Thursday, May 28, 2015

Skin care and incontinence

Table of Contents



People who have problems controlling their urine or bowels (called incontinence) are at greater risk for skin problems around the buttocks, hips, genitals, and the area between the pelvis and rectum (perineum).

Excess moisture and bacteria in these areas makes skin problems such as redness, peeling, irritation, and yeast infections more likely.

Bedsores (pressure sores) may also develop on people who:

  • Have not been eating well (are malnourished)
  • Have received radiation therapy to the area
  • Spend most or all of the day in a wheelchair, regular chair, or bed


Using diapers and other products may actually make skin problems worse. Although they may keep bedding and clothing cleaner, these products tend to keep the urine or stool in constant contact with the skin. Over time, the skin can break down. Special care must be taken to keep the skin clean and dry.

After urinating or having a bowel movement, clean and dry the area right away.

Clean the skin with mild, dilute soap and water. Rinse well, and gently pat dry.

Look for skin cleansers that do not cause dryness or irritation. These products include foams, non-aerosol sprays, and wet wipes (individual disposable towelettes). Be sure to follow the product's instructions. Some of the products do not rquire rinsing. Be aware that some people may have allergies to the fragrances used in these cleansers.

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Review Date: 03/10/2010
Reviewed By: Roy Colven, MD, Dermatologist, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (