By Michael Biamonte, C.C.N.
First of all let me begin by answering the question, “What is … a yeast infection in a child?” To answer that you must understand a little bit about our digestive system. I am sure some of you have heard of the friendly bacteria that live in our intestinal tract. There are many strains of these organisms. An important one for humans is the Lactobacillus family. The most well known of these is probably Acidophilus. You may be familiar with yogurt containers broadcasting that they contain “live cultures” or “active cultures”. You may have heard that yogurt is a healthy food. Well, this is why. Yogurt contains Acidophilus which is vital for our digestive system to function properly. However Acidophilus does not appear as a major part of the intestinal bacteria until a child is about 7 years old.
Now, there are many different types of these friendly bacteria and an important function of theirs is to prevent an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This balance of friendly to unfriendly bacteria in the intestinal tract is so important that having the correct balance is synonymous with good physical health.
Another, perhaps insidious, organism that lives on our intestinal tract is called Candida Albicans, otherwise known as intestinal yeast. This organism lives as a yeast in our intestinal tracts but can change forms and become a fungus if it is allowed to overgrow. Lactobacillus (a friendly bacteria) normally feeds on Candida, keeping its numbers low. Lactobacillus is commonly found in yogurt, kefir, breast milk, miso (a soybean paste) and other foods. When antibiotics, cortisone medications, birth control pills, chemotherapy and drugs or alcohol are ingested, the Lactobacillus is destroyed and the Candida Albicans may then multiply. It grows like a weed, killing other helpful organisms and helping parasites and other harmful bacteria grow.
Children are now a target for Candida overgrowth. Many are born with it or develop it after their first exposure to antibiotics.
A pregnant woman may experience an increase in Candida growth due to hormonal changes normal to pregnancy. If she already has Candida or is very susceptible, an outbreak may occur in the birth canal. The baby will then contract it and become infected as it passes through the birth canal.
Severe diaper rash, rectal rashes or infections, rashes in the genital area, and colic are the most common symptoms in babies. Thrush, rashes, infections of the ear, nose, and throat, gas, diarrhea or constipation are all possible indicators.
Food allergies are common. These are, in reality, reactions due to the excess yeast growth. Asthma or eczema is also a common indicator of Candida.
When you have a yeast infection in a child, it is very important to use only non-toxic natural substances to kill the yeast overgrowth. Children are not developed physically to handle toxic drugs. The treatment must be gentle. Natural remedies which change the intestinal environment to one that is yeast-killing should be used. Strong herbs which kill yeast and cause toxic waste from dead yeast may be too hard on children. They may become ill as the yeast is dying.
When it is confirmed that the child’s yeast is eliminated through proper testing, Bifidus bacteria must be given to establish friendly protective bacteria. ACIDOPHILUS IS NEVER GIVEN TO A CHILD UNDER 7 YEARS OLD. Acidophilus may cause a child to produce excess lactic acid which can lead to mineral deficiencies, digestive problems, and fatigue.
When the bacteria has been re-introduced, proper testing must be done to determine vitamin and mineral deficiencies. While yeast is still present, Vitamin D, copper, calcium and B vitamins (even yeast-free) can spread the yeast by giving it what it needs to grow. When the yeast is gone, and replaced by friendly bacteria, the child’s digestion will be in good enough shape to digest and use vitamins.
Vitamins are essential in developing the child’s immune system. Vitamins A, C, zinc, magnesium, and essential fatty acids are vital to keeping a child’s immune system strong so that antibiotics will not be relied on.
The Child’s Diet
A child with yeast must avoid milk and yogurt, as they contain milk sugar. Milk sugar will feed yeast, create congestion, mucus, and weaken the child’s immune system. Candida also feeds on sugar and refined carbohydrates like: white bread, cake, candy, etc. So these foods should be avoided as well.
Hyperactive or Candida?
A child with Candida is often mislabeled hyperactive or learning disabled by misinformed people who seek to put children on dangerous drugs.
Ritalin is a common drug given to hyperactive or learning disabled children. Ritalin has been implicated in the rise of drug addiction and suicide in children. It is highly addictive. It has also been found that children on Ritalin tend to become more involved with other addictive drugs as well. Many times children who have Candida manifest a multiple allergic syndrome. These children display behavioral and learning difficulties due to reactions to foods, chemicals, and preservatives. This situation also has been linked to Candida infection, not the need for these dangerous psychiatric drugs. It has been reported that children who have both behavioral or learning disabilities and Candida infection display a marked reduction of symptoms once the Candida is eliminated.
One study by the Candida Research Foundation showed that out of 167 institutionalized patients, 163 of them had Candida. I personally have seen many patients who were incorrectly labeled as having psychiatric disorders at an early age, who then ended up on dangerous psychiatric drugs; where in reality, the underlying cause was Candida infection and allergies.
If your child displays any of the characteristics or symptoms mentioned here, it is vital that you have the child checked by an experienced practitioner for allergies and Candida. Not only can you spare your family and your child years of hardship, but you can also vastly increase the quality of life by understanding what is happening with your child’s health.