus ensures that the yeast cells do not overgrow.However, if there is a chemical imbalance where by the Fungus, multiplies and outgrows the number of the good bacteria, then vaginal yeast infection occurs.
WHY FOCUS ON CHILDREN?
An adult female would typically be more knowledgeable about her body. She would therefore be quick to raise an alarm or seek medical help if she notices the accompanying symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection. This is usually not the case with children and adolescents, as much damage may have been done, before they would cry for help. It therefore becomes critical for parents (mothers in particular) to be extra observant about the bodies of their children.
SYMPTOMS OF VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION
Severe itching/constant scratching of the genital area.
Red, irritated and inflamed skin around the opening to the vagina (labia)
Pain while urinating when urine touches irritated skin
Burning sensations and irritations especially on hot days.
White, thick and odourless discharge at times foul.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION IN CHILDREN?
1. ANTIBIOTICS INTAKE: Antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria in the vagina allowing yeast to overgrow. loss of appetite:causes
2.POOR GENITAL HYGIENE:
The following unhygienic practices can cause Vaginal yeast Infection in
After using the toilet, many children clean up the wrong way. The tissue paper should be used to wipe from the vagina to the anus (front to back). However, they do the reverse (back to front), thereby introducing faecal matter(poop) into the vagina. This in turn, triggers the overgrowth of yeast in the vagina.
Use of a toilet that was not flushed or properly flushed by the previous user.
Delayed change of soiled diapers by care givers thereby bringing faecal matter in contact with the child’s vagina.
Use of dirty, damp or moist underwear.
3.HIGH INTAKE OF REFINED SUGAR: Refined sugars are found in foods like biscuits, cakes, soft drinks etc. They offer a ready energy source for the Yeast cells to grow and multiply.Fungus thrive in glucose or excess sugar.
4.DIABETES: this is another of cause of Vaginal yeast infection in children. A diabetic child is prone to this infection.
5.INTRODUCING CHEMICALS INTO THE VAGINA: Bathing regularly with soap, water and Antiseptic solutions like Dettol is very good, but these chemicals should not be introduced directly into the inner genital area .The result would be an upset of the pH balance in the vagina, and the subsequent killing of the good bacteria, thereby causing the unchecked growth of the yeast cells.
6.A WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM:When your child’s immune system is weak,she is readily susceptible to diseases and infections and vaginal yeast infections could be one of them.
HOW TO TREAT VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION IN CHILDREN
Treating a vaginal yeast infection in kids ,can relieve symptoms within a few days. In more severe cases, it may take up to two weeks
TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THE PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND DRUG PRESCRIPTION:always make sure you take your child to the doctor, if you notice any kind of abnormality or infection in your child.
GIVE YOUR CHILD FOODS THAT ARE RICH IN Probiotics: Probiotics are foods that help to restore good bacteria(Lactobacillus) in the human body. Give your child lots of yoghurt, and some fermented edible diary foods.Yogurt can be considered a probiotic because it contains live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus.Make sure that the yogurt doesn’t contain added sugar (sweetened yogurt), which fuels growth of the Candida fungus.Fresh palm wine is also a probiotic but should not be given to children because it is alcoholic. see also home remedies for cough
APPLY COCONUT OIL: Studies have shown that coconut oil is effective against C. albicans. To treat a vaginal yeast infection using coconut oil, be sure to buy pure, organic coconut oil. You can apply the oil directly to the affected area with clean hands. see also home remedies for ringworm
MAKE CHILDREN SIT IN WARM WATER FOR RELIEF: after bathing them get mildly hot water and make them sit in for some time ,to get relief.
OVER THE COUNTER TREATMENT (OTC) : some vaginal yeast infection can be treated with over the counter vaginal cream,most large drugstores and supermarkets sell them
Before you use any of these product on your child, please make sure your child has a yeast infection,not a different condition.So it is always better to see your doctor first.
HOW TO PREVENT VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION IN CHILDREN
1.Teach children to always flush the toilet before and after use.
2.Teach them to clean up the proper way, after using the toilet: Front to back. To make it stick, mothers can chant it to their daughters early like a song “CLEAN UP AFTER USING THE TOILET, FRONT TO BACK, FRONT TO BACK”.
3.Change diapers as soon as they are soiled.
4.Avoid washing the inner genital area, with soap. Instead, clean the inner part with only water and rinse well
5.Teach your girl children to always flush the toilet before and after use, and to wipe the seat with toilet paper before sitting on it.
6. Avoid very tight jeans, leggings, pantyhose, underwear and diapers for female children .Dry, airy and loose-fitting, cotton underwear are suitable.
7. Teach children to wash/dry their underwear regularly and properly.
8. Children should not spend extended periods of time in wet clothes or bathing suits. Yeast thrives in warm, moist environment
9. Limit the amount of sugar and processed foods that your children consume. Rather give them lots of fruits,fibres, vegetables and wholesome grain.
10. Change tampons, pads, and panty liners often.
11.Avoid self-medication on children and only use antibiotics when necessary. Best consult your physician.
12. Finally parents should always try and be very vigilant,to notice any change or discomfort in their children,before it gets out of hand.
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