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Intertrigo

Intertrigo is a skin condition that develops in skin folds, and becomes inflamed when aggravated by environmental factors such as heat and moisture.

  1. Inflammatory skin condition
  2. Causes red lesions in skin folds
  3. Treated with antifungal or antibacterial cream

It's advisable to speak to a healthcare professional if you think that you may have intertrigo. Our doctors are able to provide advice about intertrigo through our online private video consultation service.

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Description

What is intertrigo?

Intertrigo is a common type of skin inflammation, often appearing in skin folds and caused (or aggravated) by heat, friction and moisture. It can also be worsened by the presence of a secondary skin infection caused by bacteria and yeasts. Intertrigo is more likely to affect people who are overweight or those who live in an environment with high humidity. Patients with diabetes have a greater incidence of intertrigo as well, as do people who are bedridden for a lengthy period of time.

What symptoms can intertrigo cause?

The red patches that form in the folds can cause severe itching, burning and stinging. It will continue to worsen unless environmental factors and a possible secondary infection are addressed. Intertrigo can be confused with many other skin conditions as it shares some common symptoms. Psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are the most common differential diagnoses.

Intertrigo can often be present with a secondary infection. The warm and damp environment that is associated with intertrigo is ideal for yeast and bacteria to grow in.

Most of the time, intertrigo can be easily diagnosed from a visual examination by a doctor. However, if there are signs that a secondary infection may be present or developing, a doctor may take a sample for culture to determine the microorganism causing it.

When treating the condition, a doctor will advise several ways in which to manage the affected skin. Some of these methods include avoiding potential irritants, or using a device that can wipe away excess moisture from the skin. It is also advisable to gently clean the affected area without applying strong soaps.

To prevent a possible infection being spread, it is recommended to avoid close skin contact with others until symptoms have cleared up.

Our video consultation service enables you to talk to a GMC registered doctor online about intertrigo. Once you’ve clicked to proceed, you can book an appointment time that suits you. You’ll then be asked to fill in a short form about your symptoms. You don’t have to do this, but it will help to save time during your consultation with our doctor. If you need treatment, our doctors will be able to issue you with a prescription, which can be fulfilled by our GPhC registered pharmacy, or sent to a local pharmacy near you.

Page last reviewed:  12/06/2020
Diagnosis and treatment

How is intertrigo diagnosed?

Intertrigo can usually be diagnosed by a doctor looking at the visible signs on the skin and which parts of the body are affected. Microbiological studies aren't usually necessary but can sometimes be used if there is any doubt about what sort of infection is present.

Will I need tests?

In the event that a doctor believes that a secondary bacterial infection is present with intertrigo, testing may be necessary. One example is the ‘Wood’s test’, where a bright light is held over the infected area of skin in a darkened room. A doctor may also decide to collect a sample and send this off for analysis.

What will a doctor normally advise?

A doctor will likely recommend a number of basic steps to keep the affected areas clean and dry, as intertrigo infections thrive in warm, damp environments. They will advise to avoid contact with potential irritants, such as strong detergent or body soap, and also to wear loose-fitting clothing.

Intertrigo can clear up by itself but, depending on whether an infection is present, a doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic treatment to be applied to the infected area.

What treatments are there for intertrigo?

The treatments for intertrigo consist of minimising contact with other skin (friction) and the level of moisture in the skin folds. Depending on the severity of symptoms, this can range from a simple drying agent (usually a powder) to topical antimicrobial creams if the intertrigo is caused by bacteria.

Page last reviewed:  12/06/2020
Questions and Answers

How is intertrigo treated?

For simple intertrigo, treatment might involve drying agents and avoiding contact with irritants to help the skin recover. If bacteria or yeasts are present, then antibiotics and antibacterial topical creams can be used to eliminate the secondary infection.

What treatments are there?

An example of a topical cream used to treat intertrigo is hydrocortisone with miconazole. This is an antibacterial cream which also contains a steroid, and these help to stop the bacteria from growing and reduce inflammation. If there is a more severe bacterial infection, a doctor may recommend oral antibiotics.

Are there side effects?

Side effects are not often reported for topical creams, however on rare occasions they can cause further irritation once they have been applied. Check the patient information leaflet with your medicine for more information.

Can I consult a doctor about intertrigo online?

Yes. Our doctors can help you if you suspect that you may have intertrigo, and issue treatment where needed. They can also advise you on how to help your skin recover, and how to clean the affected area effectively.

Book an appointment to speak to one of our doctors via our secure video chat facility. If our doctor does recommend treatment, you can either have this dispensed at our UK pharmacy and shipped to you, or get your prescription sent to a pharmacy near you.

Page last reviewed:  12/06/2020

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