But I don't even wear a diaper!
August 15, 2007 9:33 AM   Subscribe

So I think I gave myself diaper rash. How do I get rid of it, and how can I prevent it from happening again?

I'm a 23-year-old man living in New York City. A few weeks ago, there was a very nasty heat wave that struck the city (and environs). During this whole escapade, I was constantly sweating, as I didn't have an A/C, although I had one at work, I was sitting all the time, so my ass crack [what's the technical term for this again?] never dried out properly. At least that's what I theorized when a few days later I got a rash there.

At first I thought it might be jock itch of some kind, but the best stuff for such things failed to improve anything after two weeks of treatment. I tried using jellied alcohol as was suggested a few weeks ago, but the burn was too much to the point that I became convinced I was doing more harm than good.

Baby powder helped relieve the symptoms, but they're still present.

The skin irritation is bad enough that when I wipe my ass, I get blood. This squicks me out really bad as everyone knows how bad such things can be for you.

My girlfriend, saint that she is, checked to see if it was hemorrhoids, but they're not.

FYI, a few months ago I somehow caught Giardia shortly before leaving for a trip to Germany, and was moderately ill during the entire trip. I had similar cuts at that time thanks to the frequency I was using the toilet, but got treatment upon returning to the States, and those went away.

I'm planning on calling my Dr. if this does not clear up soon, but I'll be going on a camping trip next week and I'm looking for any suggestions to decrease the symptoms while I'm there (and running, and exercising and so forth).
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it is diaper rash a barrier cream may clear it up. You can also get a secondary fungal or bacterial infection that'll need the intervention of a prescription product. I'd see you doctor ASAP as it'll take a few days to clear up which you'll probably want done before your trip.
posted by Mitheral at 9:42 AM on August 15, 2007

I'll point out the obvious and ask why don't you use diaper rash cream (the kind with zinc oxide)? This works splendidly on infants. Baby powder dries the skin and might actually increase chafing and irritation.
posted by hodyoaten at 9:44 AM on August 15, 2007

Had something like that happen in my groinotolgical area after umpiring a double header in the nasty heat this summer. Fiancee suggested diaper rash cream, and it worked great.

If you're bleeding though, I'd see a doctor--even if there's a simple fix to the underlying problem, you want to be careful regarding any infection that can sneak in the weakened skin barrier.
posted by stevis23 at 9:54 AM on August 15, 2007

I second the diaper rash cream. Works great on baby bums and adult heat rash.

But also, if you used 2 weeks of an anti-fungal, you may have (or have given yourself) a bacterial infection. It's happened to me.

If the diaper cream doesn't help in a day or so, get thyself to a doctor. Five minute appointment--they will swab you, culture the bug, and call you back with a prescription. Really simple to fix, but will only get worse if left untreated. Nobody needs that kind of pain.
posted by lisaici at 10:04 AM on August 15, 2007

people can follow up with the OP at this address if they desire. worstenemybum@hotmail.com
posted by jessamyn at 10:08 AM on August 15, 2007

Bleeding? See a doctor immediately! And don't go camping unless there will be hot showers available. Keeping the area clean will be very important.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:17 AM on August 15, 2007

There's a possibility this could be how psoriasis first crops up for you. That's how it started for me - a raw red "rash" looking thing that bled in spots really easily. If you have scabs that won't heal properly, odd damage to your fingernails, dandruff you can't seem to control with dandruff shampoo, flaky skin if you dry out, or other rash-like areas (underarms and groin are really the two main areas they manifest), that could be your culprit.

My doctor misdiagnosed me the first time I asked about the symptoms, so it might pay to ask for a referral to a dermatologist if you insurance allows.
posted by peacecorn at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2007

The best stuff we found when our kids were little was Lotrimin AF.
posted by Doohickie at 10:29 AM on August 15, 2007

Diaper rash creams with a lot of zinc oxide stink and can do more harm than good. you may want to get samples of different types, because the stuff typically is expensive.

What's worked for me on rashes and pain are Aquaphor (used on burn victims) Corona (stinky but not too bad) Burt's Bees (you'll smell like lavender). Dr. Smith's isn't bad, either. Each of those is $7.50+ per large tube. When one of my kids had a really bad rash from antibiotics, the nurse suggested a coat of Aquaphor and then a coat of Corona.

If there's still a fungal thing going on, go to the dr. S/he may prescribe nystatin, or you could ask for this compound to be tried. It cost me $50 in copays, but a little goes a long way.

(Gentian violet stains something terrible)
posted by lysdexic at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Three friends of mine have developed chronic giardiasis after diagnosis and apparently successful treatment. Symptoms of chronic giardiasis include "periodic loose foul stools, abdominal distension, and malodorous flatus...." (Merck Manual; 1999, p.1257)

With the similarity you note of your current difficulties and your bout of giardiasis, if you have any of these symptoms, and as long as you're going to the doctor anyway, I think it makes sense to ask your doctor whether a stool sample test for giardia antigen is a good idea.
posted by jamjam at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2007

A good anti-perspirant, such as Mitchum, will also help you to avoid making it worse with exercise and other potentially chafing activity.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2007


I get this all the time in the summer, but where underwear rubs my skin between my legs and my crotch. It sucks and it hurts, especially if it's to the point where it's rubbed raw.

