Children Are Prone To Candida Yeast Infection Problems
Children’s yeast infections are very common. A child with candida can be mislabeled hyperactive or learning disabled by a practitioner who does not fully understand or comprehend the true significance of the pediatric yeast syndrome. Dr. William Crook who authored The Yeast Syndrome certainly did, he was an excellent pediatrician who noticed that many of his young patients would improve significantly once their yeast overgrowth was eradicated. It is a pity that many pediatricians today do not have the same level of clinical experience with intestinal dysbiosis and children’s health that Dr. Crook had.
Children who have candida may manifest multiple allergic syndromes that can affect them on many different levels. These children can even display behavioral and learning difficulties as a result of their individual reactions to foods, chemicals, and preservatives that may well be linked to a candida yeast infection. In my clinical experience, many children do not need drugs like Ritalin after all, particularly if they are first assessed and treated for allergies and carefully screened for candida yeast infections or SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth).
Like Dr. William Crook, I have certainly noticed over the years that children who have both behavioral or learning disabilities as well as a yeast infection display a marked reduction of symptoms once the candida is eliminated, much to their parent’s relief.
Child’s Behavior And Candida
A small, but nevertheless significant percentage of todays children diagnosed as autistic may in fact be victims of a rather severe form of a candida yeast infection.
If the candida infection was successfully treated in these few cases, the symptoms of autism may well show dramatic improvement. It is not uncommon to find that a child with a behavioral problem was treated routinely with antibiotics in the past, for example an ear infection, a cough or a sore throat, and often times they will have been recurrently. Soon thereafter, changes may begin to occur. There could be developmental delays, speech development may stop, and within a few weeks or months the child may become unresponsive and lose interest in his parents and surroundings. The concerned parents then take the child to various specialists, and finally come up with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder.
Worried mothers may have their children in and out of medical clinics and unfortunately there are still doctors who still routinely prescribe antibiotics, despite the fact that not only the malevolent bacteria are destroyed but also the friendly bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus.
The yeast remaining behind now thrives, as they are not susceptible to the influences of antibiotics, and with recurring prescriptions the bacteria left behind become more increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
In addition, children love to eat sweets, and plenty of them including ice creams and all the sugary and yeast promoting foods and are thus a prime target for a candida overgrowth. In the 21st century, your child may be eating foods high in sugar more than at any other time in history. Is it any wonder that many of our children go on to develop all manner of immune and behavioral problems?
Children’s Diets Need Improving To Control Candida
A very important part of candida treatment for children is getting them away from sweets as much as is possible, and a good way to start is by limiting all soda drinks, candy (sweets) and unnecessary food and drink items. This can present a challenge and you will find it an easier task with younger as opposed to older children, believe me. I have four children and know how difficult it can be, but it is achievable, especially if you can offer your child nice fruits such as oranges, bananas, stone fruit like apricots and plums, etc., to get them away from the highly processed sweets. Give them diluted juices to get them away from those sugar laden soda drinks. This is step one, and then you progress over time by giving them fruits that are not quite as sweet like apples, pears and kiwi, and dilute fruit juices down even further. Eventually you switch them to vegetables and herbal teas. It IS possible but takes time, patience and commitment on your behalf as the parent or caregiver. My kids just drank water, flavored with a splash of fruit juice.
How To Recognize The Child Candida Patient
- The case history will often tell you if you are dealing with a child who has candida or not. I regularly have naturopathic students who sit in for observations in my clinic, and I like them to be aware of the importance of case taking when it comes to children in the clinic. A case well taken is a case half solved. “What happened in the past” is probably one of the most important questions you can ask the child’s mother.
- It is surprising when you ask the mother when her child was prescribed antibiotics in relation to her child’s health problem, time and again you will see the relationship between the cause (the antibiotic) and the effect, the bowel, skin, immune, behavioral or other health problem.
- Look for the child who has a strong sweet or sugar craving, careful questioning during the case taking will elicit this crucial information. Whilst it is not true that all children who crave sugar will have candida, it is true that most all children with candida will strongly crave sugary foods.
- Don’t just look for a craving or strong desire for candy or sweets, look for the desire to consume plenty of oranges and orange juice, soda drinks, dried fruits like dates, figs, sultanas or chewing gum, biscuits and a host of other foods high in sugars.
- Look for the child who eats many pieces of fruit each day, especially fruits high in sugar. Fruit has plenty of sugar in it, some more than others.
- If there has been a history of re-current antibiotic use before the onset of the digestive health problem, you can almost guarantee that there will be candida to some degree.
- A child with recurrent worm infestations. Does the child have an itchy anus or complain about “sore tummies” routinely? There could be a sweet craving underlying here again. Suspect a yeast infection as I have often seen these problems combined in children – worms and yeast infections.
