When a child has a yeast infection, the most important thing is to get him or her feeling better as soon as possible. Remedies for yeast infection in kids often include powerful oral or topical prescription anti-fungal medications, but these can have strong side effects. For parents who wish to find a gentler alternative, there are some options to consider.
Natural Yeast Infection Remedies
A yeast infection is simply an overgrowth of yeast in or on the body. More familiar terms for yeast infections that children might get are thrush (in the mouth) and diaper rash (severe forms of rash are actually often yeast infections). Yeast infections may also appear on other areas of the skin, vaginally or under the nails.
Children of all ages can get yeast infections, and they're commonly caused when a child has been on antibiotics, which kill both bad bacteria and the good ones that normally keep yeast overproduction in check. Antibiotics should not be discontinued before treatment is complete without first consulting a physician.
Following is a list of remedies for yeast infections in kids. To avoid irritation, never use essential oils directly on the skin. Dilute them with a carrier oil such as olive, grape seed or almond oil.
Natural News reports that lavender oil may be better at treating fungal infections than prescription antifungal creams. Research shows lavender oil has strong antifungal properties against Candida albicans, a primary cause of yeast infections.
Also known as pot marigold, calendula cream (which contains calendula oil) is a tried and true homeopathic remedy for yeast infections, especially on the diaper area. It not only has powerful antifungal properties but it's also soothing to the skin. Calendula cream can usually be found in most drugstores or natural health stores.
The University of Maryland Medical Center lists rinsing with tea tree oil as a potential herbal remedy for thrush. You can purchase pre-made tea tree oil mouthwash or make your own. However, because the oil is extremely toxic when ingested, this remedy should only be used on children old enough to not swallow the mixture.
Studies show lemongrass essential oil has strong antifungal effects against Candida. To use on an external yeast infection, combine a few drops of pure essential lemongrass oil with one ounce of carrier oil and apply to the affected area.
Used for centuries to treat skin infections, chamomile is known for having antifungal benefits. Look for chamomile cream to apply directly to the infected area on the skin or add a chamomile tea bag to your child's warm bathwater for soaking.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chamomile tea is perfectly safe for infants and children, so to help relieve thrush have your child rinse with or drink the tea. Although little research has been performed on humans showing chamomile to be effective against yeast infection, many people have had success using the herb as a natural remedy. Please note that people allergic to ragweed or any member of the daisy family may also be allergic to chamomile.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Rinsing the mouth with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water is believed to help treat oral thrush. A daily soak in a warm bath containing two cups of apple cider vinegar can help relieve skin yeast infection symptoms. For best results, use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
This product is inexpensive and soothing to almost any type of skin condition. While it may not cure a yeast infection, it can be mixed into a warm bath or made into a paste and applied directly for symptom relief.
Natural Care Tips
While it's impossible to prevent all yeast infections from occurring in children, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk.
- Yeast thrives in warm, damp environments so it's important to change a child's diaper frequently and leave it loose so air can circulate.
- Avoid dressing your child in tight clothing.
- Feed your child an organic yogurt containing natural probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Bifdobacterium which can help fight off yeast overgrowth, especially if your child is taking antibiotics.
- Since yeast also thrives on sweet ingredients, limit the number of sweets and processed foods your child eats, including foods high in refined carbohydrates. This also applies to you if you are breastfeeding.
Soothe the Skin Naturally
The best way to treat a yeast infection in kids is to work hard to make sure they don't get them in the first place. But if your child does end up with one, there are natural treatments that can help soothe the skin and treat the infection.
Keep in mind that some children may have a negative reaction to herbs or essential oils. To avoid this and to make sure your child does truly have a yeast infection, consult a certified naturopath or your physician for exact dosage amounts before trying any of the above remedies.