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Eczema in Diaper Area

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Severe itching in 2yo's diaper area from eczema

June 2004

My 2 year old son has had eczema since he was 2 mos old. Additionally, he has food allergies that we discovered at about 4 mos (wheat, egg, diary). His eczema has gotten better--it used to be head to toe and now has settled in to his hands, feet, elbows and knees, mostly. However, he has terrible bouts of itching in his diaper area. The first times this occured, it seemed to be at night, preventing him from sleeping. He'd be up screaming, miserable with itching. He has re-opened his circumsion with the itching, causing his penis to bleed. Now these bouts come during the day, a couple of times a week. He is miserable and as he gets older, he's getting better at getting into his clothes (I've always got him in shirts that button at the crotch and in overalls. Otherwise, he has too much access to his diaper area and he'll really hurt himself). His itching is so bad sometimes that I cannot change him by myself and have to have one of my other kids hold his hands while I change him.

The docs tell me this is eczema and to use Elidel, a non-steriod, and a moisturizer. One night a doctor covering for my pediatrian told me to use cortisone on it, which seemed to really help the itching. But the dermotologist told me to avoid using steriods in areas with delicate skin.

Has anyone else with a child with eczema dealt with this problem? I'm about at my wits end. The doctors don't seem to grasp how horrible this is for him (and me). At 2T, they stop making tops that button at the crotch and I don't know how I'll stop him from hurting himself.

One more thing: the problem seems related to his bowel. The itching seems gets worse when he needs to have a B.M. The kid is on Miralax, to keep him from getting constipated, another problem we've had. But I took him to a pedi-gastroenterologist who didn't find any problems with him (we did lots of blood work).

I'd appreciate any advice.

Many thanks, Jennifer


Please, please use the Elidel, if you are not using it, and a thin (so as not to macerate the area) coating of Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor. The Elidel is preferable to a steroid, especially the strength steroid you would need for such severe itching. And, the jelly or Aquaphor can be great prophylatically. I urge you to use the Elidel instead of allowing the kind of scratching that will cause a cellulitis, a serious and infected condition that needs treatment with antibiotics.

I am very sympathetic. I have two children who have suffered with moderate to severe eczema in limited places.

As well, get a confirmed diagnosis that your child is suffering from eczema, not yeast, for example. Eczema does seem to be familial. Physician & Mom


