Diaper Rash

Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/23/2013  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

Have you been troubled by a baby crying out of pain due to a rash around the private parts, with sore, red, scaly, tender skin? Have you been frustrated by the lack of response of this condition to anything and everything that you have tried? Well, you are then dealing with a very common condition faced by most doctors and parents called diaper rash. Mostly it resolves with simple measures. But sometimes, it can become refractory and very difficult to treat. There are various measures to prevent its occurrence which need to be practiced.

What is diaper rash?

Diaper rash or diaper dermatitis is a form of irritant contact dermatitis. An increase in the moisture content in and around the perianal region leads to overhydration of the skin leading further to friction and breaking of the skin.

How does diaper rash appear?

It can involve any site in and around the perianal region, although the folds of skin are usually spared. They appear as red, itchy lesions that can sometimes bleed and even break. Secondary infection with bacteria or yeast can occur commonly.

What are other types of rashes in the nappy area?

One form of rash in the nappy area may be caused by a fungus called Candida Albicans. It is usually mild but has a tendency to recur. One of the causes for its recurrence is that most of these infants carry candida in their intestines and the warm, moist environment of the diaper area predisposes to cause infection. Usually, it occurs as a secondary infection to contact dermatitis. It presents similar to any other form of diaper dermatitis but your doctor will be able to distinguish it from other types of rash. It mainly involves the perianal skin, skin folds, and lower abdomen. Treatment with antifungal cream is required.

What is the cause of diaper rash?

Causes of diaper rash include soiled diapers left for a prolonged period of time, prolonged contact with urine and feces, certain types of soaps and detergents. The introduction of new foods can effect a change in the feces content, predisposing to a diaper rash. Also, diarrhea can worsen the condition.

What is the treatment of diaper rash?

Treatment of diaper rash includes simple measures like application of bland protective barrier agent such as petroleum or zinc oxide paste. If persistent, application of 0.5-1% topical hydrocortisone ointment after each change of diaper, for a limited period of time may be effective. Infection with fungus should be ruled out before using steroids.

How can diaper rash be prevented?

This is one of the most important aspects of infant care. Diaper rash can be easily prevented by keeping the nappy area as clean and dry as possible. Frequent change of diapers should be practiced. While drying the baby, rubbing the skin should be avoided, gentle patting would be appropriate. If cloth diapers are used, then they should be rinsed well before reusing, to remove any soap or detergent that might be left. The barrier creams like zinc oxide paste can be used for prevention also. Hygiene and appropriate cleaning practices can help prevent diaper rash.

Diaper Rash Diaper Rash https://www.pediatriconcall.com/show_article/default.aspx?main_cat=pediatric-dermatology&sub_cat=diaper-rash&url=diaper-rash-patient-education 2015-08-01
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