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Yeast Infection in Skin Folds


Updated July 03, 2014

Intertrigo is a yeast infection of skin folds caused by Candida albicans. In areas of the body that have skin touching skin such as the armpits, groin, and under heavy breasts or fat folds, the environment is warm and moist. This is the perfect environment for Candida albicans, a yeast that is normally found on the skin, to overgrow and cause symptoms. Other factors that can cause intertrigo include:

  • Hot, humid weather
  • Tight or abrasive underclothing
  • Poor hygiene
  • Inflammatory skin diseases, like psoriasis, occurring in the skin folds
  • The use of topical steroids

Appearance of Intertrigo
Intertrigo is characterized by an intensely red, macerated, glistening rash with scaling on the edges. The edge of the rash extends just beyond the limits of the opposing skin folds. Satellite lesions, small areas of the same rash that are close to the main rash, are characteristic of intertrigo and other Candida skin infections.

Diagnosis of Intertrigo
The majority of cases of intertrigo can be diagnosed based on the characteristic appearance. If there is any question about the diagnosis, a KOH test can be performed to detect the presence of yeast. A bacterial culture can help diagnose a secondary bacterial infection.

Treatment of Intertrigo
Intertrigo is treated with antifungal creams such as clotrimazole and miconazole. Equally important in the treatment of intertrigo is keeping the skin folds as dry as possible. A drying solution such as Burow's compresses can be applied to the skin folds for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day to promote drying.

Prevention of Intertrigo
Most preventative measures involve reducing skin to skin contact and keeping the area dry.

  • Weight loss to reduce the size of fat folds
  • Wear loose, soft underclothing
  • Apply antifungal absorbent powder to affected areas daily
  • Wash affected areas with soap and water daily
Other Fungal Infections
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