So sorry to hear about your son's itching - how painful for both of you. I'm not sure if there is a similar product available for babies, but when I was a teenager, a dermatologist prescribed something just for itching (related to eczema). I think it was called Atarax. I'm not sure how it works, but I remember that it was very effective in relieving the itching. My last bit of advice is to see a good pediatric dermatologist. I grew up in a small town and my parents relied on the local pediatrician to treat my eczema. I suffered horribly for many years. When I was older, they finally took me to a dermatologist in a nearby city and he had my eczema under control in a week. Best of luck to you! Formerly Itchy Kid
Wow! I really feel for you and your son. I have a few suggestions, as I have been thinking about you off and on all day. My son had horrible eczema on his bottom (not his penis or scrotum) My pediatrician said step one is to control the itching through using cortizone and children's benadryl. He said you do have to be careful with sensitive skin areas (i.e. penis and scrotum) but that everywhere else is O.K. He said to use 1% cream. So use it everywhere except the penis and scrotum, and hopefully along with the benadryl at night/nap time for a few days, he will stop itching long enough to let it heal some. Step two is to keep it under control using an emolient twice a day. So apply aquaphor liberally all over his body in the a.m and p.m., and I would use it in his diaper area with every change. This system really seems to keep our son's eczema under control, as long as we are vigilant. As long as you aren't having a flare-up, the aquaphor alone will keep it under control, and only use cortizone when itching is flaring up. Step 3 is to remove the causes. We give our son barely warm baths, since warm water seems to aggravate the itching. I use dreft and white vinegar to wash his clothes and bedding (and run his stuff through an extra rinse cycle) because it is really important to get all the soap out of his clothes. You didn't mention diapers, but these can also aggravate eczema. Maybe potty training would help? Keep his nails super short, too. My sister, whose son had terrible eczema, recommends adding olive oil to the bath, or putting it directly on his skin. This is along the lines of the emolient treatment. Along with the white vinegar wash, he will smell like a salad, but hopefully will be less miserable. Environmental factors also can contribute, so if this doesn't help, try replacing all your cleaning products with natural/homemade stuff (i.e. white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, etc.). These old time remedies work, and it is always a good idea to keep as many poisions/toxins out of your house as possible. Good luck! Jennifer
Wow! I really feel for you and your son. I have a few suggestions, as I have been thinking about you off and on all day. My son had horrible eczema on his bottom (not his penis or scrotum) My pediatrician said step one is to control the itching through using cortizone and children's benadryl. He said you do have to be careful with sensitive skin areas (i.e. penis and scrotum) but that everywhere else is O.K. He said to use 1% cream. So use it everywhere except the penis and scrotum, and hopefully along with the benadryl at night/nap time for a few days, he will stop itching long enough to let it heal some. Step two is to keep it under control using an emolient twice a day. So apply aquaphor liberally all over his body in the a.m and p.m., and I would use it in his diaper area with every change. This system really seems to keep our son's eczema under control, as long as we are vigilant. As long as you aren't having a flare-up, the aquaphor alone will keep it under control, and only use cortizone when itching is flaring up. Step 3 is to remove the causes. We give our son barely warm baths, since warm water seems to aggravate the itching. I use dreft and white vinegar to wash his clothes and bedding (and run his stuff through an extra rinse cycle) because it is really important to get all the soap out of his clothes. You didn't mention diapers, but these can also aggravate eczema. Maybe potty training would help? Keep his nails super short, too. My sister, whose son had terrible eczema, recommends adding olive oil to the bath, or putting it directly on his skin. This is along the lines of the emolient treatment. Along with the white vinegar wash, he will smell like a salad, but hopefully will be less miserable. Environmental factors also can contribute, so if this doesn't help, try replacing all your cleaning products with natural/homemade stuff (i.e. white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, etc.). These old time remedies work, and it is always a good idea to keep as many poisions/toxins out of your house as possible. Good luck! Jennifer
Please, please use the Elidel, if you are not using it, and a thin (so as not to macerate the area) coating of Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor. The Elidel is preferable to a steroid, especially the strength steroid you would need for such severe itching. And, the jelly or Aquaphor can be great prophylatically. I urge you to use the Elidel instead of allowing the kind of scratching that will cause a cellulitis, a serious and infected condition that needs treatment with antibiotics.

I am very sympathetic. I have two children who have suffered with moderate to severe eczema in limited places.

As well, get a confirmed diagnosis that your child is suffering from eczema, not yeast, for example. Eczema does seem to be familial. Physician Mama


Eczema in baby boy's diaper area

Related page: Diaper rashes & itching

June 2004

My 2 year old son has had eczema since he was 2 mos old. Additionally, he has food allergies that we discovered at about 4 mos (wheat, egg, diary). His eczema has gotten better--it used to be head to toe and now has settled in to his hands, feet, elbows and knees, mostly. However, he has terrible bouts of itching in his diaper area. The first times this occured, it seemed to be at night, preventing him from sleeping. He'd be up screaming, miserable with itching. He has re-opened his circumsion with the itching, causing his penis to bleed. Now these bouts come during the day, a couple of times a week. He is miserable and as he gets older, he's getting better at getting into his clothes (I've always got him in shirts that button at the crotch and in overalls. Otherwise, he has too much access to his diaper area and he'll really hurt himself). His itching is so bad sometimes that I cannot change him by myself and have to have one of my other kids hold his hands while I change him.

