Rash under your breasts
Do you suffer from a rash under your breasts? You most likely have a condition known as intertrigo.
Intertrigo is a skin condition (dermatitis) caused by the friction of skin folds rubbing together in the presence of heat and moisture. In this case we are talking about under the breast fold but it can be seen in other areas such as the groin.
It is most commonly seen in the summer months when the weather conspires to create the conditions likely to contribute to developing the issue.
Mostly intertrigo is diagnosed by the patient themselves (even though they may not know the medical name of the rash). Most often people just refer to it as a "heat rash". If not usually the diagnosis is made by your doctor by just looking.
The risk factors are being overweight, heat and humidity.
It is often made worse by exercise because the additional movement and rubbing of the skin surfaces over each other during sports increases the friction and superficial damage to the skin surfaces.
Common symptoms are redness, itching or burning.
If the rash has been long standing there may be a musty smell.
Treatment involves reducing the friction, the moisture and the heat. Those of you who suffer this issue already have your own strategy. In talking to patients this will often involve putting tissues in the fold to stop the moisture build up and prevent the rubbing. This usually allows you to continue wearing a bra which socially is a saviour. Other people will use barrier creams like zinc cream, sometimes with topical steroids creams successfully.
If it is worse than this you might want to discuss with your doctor. Sometimes the rash can get infected by a fungal or bacterial bug and may need additional treatments with topical creams or antibiotics.
Finally, if achievable prevention is better than cure. In some people this will involve weight loss where possible. In others breast reduction can be one technique to resolve the issue but intertrigo is always one of many symptoms these women are experiencing. If your breasts are large enough to be the cause of intertrigo you will also have neck, back and shoulder pain which usually make the intertrigo seem like a minor additional burden.
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