Intertrigo (cont.)

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What are complications of intertrigo?

Intertrigo may be complicated by a variety of infectious microorganisms that must be eliminated before the condition is likely to improve. Since fungal infections are very common in the intertriginous zones, it is important to perform appropriate tests (such as microscopically analyzing small scrapings of affected skin) to exclude this problem. Most dermatologists and some primary care physicians are able to perform potassium hydroxide mounts of scale obtained from the irritated skin right in the office and visualize the fungus under the light microscope. There are a variety of other skin diseases that may present a picture similar to intertrigo but are treated quite differently. If the condition does not respond to the simple treatment methods listed above, further diagnostic procedures may have to be done to elucidate the true diagnosis.

What is the prognosis of intertrigo?

If the patient is willing to change certain habits that may predispose to intertrigo the prognosis is quite good. It almost always resolves rapidly.

Can intertrigo be prevented?

Simple intertrigo can be prevented by applying a generous amount of a bland, greasy topical substance (petroleum jelly, zinc oxide paste or ointment) onto any intertriginous skin predisposed to irritation prior to any physical activity. In obese individuals with a large abdominal skin folds (panniculus), weight reduction can diminish the folds so that intertrigo is prevented.

REFERENCE:

Janniger, Camila K., Schwartz, Robert A., Szepietowski, Jacek C., and Reich, Adam. "Intertrigo and Common Secondary Skin Infections." American Family Physician 72.5 Sept. 1, 2005: 833-838.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2013