Incontinence-Related Skin Conditions and How To Prevent Them

Post Reviewed By Expert

This post was reviewed by our Director of Clinical Excellence and Oversight.

Good skin care is an essential part of staying healthy and protecting against illness and disease. It’s especially important for adults with incontinence, who are at greater risk of developing skin conditions. The risk is even greater for people who are immobile, or spend long periods of time immobile, and struggle with incontinence. Without the proper care and preventative maintenance, using incontinence products could cause skin irritation and pain. However, preventing this uncomfortable condition is easier than you think. In this article you’ll learn about these types of skin conditions, their causes, and how to prevent them.
Incontinence-Related Skin Conditions

Adult Diaper Rash


Symptoms

  • Reddish area on skin
  • Inflamed or tender skin
  • Irritation or pain
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Causes

Microorganisms love to grow in warm, moist places. This means areas where incontinence products are used are at risk. When moisture is in contact with skin, infections on the skin can develop from bacteria, viruses or fungi. Most of the time, this excess moisture is the result of using an incontinence product which isn’t absorbent enough. Products that are the wrong size, causing overflows and excess rubbing, make the risk of infection worse because skin breakdown can occur. If left untreated, skin infections can become serious and even spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment

If adult diaper rash is present, it can be treated using medical creams or powders made to heal the skin and absorb moisture. Remember to consult with your doctor before starting any medical treatment. Keep reading to learn how to prevent adult diaper rash from happening in the first place.

Skin Infections


Symptoms

  • Reddish area on skin
  • Inflamed or tender skin
  • Irritation or pain
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Causes

Adult diaper rash is the most common incontinence-related skin condition. It develops when skin becomes inflamed, causing irritation and pain. When an incontinence product doesn’t fit properly, it can rub against the skin, causing discomfort. This rubbing can make skin weak and vulnerable to infections if left untreated. In addition, wearing the wrong product can also cause excess wetness. If the product doesn’t meet the absorbency needs, it can cause an overflow. This excess moisture on the skin is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can lead to infection.

Treatment

The best way to treat skin infections depends on the type of infection. Sometimes antibiotics or medical creams and powders may be administered. Ask your doctor before beginning any medical treatment.

Pressure Sores


Symptoms

  • Blisters, sores, or ulcers on the skin
  • Reddish area on skin
  • Inflamed or tender skin
  • Irritation or pain
woman doctor with clipboard

Causes

Pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers, pressure injuries, or bed sores, are more likely to occur with people who are immobile, or are sedentary for long periods of time, and struggle with incontinence. Staying in the same position for long periods of time can cause pressure to build up on areas of the skin, including areas associated with incontinence. This pressure can cause the skin to break down and become weaker. This combined with excess moisture increases the risk of infection. The risk of developing pressure sores is greater for people using incontinence products that are not absorbent enough or the wrong size. Wearing the wrong product causes excess wetness and rubbing, resulting in even faster skin breakdown.

Treatment

Areas of the skin affected by pressure sores should be cleaned, dried, and bandaged. It’s important to keep the area dry and change any bandages frequently. It is also important to change body position frequently and reduce pressure and friction to affected areas of the skin. Use pillows or foam to remove any pressure or contact at the affected area. You may also treat pressure sores with medical creams or powders; however, speak to your doctor before starting any treatment.

Prevention

Incontinence-related skin conditions can be serious if not treated properly, but the best way to treat them is to prevent them. Here are our top tips to keep skin healthy and comfortable when using incontinence products.

Choose the Right Product

The most common cause of these skin conditions is simply using the wrong incontinence product for the wearer. The primary causes we see are using the wrong size, and insufficient absorbency. Using the wrong product can cause excess friction, wetness, and pressure on the skin. Any incontinence product should meet both the absorbency level needed and the size required to fit properly.

Change Your Product Frequently

Change the incontinence product as soon as possible after use.

Keep Your Skin Clean and Dry

Wash and dry the skin frequently, and make time to expose healthy skin to fresh air.

Reduce Pressure on Your Skin

If sedentary, reduce pressure on the skin by using soft materials (like pillows), change the bodily position (if possible), and check for sores daily.

How Home Care Delivered Can Help

At Home Care Delivered, we help customers prevent skin conditions by helping them select the right products and providing ongoing support. Our team of product experts and registered nurses work to find the perfect product for each customer that meets absorbency needs and fits just right. Each month, we follow up with every customer to make sure their products are meeting their needs. Begin your deliveries today, and see why we’ve earned 98% customer satisfaction.

For more information on selecting the right incontinence product, see our Incontinence Product Guide.

Disclaimer:
Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations in this document were obtained from the sources indicated. Be advised that information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only. HCD cannot be held responsible for the continued accuracy of or for any errors or omissions in the information. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Sources
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diaper-rash/symptoms-causes/syc-20371636
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bed-sores/symptoms-causes/syc-20355893
https://www.continence.org.au/pages/skin-care.html
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000880.htm

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