Intertrigo is a condition wherein rashes appear in skin-folds of the body. The rashes that appear in such cases cause the skin in the folds to become reddened and irritating causing discomfort. This condition is said to be common in people who are overweight as they have many folds in their body. Factors that may make flexures or body folds prone to intertrigo development include high body temperature, moisture or sweat that do not evaporate and stay in flexures for long time. Friction caused due to movement of adjacent skin can lead to soreness and irritation. In such environment, the bacteria that colonize our skin multiply in such skin flexures and may cause further damages to skin.
There are specific types of Intertrigo. ‘Thrush’ is one of condition such as Candida albicans which develops rapidly. It is characterized by itching and moist skin peelings. Erythrasma is another such intertrigo rash which is caused due to Corynebacterium minutissimum. It leads in persistent brown patches. Athlete’s foot also technically called Tinea Pedis resulted due to dermatophyte fungi such as Trichophytn rubrum. This condition causes cracks, peeling and blisters between toes. Folliculitis is a type of rash which can appear in flexures of the body. This type of rashes is caused due to bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Such a condition is often evoked due to shaving.
Symptoms of Intertrigo
Intertrigo are nothing but general rashes; the only difference between the two is that intertrigo appear in body folds. These rashes can be indentified through certain factors associated with their appearance. Rashes that appear in the flexures are reddish brown or red; they may be raw, itchy or sometimes have discharge. These rashes may also have a foul smell. The skin in the folds, affected with intertrigo, may be cracked and crusty.
The condition can affect any skin flexure in the body which rubs and remain dampen. In case of infants the condition may appear as diaper rashes that occur in creases of baby’s skin. There a certain skin regions that are common spots where these rashes occur. These regions include, toes, armpit, groin, below breast, cleavage of the breast, inner-thigh area, neck folds and crevice between the butt cheeks, etc. If symptoms of intertrigo are present then consulting a doctor is essential as the doctor can help in determining whether there is any infection associated with the condition.
Causes of Intertrigo
There are several factors that may cause and aggravate this skin condition. These factors include:
- Consistent Moisture
- Hear or increased body temperature
- Lack of ventilation to the skin flexures
- Consistent friction between the sides of the folds
There are other factors that may also play a role causing the condition. For example, sweat, urine and feces that remain in the crease for long can also lead to such anomalies. Sometimes, the condition is also -accompanied by infection. These infections are often caused due to micro- organisms such as yeast, bacteria and other fungus. Infection can occur in this area as these skin crevices are warm and stay moist for long. This serves as perfect dwelling environment for germs.
Intertrigo often does not need any advanced diagnoses. Since it is rash occurring in skin folds, doctor can often recognize it just by visually or physically examining the affected skin region. However, tests may be suggested in order to determine whether the condition is aggravated and has associated infections. Microscopy and other bacteria culture test may be suggested to the patient. In order to determine fungal prevalence, doctor may suggest mycology test. In case if the condition seems serious and does not respond to the treatment then biopsy may be suggested.
Risk factor for Intertrigo
There are certain people who are at increased risk of suffering from intertrigo. These people are:
- People who are obese or overweight
- Diabetic individuals
- People who wear splint, brace or artificial limb
- People affected with diabetes
- Individuals who are exposed to heat and humidity constantly
- Incontinence in some individuals may also cause intertrigo
- People who sweat excessively are also at increased risk of suffering from the condition
- Those who do not follow proper hygiene are also at risk of such rashes
- Malnutrition may also contribute to cause the condition
Prevention and treatment for intertrigo
If any individual is affected with intertrigo, the doctor may suggest keeping the affected flexure dry and well ventilated. If any oozing is noticed then using astringent, as a wet- compress, can help. Do not let the area remain wet; in fact using a hair dryer which is set on ‘cool’ mode can help in drying away the moisture from the fold. There are certain creams that are also recommended by the doctor in order to prevent irritants from affecting the skin. Sometimes, doctor may recommend use of topical steroid in short-term and reduce inflammation. There are chances that your doctor also will prescribe anti-fungal or antibiotic topical solutions.