One of the most common causes of discomfort in babies is due to diaper rash. These angry red rashes which many moms are familiar with can often be caused by a combination of problems that result in chafing and the subsequent rash and soreness.
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Most diaper, or nappy rash as it is known in some parts of the world, is more commonly due to either a wet or feces soiled diaper chafing the skin, or wet skin being chafed by a clean diaper. The most obvious solution to this problem is to make sure that diapers are changed frequently and that the genital region is completely dry before putting a clean diaper on.
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Yet there can be other causes of diaper rash and diaper rash in itself can become a cosy home for Candida if the conditions are right.
Sometimes the skin of a baby can react to the chemical detergents you add to a wash and diaper rash can be triggered. Others may even be sensitive to baby wipes which have become very popular. Be careful with the chemicals which come into indirect contact with the skin because being overcautious about bacteria and infections can ultimately cause them.
Yet no matter how diaper rash appears what can result is a yeast infection. Warm, moist dark and airless diapers together with skin which is already chafed and irritated can provide yeast infections the ideal environment in which to set up home and this is much more difficult to eradicate than normal diaper rash.
Another way in which yeast diaper rash can actually be induced is if baby has been exposed to antibiotics. As we know these drugs can alter the intestinal microflora and babies are no different. If your baby has been given antibiotics to treat another condition then be aware that diaper rash could manifest as a direct result. An infection induced diaper rash can also happen if Mom is being treated with antibiotics and is still breastfeeding baby because the drug is transferred through the milk.
Diaper rash caused by a yeast infection will often appear and spread no matter how dry the diaper area is kept or how often it is changed. And, when it comes to telling the difference between ordinary diaper rash and that caused by yeast infection, there are some subtle differences. Often you will find that the yeast infection variety is accompanied by red spots around the main lesion of infection which are known as satellite infections. You may also find distant spots specifically in the genital region. Yeast infection diaper rash may often appear only in the genital area or groin folds of skin rather than on the buttocks which is more common with normal irritations. It may also result in baby producing discharge in both girls and boys which can be identified as a creamy deposit either around the vagina or at the tip of the penis.
As standard practice there are several ways in which you can both prevent and clear up diaper rash:
Keep a watchful eye for baby becoming more agitated during diaper changes. Often a grumpy child will tell you the area is getting sore before there are visible changes to the skin.
Make sure you ‘air dry’ babies bottom as often as possible. Leave off any diapers or underclothing when convenient to ensure the area is exposed to fresh air.
If you are breastfeeding and have been prescribed antibiotics discuss with your clinician the alternatives during this period and for several weeks after the course of treatment has ended.
Try not to use too many detergents or chemicals when cleaning both diapers and the baby.
Consider using a hair dryer on a warm but not hot setting to dry off baby before putting on a clean diaper. Remember to check the heat at all times, use it at a distance and keep baby’s fingers out of the way!
If there is an obvious reaction to powders, cremes or wipes then cease to use them immediately.
Keep a particular watchful eye out if baby develops diarrhea. This often happens when new foods are introduced. Feces will irritate skin more severely than urine.
Make sure both clothes and diapers are not too tight. Even if they are clean and dry, constricting materials can often rub raw the very soft and delicate skin.
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Diaper rash often clears up by itself if the above guidelines are followed. However if it is more resistant and is still causing problems then consider that a yeast infection may be the underlying cause. In my next segment I will be discussing what you can do to clear up diaper rash when it is due to yeast infection rather than other problems.