Understanding Diaper Rash -- the Basics

What Is Diaper Rash?

Almost all babies develop a diaper rash -- an inflammation of the skin on the buttocks, genitals, and thighs -- at some time in their young lives.

Although a diaper rash may cause a baby discomfort and even some pain, it is rarely serious.

Most cases are of short duration, lasting only three or four days. But sometimes a rash will persist, an indication that a secondary skin condition or infection has developed.

What Causes Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash can be caused by anything that irritates your baby's sensitive skin. The most common source of the problem is urine and stool left in contact with the skin for too long. Diarrhea usually leads to diaper rash because of the amount of stool that the skin is in contact with. Make sure to clean the buttocks and change the diaper as soon as possible after a bout of diarrhea.

rash can also be caused by inadequate drying of the baby's skin after a bath. Seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition, can trigger a diaper rash, as can thrush, or candidiasis, a type of yeast infection. Babies receiving antibiotics for other illnesses are particularly susceptible to candida-related diaper rash, because the drugs allow fungal growth. Atopic dermatitis can, but rarely, occur as a diaper eruption in children.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on May 16, 2019

Sources

SOURCE: 

Hoekelman, R. (editor) Primary Pediatric Care, Mosby, 2001.

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