Intertrigo

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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 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 drying powder onto any intertriginous skin predisposed to irritation prior to any physical activity. Carefully drying the affected area after bathing or showering is also helpful. In obese individuals with a large abdominal skin folds (panniculus), weight reduction can diminish the folds so that intertrigo is prevented.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

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 2/23/2015

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