Intertrigo is an infection of the skin. It is an inflamed state of the skin in which rashes may be found in skin folds and places where moisture might be retained by the body. It may be a bacterial or fungal infection or even viral infection that develops at skin areas like inner thighs and belly, behind the ears, armpits, under the breasts and genitals. These body parts generally remain moist and warm and provide perfect environment for the bacteria and fungus to grow potentially. It appears like rash, the infected area may be reddish and suffer with severe itching, and it may also be accompanied by foul odor sometimes.
Generally, this is a simple dermatological state characterized by rashes, itching and burning sensation. But the situation can be complicated by presence of microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, fungi and virus or an allergy to some medication.
There can be several reasons that may cause intertrigo. But primarily each cause leads to accumulation of moisture in skin folds. Some of the causes are:
- Environmental changes: A change in the temperature and humidity in environment also affects a body’s reaction to the change. If humidity and heat increases it would also mean more sweat and more sweat would mean greater chances on developing intertrigo.
- Body work out: Rigorous body activities like bicycling, running and spending hours working out in gym, etc may also cause intertrigo. It is because all of these activities release lots of moisture from body which may easily accumulate in between skin layers and hence the result.
- Obesity: Obesity itself would not cause intertrigo. But if a person has those large folds of skin due to excessive weight gain it may result into a state of skin inflammation.
- Even people who have to wear artificial limbs or use braces or splints might also experience this skin problem. It is because these instruments may trap moisture in between the body part and the instrument and again lead to development of inflammation causing bacteria and fungi.
Diagnosis and Treatment
This disease is very easy to be diagnosed. A medical professional may easily identify Intertrigo. The doctor may also recommend skin biopsy for the confirmation of the same. Also, you may have to undergo KOH examination for the possibility of fungal infection or Wood’s lamp test for bacterial infection. The treatment would generally involve removing the conditions that have led to development of intertrigo. But if the skin state is very complicated the doctor may also suggest applying ointment and creams over the affected area. The creams would basically be antibiotic and antifungal creams or steroid creams of a lower dose and strength. The infected area may first be applied with steroid cream and then ointment or paste like zinc oxide paste and desitin will be applied on it.
It is always said that prevention is better than cure. So it is with Intertrigo. If one can take care of a few simple things one will not have to suffer with this skin problem. The first and foremost requirement is to keep your skin layer clean and hygienic. Take shower daily and keep your skin completely dried. Unhygienic places are most suitable for growth of harmful microorganisms. Also, keep your skin dry. Make sure that you do not let sweat or moisture accumulate in places like armpits, thighs, behind the ears and under the breasts. Even if you go for a tough gym session or bicycling or any such activity involving physical work out, it is necessary that you keep a good towel handy all the time. It shall help you wipe off the moisture before it can create any bodily issues.
You must also wear loose clothes. It has been observed that people who wear lose clothing are less prone to developing this problem. If you are heading towards obesity, then it is time to put a check on it right away. Take care of your diet and make sure that you keep your body fit and fine. Do all that you can to lose the extra weight because not only is obesity one of the reasons for Intertrigo but also leads to many more diseases. Also, in case of infants it important to change their diapers at regular and required intervals so that your baby does not have to suffer with rashes caused due to diapers.
Intertrigo is not a very dangerous or severe disease in itself. But if not taken proper care of it may be very painful and hurtful to the sufferer. If you notice any rashes over your skin, it is suggested that you first make use of all home care tips and do everything to keep your body clean and dry. But if the state exists for more than a week its always wise to refer to a doctor.