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What is diaper rash?

Diaper rash is common in babies. The rash usually isn't serious and can be easily treated. Diaper rash is found on the skin inside your baby's diaper area. The skin looks red and irritated. The rash usually begins between your baby's legs. It may feel warm. It can spread to the stomach area, genitals and skin folds of the upper thighs. If the rash isn't treated, it may

become infected. It may look very bright red with red bumps and blisters.

The outside layer of skin normally forms a protective barrier that prevents infection. One of the primary causes of dermatitis in the diaper area is prolonged skin contact with wetness. Under these circumstances, natural oils are stripped away, the outer layer of skin is damaged, and there is increased susceptibility to infection by bacteria or yeast. Diaper rash is a term that covers a broad variety of skin conditions that occur on the same area of the body. Some babies are more prone to diaper rash than others.

Diaper rash is often unavoidable. By far the most common cause is the constant wetness of the baby's tender skin, which soon becomes red and rough. This continuous contact between skin and moist diaper results in waterlogged skin and finally the rash. The second major cause of diaper rash is ammonia formation beneath the diaper. This usually develops after the baby is six months old. Most mothers have no trouble diagnosing diaper rash triggered by ammonia - when changing the baby's diaper, a strong ammonia smell is easily detected. To get rid of the ammonia-causing bacteria in cloth diapers, they may need to be treated with an antiseptic. Loose bowel movements or diarrhea can also irritate the skin around the anus and buttocks. Diaper rash can also occur when a baby drinks too little. The urine may become too concentrated and acidic, which can cause skin irritation and rash. Giving the baby extra fluids will clear up this type of diaper rash. Also a yeast, or monilial, infection can occasionally cause a rash in the diaper area. It is different from ordinary diaper rash in that it is sharply circumscribed - that is, the outline of the rashy area is clearly defined. The infected area is very red (as well as moist and, sometimes, pimpled).

More information on diaper rash

What is diaper rash? - Diaper rash is found on the skin inside your baby's diaper area. Diaper rash covers a broad variety of skin conditions that occur on the same area of the body.
What causes diaper rash? - Most diaper rashes are due to prolonged contact with wetness, bacteria from bowel movements, and chemicals in the urine. Diaper rash does not usually present a health risk.
What are the treatments for diaper rash? - Treatment of diaper rash include frequent diaper changing, leaving the infant's bottom exposed to air, rinsing the skin with warm water.
How can I prevent diaper rash? - Some simple measures can be taken to avoid or shorten the duration of diaper rash. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005