What is Perianal Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a condition commonly associated with various ailments of the skin characterized by irritation, inflammation, itching, redness of skin, rashes, blisters, etc.

Perianal Dermatitis is commonly seen amongst the babies. Although this is sometimes also be observed in adults but such instances are less because this normally happens when a baby`s diapers are left moist over a long period. The waste or urine lays a foundation for perianal dermatitis to develop. There can be many factors that can cause perianal dermatitis; the most common being poor hygiene conditions generally arising out of moist diapers.

Children have a very delicate skin and thus are prone to develop skin ailments from exposure to anything that can irritate the skin. There can be a number of reasons that can cause these rashes. To the layman, all symptoms of rash look the same and perianal dermatitis may be mistaken as any other rash.

It is observed that most people, including the doctors, refer to it as 'diapers dermatitis' which is far from true. Perianal dermatitis can be of different types and diapers dermatitis is just one of them. Development of rash in the area around anus is the most common symptom associated with perianal dermatitis and thus the occurrence of perianal dermatitis in babies can be easily confused as irritation related to diarrhea.

Treatment of Perianal Dermatitis

It is important to remember that a baby's skin is very delicate and any small incidence of rash that could well be a case of perianal dermatitis. Thus this should not be taken lightly and the following should be given due attention:

* Consult a doctor at the earliest. Self-medication of any form without consultation may lead to complications and make perianal dermatitis conditions worse.
* Ensure proper sanitary conditions. Keep the baby dry at all times- her/his diapers should be changed regularly.
* Regular application of ointments and medications prescribed by the doctor on perianal dermatitis affected area.
* Washing of own hands before touching the baby's delicate skin not only helps in curing the babies but also prevents spreading of perianal dermatitis.
* Avoid using any application other than that prescribed by the doctor.
* Keep vigil on the area affected by perianal dermatitis and inform the doctor in case the condition does not improve over a period of time.


Remember that some of the reasons that perianal dermatitis can occur is the use of certain material that can cause allergy or irritation to the baby's delicate skin. Avoid using synthetic garments and items made of plastic or rubber as they can cause perianal dermatitis.

Remember that children cannot speak and therefore there is a need to be more careful and responsive to the babies needs by understanding gestures like irritability and crying when the child is uncomfortable.

In more severe cases ,the doctor might prescribe antibacterial or antifungal creams. These should be used with care and it should be ensured that the baby's hand does not touch the affected parts since it might be ingested by the baby while sucking her thumb or fingers. The area where the ointment is applied for perianal dermatitis infection should be well covered at all times.