how do you heal something with no air?
December 1, 2010 9:29 AM   Subscribe

How do I get this skin to heal when it's in a fold? Semi-NSFW

About a week ago, I discovered a spontaneous red spot of skin in my crotch in between my leg and, well I don't know how to describe this body part. The bottom part of my abdomen where the genitals live, but not my genitals, so not really my scrotum or penis, but the flesh that they sit on. Hard to explain. I guess the top of my genitals?

It has gone from nothing to irritated, and I notice skin flaking away from the edges like I was burnt, or maybe I scratched myself hard in my sleep. I don't think it's chaffing - these parts don't rub together like thighs would.

It also doesn't itch, but it does sting and burn a little like exposed skin does on an abrasion.

So how do I heal something that is mostly in contact with itself? It seems like a perfect home for bacteria and fungus to grow, but I don't know if I should be drying it out (ie Talc) or lathering it with neosporin and fungicides. I know YANMD, but I was wondering if this was something that anyone else had experienced, and how they solved it. It's surprisingly difficult to google "abrasion in fold that sort of like your crotch but kinda not you know?"
posted by OrangeDrink to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sit at home with your legs open to get it as much air as possible for as long as possible? Consider trying to sleep in a position that allows the wound to air.
posted by Night_owl at 9:31 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Slather on some Clotrimazole and if it doesn't clear up, get in touch with your doctor.
posted by Syllables at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2010

Is "mons pubis" the word you need?
posted by foursentences at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2010

IANAD, but most people I know who have had this problem have been diagnosed with fungal infections. Because, as you note, the area is usually covered by skin, it gets warm and moist, which is a great place for fungus to take hold. If you google something less specific like "skin fold infection treatment," you get all sorts of advice for keeping the area dry, treating the existing infection, and preventing recurrence. If home treatments don't work, however, a doctor could identify your specific problem and give you targeted treatments to get rid of it.
posted by decathecting at 9:34 AM on December 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

You've probably got a fungal infection. Does it smell? Regardless, I'd say yes on the powder. Try a topical anti-fungal lotion for a few days.
posted by mkultra at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2010

I have had skin-fold yeasty infections in the past. The trick is that these areas are very hard to keep dry. I find corn starch very helpful; air dry after your shower and then just flood the area with cornstarch. Usually for me this is enough to let the body do its healing thing. I have also used a prescription powder called Ny-stop, which is basically nystatin (which fights yeast) powder, which worked quickly and well for me.
posted by not that girl at 9:45 AM on December 1, 2010

If it isn't a fungal related thing as mentioned above, but an actual abrasion, just stick a piece of gauze over it. After a major abdominal surgery, I had a couple of incisions in the same sort of foldy areas. Here's what I did based on my doctors recommendation's, and they healed up nicely.

Don't slather on ointments, as it will keep it from drying out. Wash the area with a mild soap, and then make sure it's thoroughly dry... the easiest way is to use a hair dryer on the cool setting. Then use a piece of sterile gauze. You can use a bit of tape to keep it in place, but don't try to seal it off. The abrasion needs as much air as possible. Even if it is a place where air doesn't normally get, the gauze will create a buffer from skin to skin contact, and allow it to heal faster.
posted by kimdog at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2010

You have a fungal infection. The best thing to do is to slather on zinc ointment, and, on top of that, talcum powder.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:07 AM on December 1, 2010

I'd try the drying thing since that area of your body is moist and warm - exactly what microscopic critters look for in a vacation spot. Talc should work ok. You can also probably find anti-fungal powders that will work on that sensitive area.

Also try baggier clothing that will let you get some airflow, e.g., boxers instead of briefs.

If you have health insurance, you might consider calling their nursing line or their advice line - often a healthcare professional can give better advice for free in lieu of an expensive office visit.

Obviously, once you start, if it doesn't start to improve within a few days, consider seeing a doctor.
posted by Hylas at 11:32 AM on December 1, 2010

It does, indeed, sound like a fungal infection. While several of the suggestions already offered may be helpful, I have tried some that were completely useless (talc or cornstarch are good for drying, but will not usually be helpful if the infection has already become sore). Try grapefruit seed oil (extract) that is available at health food stores usually. It has proven 100% successful for me...results are always noticeable within 12 hours and complete within a couple days. If that doesn't work, go to your physician and get a prescription. Don't slather it on...put a bit on your finger and apply a thin coating to the area.
posted by txmon at 11:56 AM on December 1, 2010

Sounds like a fungal infection. I had one once in a fold-y area and went to the doc and got an rx cream. It cleared up in a week. no biggie.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:55 PM on December 1, 2010

If the red spot starts to look like a sore or blister, there's a chance it could be impetigo, which is caused by bacteria. It's most often found in children, but sometimes pops up in adults, especially athletes & gym rats. An antibiotic would clear this up.

Kind of a long shot, based on what you've described, but I thought I'd mention it in case it gets worse.

Wikipedia link on impetigo here.
posted by pecanpies at 2:43 PM on December 1, 2010

Cornstarch won't help if you've got an infection--it'll be food for the microbes.

Get some powder marketed for athlete's foot (with miconazole or other -azole antifungal agents--Gold Bond type products that claim to be "medicated" won't really do it). If that makes the problem go away, it's fungal all right. Keep the area dry with talc after a bath or whenever you feel kinda sweaty, to keep the problem at bay. A pass with the foot powder every now and then will help too.

If that doesn't work, then pecanpies' suggestion of impetigo might be right. I would guess that an antibacterial cream like bacitracin or neosporin would help take care of that.

Good luck!
posted by Sublimity at 3:31 PM on December 1, 2010

I think Mons Pubis is part of the female anatomy and distinct from any structures on a male's anatomy. I think.

Fungus? Dang! alright, well, I bought myself some cream. Let's do this.

Thanks for all your help, everyone!
posted by OrangeDrink at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2010

OrangeDrink, we call that general area the "suprapubic" area.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:16 AM on December 2, 2010

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