Intertrigo is the condition when there is inflammation in the folds of the body. It is a viral/bacterial/fungal infection that grows in the fractures of the skin because of inflammation. The frequent manifestation of intertrigo is called candidal intertrigo. This skin condition can be experienced in the areas that are moist and fatty with folds such as the genitals, inner thighs, armpits, inside and underside of the belly, under the breasts, belly folds and even behind the ears, and in between fingers and toes.
People who are overweight and obese are more vulnerable to intertrigo, so are the ones who don’t remain hygienic. People with diabetes are also at a great risk of contracting intertrigo. The ones who are bed ridden, use artificial support such as artificial limbs and other medical devices are also more prone to this skin condition. In infants, this condition can be seen due to too much diaper use. The inflammatory condition worsens with the increasing moisture, humidity, heat, and friction, and further by candidal infection and can remain throughout the life.
Who gets intertrigo?
People irrespective of their race, age or gender are equally vulnerable to intertrigo but the ones with obesity and diabetes need to watch out. Some other factors are:
- Genetic tendency of contracting various skin diseases
- Too much sweating, also known as Hyperhidrosis
- People living in hot and humid environments
The symptoms are many, but some prominent ones are:
- Reddish raw looking sores that might itch or ooze puss
- Rashes that are red, pink or brown in color
- Foul smell and possible bleeding from the affected area
- Skin cracks and gets crusty
- The symptoms can change according to the skin type and area. For instance; in case of Erythema and weeping the chances of maceration and crusting are higher
- Erosion and Fissuring of the affected area
- Infection from the Pustules or vesicles
- Stains that are bluish-green around the diaper area
Intertrigo can be of three types:-
The causes of intertrigo are mechanical as well as pathological such as secondary infections. Heat, moisture and friction of certain body parts adds to the process by causing erosion or friction that further results in inflammation. Body fluids such as sweat, blood, or vaginal discharge can aggravate the situation. Infants are also quiet vulnerable to intertrigo because of their chubbiness and flexed body posture.
Some main causes of intertrigo are as follows:
- Moisture, Heat and Lack of air circulation
- Rubbing or Friction of skin folds
- Yeast, Bacterial and fungal infections
- Germs growing in warmer and moist parts of the body
A person is more likely to develop intertrigo if he/she :
- is obese
- is diabetic
- has artificial limbs, splint or brace
- lives in a hot and humid weather
- sweats excessively
- has a Poor hygiene
- is malnutritioned
- has skin diseases such as psoriasis
The flexural skin has microorganisms living on it. These include yeast, corynebacteria and other bacteria and yeasts. They multiply in environments or places that are warm moist environments. Intertrigo can be infectious and inflammatory in its origin but chances are that there will be an overlap. Infections can either be unilateral or asymmetrical. The Inflammatory intertrigo affects areas such as abdomen folds, groin, armpits, area and the area under the breasts. It generally harms skin’s top layer with a combination of heat, moisture, friction and bacteria, or fungus in the folds of various body parts.
In the early stages the diagnosis depends on the symptoms. However some investigations that can be done to determine the cause of intertrigo are given below:
- Microbiology, in which a there is a swab for microscopy and culture of bacteria
- Mycology, which includes the scraping for microscopy and culture of fungi
- Skin biopsy: usually done for histopathologyin an extreme or unusual skin condition and when the person can no more respond to the treatment.
This skin condition can be treated by getting rid of related infections and by keeping the area dry and clean to keep the skin’s integrity. Losing weight in the cases of obese people may also be of great help. Relapses rate of intertrigo is high and it needs constant care of a dermatologist. One should also try to keep the affected area open and exposed to the air.
Various ointments such as Barrier ointments like topical zinc oxide, can be used for diaper rash. Other names include anti-fungal creams like Desitin,, clotrimazole, balmex. Hydrocortisone creams are also beneficial but only in reducing the pain and symptoms.
People with intertrigo must remain as dry and hygienic as possible and also avoid wearing shoes and clothes that stick to the body. The sweating can be taken care of by using some antiperspirant.
Intertrigo – Pictures
Filed in: Skin Problems