Is it possible for children to get yeast infections?

Q: I have a healthy 9-year-old daughter who has a vaginal rash that resembles a yeast infection. There is no discharge. Is it possible for children to get yeast infections?

Is it possible for children to get yeast infections?
Is it possible for children to get yeast infections?

A: Nancy Snyderman, M.D., F.A.C.S: In women, the cardinal sign of a vaginal yeast infection is a white cottage cheese-like discharge. Given your daughter’s young age and the lack of discharge, it is doubtful she has a vaginal yeast infection. They rarely occur in girls so young.

I am guessing that when you say a vaginal rash, you are referring to a rash on or around the vulva. Candida, the organism that causes yeast infections, can also proliferate on the skin, creating a rash. This is a common cause of diaper rash in babies, but it is much less common in older children. Many other things can cause an external rash, including tight jeans and a reaction to soap, bubble bath or other cosmetics. It could be something slightly more serious, too.

The best way to find out is to bring your daughter to the pediatrician, who can probably do a far better sleuthing job than you or I. Even with a doctor’s help, you may never learn the cause and the rash may go away, with or without treatment. But it is a good idea to have it checked out.