Yeast Diaper Rash Symptoms and Treatment

Spotting the Signs of a Baby's Yeast Infection

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Most diaper rashes are caused by sensitive skin, infrequently changed diapers, not fully cleaning or air drying the diaper area, and/or chafing. But a yeast diaper rash can also develop due to a yeast infection—or some combination of all of the above.

It's not always easy to identify a yeast diaper rash, but it does matter when it comes to treating a sore, red little bum and preventing future infections. Use this guide to diagnosing and treating a yeast diaper rash. 

Diaper rash

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

What Is a Yeast Diaper Rash?

A yeast diaper rash is a yeast infection in the diaper area. The strain of yeast that's responsible for diaper rash is called Candida. This fungus grows best in warm, moist places—such as on the skin inside a wet or soiled diaper (babies can also get yeast rashes in the folds of their necks and under their arms).

If your baby is taking antibiotics, or if you are taking antibiotics while breastfeeding, they are more likely to get a yeast diaper rash. If you or your baby develops thrush, this can lead to a yeast diaper rash (or vice versa).

Other common causes of yeast diaper rash include frequent bowel movements, acids in the stool, too-tight diapers, hot and humid conditions, and reactions to soaps or products used to clean cloth diapers.

Yeast Diaper Rash Symptoms

The symptoms of a yeast diaper rash include:

  • Bold-red rash contained within a slightly raised border
  • Pimples, blisters, ulcers, or sores filled with pus 
  • Rash only under the diaper, not spreading to other areas
  • Red or scaly areas on the scrotum and penis, or on the labia and vulva
  • Satellite lesions, or smaller red patches that connect to the other patches

If your baby's symptoms are sticking around after a few days of using the standard diaper rash treatments—changing diapers promptly, gently cleaning and air drying the diaper area, and using over-the-counter creams—it's a good indication that yeast may be the culprit.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

You may not need to take your baby to the doctor to treat yeast diaper rash, but it's a good idea to contact them if you have any questions or concerns—and to make sure your baby does, in fact, have a yeast infection. In many cases, such infections can be cleared up with over-the-counter topical treatments, in addition to basic diaper care remedies.

Three easy-to-find anti-fungal creams are Mycostatin (nystatin), Lotrimin (clotrimazole), and Monistat-Derm (miconazole micatin). Ask your pediatrician for a recommendation if you aren't sure which to use. 

If the infection does not subside after the four to seven days of treatment often prescribed on the label, contact your baby's doctor. They may recommend a 1% hydrocortisone cream for severe rashes.

When to Call the Doctor

Reach out to your pediatrician if your baby develops a fever or the rash begins oozing or has open sores, pimples, or blisters. This could indicate a bacterial infection that requires medical attention.

If your baby is less than 6 weeks old, it's best to be on the safe side and call the doctor to ensure you are treating the rash properly and that there isn't anything else going on. Diaper rashes that get worse, don't subside with time or treatment, or spread to the abdomen, back, arms, or face require medical attention.

If your doctor recommends an office visit, they will often diagnose the rash just by looking at it. There is also a simple test they may do to confirm that it is yeast. Called the KOH test, it involves lightly scraping the area and looking at it under a microscope to see if yeast is present.

How to Prevent Yeast Diaper Rashes

Keeping your baby's bottom clean and dry is the best prevention and treatment for yeast diaper rash. These tips can help you keep your baby rash-free in the future:

  • Avoid baby wipes that have perfumes or alcohol.
  • Change your baby's diaper as soon as it gets wet or dirty.
  • Clean the diaper area gently with water at every diaper change. 
  • Fasten diapers just tight enough so they stay put, and make sure your baby is in the correct size. Diapers that are too tight can irritate the skin.
  • If you use cloth diapers, rinse two or three times in the washer and avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
  • Let your baby's diaper area air out by going diaper-free for half an hour several times a day. 
  • Pat the area dry or allow to air-dry before putting on a new diaper.
  • Use absorbent diapers that keep moisture off your baby's skin.
  • Use breathable diaper covers instead of plastic or rubber pants over cloth diapers.
  • Wash your hands before and after changing a diaper.

If you or your baby are taking antibiotics, be extra diligent with these prevention measures.

A Word From Verywell

It can be very distressing to open up your baby's diaper to see an angry rash on their bottom. You may feel guilty and responsible for the rash, since you're the one changing your baby's diapers. However, know that diaper rashes (yeast and otherwise) are very common in babies. Even with diligent care and caution, some babies may still develop diaper rashes.

Caring for a baby is all-consuming—and an occasional wet or dirty diaper can easily go unnoticed for long enough to cause a rash, particularly if your child has sensitive skin. Let go of the blame and focus on healing your baby's bottom—and preventing future outbreaks—instead.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Taudorf EH, Jemec GBE, Hay RJ, Saunte DML. Cutaneous candidiasis - an evidence-based review of topical and systemic treatments to inform clinical practice. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019; doi:10.1111/jdv.15782

  3. Jain A, Jain S, Rawat S. Emerging fungal infections among children: a review on its clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and preventionJ Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2010;2(4):314–320. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.72131

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By Jennifer White
Jennifer White has authored parenting books and has worked in childcare and education fields for over 15 years.