adult diaper rash

How to Get Rid of Adult Diaper Rash

While diaper rashes are often associated with babies, adult diaper rash is an issue too. Adults who need to wear diapers or pads may experience adult diaper rash. For example, adults with bladder incontinence or who need to manage their bowels may wear diapers or pads. Those with Alzheimer’s or who can’t access the bathroom can also wear them.

According to recent statistics, the market for adult diapers doubled in the last decade. This includes pads and disposable underwear. so, more and more adults are benefitting from these pads, but they can also develop adult diaper rash.

This article will cover tips to eliminate adult diaper rash and how to prevent it.

adult diaper rash - nurse and elderly woman walking

Adult Diaper Rash Causes

There are a few main factors that cause diaper rash in both adults and babies. It’s best to be aware of the causes in order to prevent adult diaper rash.

Skin Wetness and Irritation

Areas of skin covered by the diaper are moisture due to the coverage. The skin can also become irritated by urine and feces.

Skin Conditions

Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can coexist and aggravate diaper rash. Allergic reactions to compounds like dyes, perfumes, or diaper material can the skin more sensitive. Therefore, the rash may become more severe.

Skin Infections

When the skin is irritated or broken, a secondary infection is more likely to occur. The most common causes of bacterial infections in babies are staph or strep. Staph infections seem to be the biggest problem in adults.

Fungal infections are also possible. Candida overgrowth often causes these types of skin infections.

Too Much Friction

If the diaper is too tight, it can cause excessive friction. This rubbing against the skin makes it more inflamed and irritated. Therefore, diaper rash occurs.

adult diaper rash - young hands holding elderly hands

Adult Diaper Rash Treatment

Like children, the adult diaper rash resolves within one to two days of treatment. Cases that do not improve within three days may be complicated with infections.

Hypoallergenic, superabsorbent, and specially designed breathable diapers can reduce the risk of adult diaper rash. It also reduces Candida overgrowth. There is a higher risk of developing diaper rash in adults with limited mobility or if diapers are not changed regularly. This can also lead to severe rashes.

A mild adult diaper rash may have a few small pink-reddish spots with dry patches on the buttocks, thighs, groin, or hips. The skin will feel itchy with red raised bumps. These rashes resolve quickly with good hygiene using hypoallergenic cleaning products.

Creams and ointments like Calmoseptine, zinc oxide, lanolin, aloe vera, or coconut oil manage these mild rashes too.

For moderate rashes, the affected area of the skin is larger. It’s redder and inflamed with large red, raised bumps. The skin feels itchy and tender. If infected, antimicrobial ointments are useful. Antibiotic creams for bacterial infections and antifungal creams are also helpful.

A severe diaper rash affects large patches of the skin. This inflamed skin is bright red, sore, and resembles a skin burn. It often requires medical advice and treatment. The red raised bumps are larger, sometimes filled with fluid. These lesions are itchy and painful. Someone with a severe diaper rash will have pain when sitting or changing diapers.

Doctors often treat these severe rashes. Change diapers more often to avoid wetness and irritation from urine or feces. This will help heal the skin faster.

Adult Diaper Rash Complications

A person with an infected rash may experience the following:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Achy muscles
  • Pain while urinating or passing stool
  • Puss-filled blisters that ooze

When diaper rashes are a result of eczema and psoriasis, you need to treat the skin conditions as well. Many people misdiagnose psoriasis as eczema because the rashes look similar. However, in both cases, the rash will affect other areas of the skin, along with the skin covered by diapers.

To manage eczema, avoid skin irritants, use oatmeal baths, and mild, hypoallergenic cleansers. Use moisturizers like petroleum jelly after bathing and diaper changes. Doctors may recommend using medicated creams, ointments, and oral tablets as treatment.

Bedsores may also develop on people who are bedridden along with diaper rashes. These sores are often seen on the buttocks, heels, shoulder blades, and the back of the head. Bedsores take a long time, sometimes several months, to heal. Infections can also easily complicate them.

While we focus on the prevention and treatment of diaper rash and taking care of the skin, overall health is important too. Make sure you have a nutritious diet, good sleep, and stay as active as possible. This will improve many aspects of your health, including adult diaper rash.

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