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Intertrigo

Definition

Intertrigo is inflammation of the skin. It tends to occur in warm, moist areas of the body where two skin surfaces rub or press against each other. Such areas are called "skin folds."

Considerations

Common Causes

Intertrigo affects the top layers of skin. It is caused by moisture, bacteria, yeast, or fungus in the folds of the skin. The affected areas of skin are usually pink to brown. If the skin is very moist, it may begin to break down. In severe cases, there may be a bad odor.

The condition is most common in persons who are obese. It may also be seen in people who must stay in bed or who wear medical devices such as artificial limbs, splints, and braces. These devices may trap moisture against the skin.

Intertrigo is common in warm, moist climates.

Home Care

It may help to lose weight and move your body position often. 

Other things you can do are:

  • Keep areas of folded skin open with dry towels.
  • Blowing a fan across moist areas.
  • Wear loose clothing.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if:

  • The condition does not go away, even with good home care.
  • The area of affected skin spreads beyond a skin fold.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your health care provider can tell if you have the condition by looking at your skin.

Other tests may include:

Treatment options for intertrigo include:

  • Antibiotic or antifungal cream applied to the skin
  • Drying medication such as Domeboro soaks
  • Low-dose steroid cream
  • Creams that protect the skin

References

Habif TM. Superficial fungal infections. In: Habif TP, ed. . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 13.

Bacterial Infections. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 14.

 

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    Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.