What is Intertrigo?
Intertrigo is the inflammation or rash caused by skin-to-skin friction, mostly around the warm, and moist areas of the body like the underarms, folds of skin on the abdomen, groin, etc. It is a very common form of skin rash formed by the breakdown of the top layers of the skin when the skin is rubbed against each other. The most common areas of getting Intertrigo includes:
- Between the toes
- In the groin area
- The underside of the belly or the breasts
- Crease of the neck
- Between the thighs
- Between the buttocks
The Intertrigo symptoms vary from individual to individual depending upon their skin type, area of the body, the intensity of the rash, bacteria build-up, etc. Some of the common symptoms have been listed below for your understanding:
- Reddish-brownish rash on the skin
- Burning sensation on the area of the skin
- Itchiness on the area affected
- Tingling sensation that feels painful at times
P.S. Intertrigo can cause a foul odor, crack the skin, or cause bleeding. The severity of the infection keeps on increasing as one ignores the rashes for long periods.
Who is at Risk?
Intertrigo risk factors differ from individual to individual depending on their skin sensitivity, health conditions, etc. Some skin conditions increase the risk of getting Intertrigo in people. Certain red flags for when one might be at risk are:
- Anyone who is overweight or obese
- People with diabetes are more prone to skin rashes
- People with an artificial limb, splint or braces
- Exposure to heat or humidity
- People who sweat excessively
- Poor hygiene
- People with the suppressed immune system due to medical treatments or therapies
Intertrigo causes differ from individual to individual as the inflammation of the skin is caused and may worsen due to a variety of factors. However, we have discussed some possible causes for you down below:
- Moisture in the skin
- Lack of air circulation between the skin
- Friction in the skin folds
Intertrigo is often accompanied by infection and skin problems like:
- Bacteria or fungus build-up on the skin
- Yeast infection
In case of skin infections, the rashes become painful and irritating and therefore require immediate doctor attention.
How is Intertrigo diagnosed?
For Intertrigo diagnosis, a doctor will perform a set of tests and exams to look out for certain things:
- Firstly, the doctor will conduct a physical examination of the skin to understand the severity of the rashes and look at the condition it is in. This will help the dermatologist identify if it’s the only Intertrigo or is accompanied by some infection of skin problems.
- A thorough examination is then done to examine the bacteria, yeast or fungus build upon the rash
- Some doctors can even ask for some blood or skin tests to be conducted to understand the underlying cause of Intertrigo
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How is Intertrigo treated?
Intertrigo treatment is done based on dermatologists’ examination and tests are undertaken.
- If your Intertrigo is not too extreme, the doctor may ask to just keep the area dry and exposed to the air.
- A topical cream may be advised to reduce the inflammation and create a barrier that protects the skin from irritants
- If the Intertrigo is accompanied with some skin infection, doctors advise the usage of medicine for intertrigo i.e. antifungal and antibiotic creams or ointments to treat the bacteria or fungus build-up
- Sometimes oral medications are advised when the Intertrigo is a recurring condition across different parts of the body
How can Intertrigo be prevented?
Intertrigo prevention can be done with a number of simple steps.
- Maintain hygiene and cleanliness: Shower and maintain cleanliness every day. Keep your skin cool and dry all the time.
- Avoid tight clothes: Avoid wearing tight clothes or shoes. Always opt for breathable fabrics and loose-fitted clothes
- Quality and good undergarments: Wear a bra with good support and undergarments that are made of breathable fabric
- Open toe-footwear: Consider wearing open-toe footwear to allow more breathability in the legs
- For infants with diaper rash, change diapers more frequently help
- Overweight people can lose weight to control rash problems
- Skincare Products: Use more natural skincare products that are skin-friendly