When it gets really bad I put on the Balmex before bed, and then after my shower in the morning before putting on underwear.

It really helps and usually goes away after 2 or 3 days.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2007

Bleeding is unusual, see a doctor about that in case it isn't related to the rash. If they prescribe a cream, take that, or any of the above suggestions. Expose the area to lots of air, so if possible, stay nude at home as much as possible, or go regimental and buy a cheap sarong. Pretend to be David Beckham.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 10:58 AM on August 15, 2007

IANAD but I get issues like this from time to time, from increased wiping, occasionally from chafing, etc. It's no big deal that you're bleeding -- it's bleeding from the GI tract that would be urgent, and that blood would be dark to black, not bright red. If it's bright red it's just tissue tenderness and damage around the opening and it's not a huge deal as long as you're careful.

I'd dry the area thoroughly after showering -- like, use a hairdryer if you need to -- and apply an over-the-counter cortisone cream twice a day. I think you'll find relief really quickly, within a couple of days. If sweatiness makes you uncomfortable during the day you could try putting a bit of cornstarch in there to keep you dry. Zinc cream might help - apply it before bed - but I find it messy and hard to wash off.

Also: try to bulk up your bowel movements by eating more fibre (30g+/day), so that they pass fully and cleanly and you don't need to do a lot of wiping. If you need to do a (cough) bigger cleanup, try using unscented baby wipes instead of toilet paper - they're gentler.
posted by loiseau at 11:23 AM on August 15, 2007

Desitin worked wonders when my kid was a baby. If I had a similar problem, that would be the first thing I would try.

Also, get some baby wipes to use instead of toilet paper for a while to minimize irritation.

And maybe wearing a diaper would have helped! ;)

Seriously, that's gotta suck. If it can make a baby scream in agony, it can at least bring a tear to a grownup eye. Hope you get better soon!
posted by The Deej at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2007

Someone suggested Balmex - I use a product called BodyGlide in the summer to prevent sweat-related chafing.

You should be able to find it at any decently-equipped sports store ; it's marketed towards runners and bikers.
posted by mrbill at 12:15 PM on August 15, 2007

Go see a doctor as soon as you can. Don't try any creams until you know exactly what you have. It sounds more like prickly heat than diaper rash.

If you have prickly heat or something else, putting a cream on it will just make it worse. The best treatment is to keep the area as clean and dry as possible and avoid anything that will clog the pours.

Take several warm to cool showers daily, use an electric fan to dry the area before dressing. Avoid dressing in layers as long as possible (go nude or in undies only while in your apartment). If you're out and about, a change of underwear can be a real relief.
posted by jaimystery at 12:37 PM on August 15, 2007

A+D Ointment. When my husband's legs started chafing against his jeans due to walking 5+ miles in the Arizona heat, this helped considerably. You can find it in the baby diaper/baby wash aisle.
posted by parilous at 2:14 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

i reckon keep it dry.
you could put a small sanitary pad/napkin there (not the sticky side... fold it) for a couple of days to absorb moisture. change it every few hours. should improve it pretty quickly.
good luck.
posted by taff at 2:51 PM on August 15, 2007

Sounds like a fungal infection. Lamisil Cream is great for that sort of thing. It used to be a prescription item, but now you can buy it off the shelf in the foot-care section of any good pharmacy.
posted by Huplescat at 4:14 PM on August 15, 2007

Try plain old corn starch as a remedy but also as a preventative. I put it in all my folds and crevises in muggy weather and it works like a charm. It will bring immediate relief and if you don't have a fungus going on you should see a big change overnight.
posted by haikuku at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2007

(For future reference) Whenever it's a particularly hot and sweaty day here in Philadelphia, I apply Ammens powder to areas what might not like the damp. Keeps everything dry and comfy! I've also used it for my daughter since she was born (per my grandmother's advice) and she's never had a rash. Hope your problem clears up soon.
posted by chihiro at 4:59 PM on August 15, 2007

First thing, first. Make sure the area is clean and dry. Use a hair dryer if you need to (obviously use it on a cool setting). You can then have your girlfriend (or try it yourself if you're especially dexterous) dab on some plain Mylanta. It will act as a neutral barrier. Once that is dry, you can move onto dipe cream.

Get yourself a small container of Triple Paste. It's a dipe cream, and it's a little spendy (about $7 for a small round jar of it), but worth it. It used to be kept behind the counter at pharmacies despite being non-prescription, but I've started to see it on the shelves at CVS, Walgreens, etc. Keep a pretty thick layer of the Triple Paste going until you've healed.

***If you think it might be a yeast infection, you DO NOT want to use a corn starch based baby powder. You will be literally feeding the yeast.***

You can get yourself some Zeasorb powder (it's kept by the foot care stuff at any pharmacy) and put that on the area. The stuff is specifically made for yeast/fungal infections and is medicated to not only work on the infection, but also absorb moisture. It doesn't smell great, but it's not overwhelmingly nasty, either.

Remember, the most important thing you can do is to keep the area clean and dry.
posted by dancinglamb at 10:14 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

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