- Children who live with one parent, and then spend every second weekend with the other parent. This is often the case with separated or divorced parents, therefore always ask this question: “Does Johnny live with both parents?” It is surprising how many times I have heard: “Oh, no, in fact he lives with his father half the time”. In cases such as this you may find that one or the other parent will spoil the child, and sweets, ice cream or chocolates are high on the list. Sometimes this may occur out of guilt, sometimes out of trying to buy the child’s affection over the other parent, and this is more common than you may think, especially if the split wasn’t amicable.
- Be aware of grandparents. They sometimes feel it is their right to be able to give the child special treats, especially sweets. I have found that when a child stays with their grandparents, or is taken out on excursions to the movies by the grandparent for example, that sweet treats or generally given, like ice creams, soda drinks, sweets, etc. Your child may be told to “not tell your mother or father”, as some grandparents feel it is their right to treat their grandchild to a sweet treat. There may be a behavioral change and a worsening of symptoms when the child is returned to her parents, and in such a case you will want to carefully assess the child’s diet when they have been to stay at grandma’s and ask straight questions.
- Abdominal pain which is “undiagnosable” by the bowel specialist. Think about dysbiosis including parasites and/or yeast infections, once you have concluded there is no fecal (stool) loading or a case of bad constipation, treat for a yeast infection. An abdominal x-ray or ultrasound may be necessary to determine any serious obstruction. Take your child to a certified colon therapist as well, and listen for the feedback. I have more faith in the feedback from a highly experienced colon therapist than a GI medical specialist when it comes to many issues affecting the large bowel, just my experience.
- A child living in a cold, damp or moldy environment who is always sick. He will need to be moved to a better environment before you begin work on the candida eradication. In New Zealand, we have all too many children who live in such homes with drafts, a leaky roof and damp bedrooms with condensation on the windows and a tin layer of almost invisible mold on the ceiling, especially near the window. This is a recipe for a candida yeast infection, and you may find various strains of yeasts, molds and bacteria in such cases in the room, as well as in the child’s body.
- Any child on drugs long-term. Does the child take any asthma drugs like salbutamol (Ventolin) and/or a steroid preventative? Perhaps a recurrent prescription of an analgesic, antidepressant or other medication?I routinely have seen such children with drug-induced illness and suspect that yeast infections are much more common here as well.
- A child with a recurrent bladder or urinary tract infection. Obviously you will want to rule out diabetes of other blood sugar issues, any underlying urinary issues that can be ruled out by an urologist, etc. But, if there are recurrent urinary tract infections or bladder issues then you may want to treat for a yeast infection. You can bet that antibiotics will have been used here routinely, and whenever they are used, a yeast infection is sure to follow.
- A child in a wheelchair or using a catheter regularly. A very much overlooked area with yeast infections is the use of an indwelling urinary catheter, and I’ve seen many children as well as adults with recurring bacterial and fungal issues who have to rely on these to urinate.
- A child with a recurrent ear, nose or throat, respiratory or sinus infection. Once again, suspect antibiotic use and in some cases you will be quite surprised to learn that the child has “never been well” since these antibiotics.
- A child you suspect of being celiac. Always check for a bacterial, yeast or parasitic infection long before you consider a gluten allergy or intolerance, because it is more likely that the child will have an issue with yeast rather than gluten. Does this child crave sweet foods or drinks, is there any history of antibiotic use, has this child travelled or been on holidays before the diagnosis of celiac? Was the celiac diagnosis made based on a small bowel biopsy?
- A child who was breast fed for a several weeks only and then placed on a powdered cow’s milk formula. I’ve seen far too many cases of young children who didn’t get the right amount of immune-boosting breast milk they may well have benefitted from early on in their life, and then went on to develop a respiratory or bowel infection as a result of an allergy. The child was then placed on an antibiotic and consequently developed dysbiosis leading into a yeast infection. Naturopaths see these children daily in their practice.
- The child with the terrible attitude. I have often seen children in my clinic presenting with behavioral problems, no doubt like many naturopaths have, and I am certainly not suggesting that all children with behavioral issues have a candida yeast infection, but a surprising number certainly do! So how do you distinguish between a child with a yeast infection who does not appear to fit in with the family dynamics and a child who for example has autism?
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A Child’s Craving May Point Towards The Problem Food
What I do is look at the child’s diet and how strongly that child craves certain food items as a starting point. Many yeast-affected children will have a craving for certain foods as strong as their attitude, they may even “rule the household” and simply demand certain foods. These are the children with food allergies as well, and an allergy towards sugar. As I mentioned previously,Dr. William Crook (The Yeast Connection) wrote extensively about children, behavioral problems and yeast infections back in the 1980’s, and today this connection is as strong as ever, if not even more so. Today we have high fructose corn syrup that Dr. Crook never heard of, and this stuff has permeated into too many foods, and kids love it. It feeds candida like you wouldn’t believe like fuel feeds a fire.
Children today drink more soda drinks than at any other time in history, their diets are often high in processed and sugar containing foods and it is therefore important that you consider this if your child is simply “impossible” at home. Is your child controlling you? Try withdrawing all sugar from their diet and see what happens, you will notice over time a definite change in their attitude as well as an improvement in their ability to think more clearly, remember that brain fog we spoke about previously?