Intertrigo

Overview

What is intertrigo?

Intertrigo (say: "in-ter-try-go") is a rash that usually affects the folds of the skin, where the skin rubs together or where it is often moist. It is caused by yeast, fungus or bacteria.

Intertrigo is most common in people who are overweight or who have diabetes. People who have splints, braces or artificial limbs are also more likely to develop this rash.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of intertrigo?

Symptoms of intertrigo include a red or reddish-brown rash that can appear anywhere skin rubs together or traps wetness. The most common areas include between toes, in the armpits, in the groin area, on the underside of the belly or breasts, and in the crease of the neck. Intertrigo can also affect the skin between the buttocks.

The affected skin will often be very raw and may itch or ooze. In severe cases, intertrigo may cause a foul odor, and the skin may crack and bleed.

Causes & Risk Factors

Is intertrigo contagious?

No. You cannot catch it from or pass it to another person.

Diagnosis & Tests

How do I know if I have intertrigo?

The best way to know for sure is to ask your doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell if you have intertrigo by looking at your rash. No special tests are needed.

Treatment

How is intertrigo treated?

For mild cases, your doctor will tell you to keep the affected area of your skin dry and exposed to air. Your doctor may also want to prescribe a topical steroid cream. For more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream.

Prevention

How can I prevent intertrigo?

  • Keep skin cool and dry.

  • Do not wear tight shoes or clothing. Wear a bra that has good support.

  • Wear clothes made with absorbent fabrics, such as cotton. Avoid nylon or other synthetic (manmade) fibers.

  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight.

  • After exercising, shower and dry off completely. Use a hair dryer with a cool setting to dry areas that can trap wetness, such as under your arms or breasts.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • Do I have intertrigo?

  • What is the best treatment for me?

  • What is the best way to keep from getting intertrigo again?

  • Do I need to make any changes to my lifestyle?

  • Do I need to use a cream or ointment?

  • What side effects could I have from my medicine?

  • Do I need to take an antibiotic?

  • Is there anything I can do on my own to help myself better?

Citations

  • Intertrigo and Common Secondary Skin Infections by CK Janniger, M.D., RA Schwartz, M.D., M.P.H., JC Szepietowski, M.D., Ph.D. and A Reich, M.D.( 09/01/05, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050901/833.html)