The docs tell me this is eczema and to use Elidel, a non-steriod, and a moisturizer. One night a doctor covering for my pediatrian told me to use cortisone on it, which seemed to really help the itching. But the dermotologist told me to avoid using steriods in areas with delicate skin.

Has anyone else with a child with eczema dealt with this problem? I'm about at my wits end. The doctors don't seem to grasp how horrible this is for him (and me). At 2T, they stop making tops that button at the crotch and I don't know how I'll stop him from hurting himself.

One more thing: the problem seems related to his bowel. The itching seems gets worse when he needs to have a B.M. The kid is on Miralax, to keep him from getting constipated, another problem we've had. But I took him to a pedi-gastroenterologist who didn't find any problems with him (we did lots of blood work). I'd appreciate any advice. Many thanks, Jennifer


Please, please use the Elidel, if you are not using it, and a thin (so as not to macerate the area) coating of Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor. The Elidel is preferable to a steroid, especially the strength steroid you would need for such severe itching. And, the jelly or Aquaphor can be great prophylatically. I urge you to use the Elidel instead of allowing the kind of scratching that will cause a cellulitis, a serious and infected condition that needs treatment with antibiotics.

I am very sympathetic. I have two children who have suffered with moderate to severe eczema in limited places. As well, get a confirmed diagnosis that your child is suffering from eczema, not yeast, for example. Eczema does seem to be familial. Physician & Mom


So sorry to hear about your son's itching - how painful for both of you. I'm not sure if there is a similar product available for babies, but when I was a teenager, a dermatologist prescribed something just for itching (related to eczema). I think it was called Atarax. I'm not sure how it works, but I remember that it was very effective in relieving the itching. My last bit of advice is to see a good pediatric dermatologist. I grew up in a small town and my parents relied on the local pediatrician to treat my eczema. I suffered horribly for many years. When I was older, they finally took me to a dermatologist in a nearby city and he had my eczema under control in a week. Best of luck to you! Formerly Itchy Kid
Wow! I really feel for you and your son. I have a few suggestions, as I have been thinking about you off and on all day. My son had horrible eczema on his bottom (not his penis or scrotum) My pediatrician said step one is to control the itching through using cortizone and children's benadryl. He said you do have to be careful with sensitive skin areas (i.e. penis and scrotum) but that everywhere else is O.K. He said to use 1% cream. So use it everywhere except the penis and scrotum, and hopefully along with the benadryl at night/nap time for a few days, he will stop itching long enough to let it heal some. Step two is to keep it under control using an emolient twice a day. So apply aquaphor liberally all over his body in the a.m and p.m., and I would use it in his diaper area with every change. This system really seems to keep our son's eczema under control, as long as we are vigilant. As long as you aren't having a flare-up, the aquaphor alone will keep it under control, and only use cortizone when itching is flaring up. Step 3 is to remove the causes. We give our son barely warm baths, since warm water seems to aggravate the itching. I use dreft and white vinegar to wash his clothes and bedding (and run his stuff through an extra rinse cycle) because it is really important to get all the soap out of his clothes. You didn't mention diapers, but these can also aggravate eczema. Maybe potty training would help? Keep his nails super short, too. My sister, whose son had terrible eczema, recommends adding olive oil to the bath, or putting it directly on his skin. This is along the lines of the emolient treatment. Along with the white vinegar wash, he will smell like a salad, but hopefully will be less miserable. Environmental factors also can contribute, so if this doesn't help, try replacing all your cleaning products with natural/homemade stuff (i.e. white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, etc.). These old time remedies work, and it is always a good idea to keep as many poisions/toxins out of your house as possible. Good luck! Jennifer
Please, please use the Elidel, if you are not using it, and a thin (so as not to macerate the area) coating of Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor. The Elidel is preferable to a steroid, especially the strength steroid you would need for such severe itching. And, the jelly or Aquaphor can be great prophylatically. I urge you to use the Elidel instead of allowing the kind of scratching that will cause a cellulitis, a serious and infected condition that needs treatment with antibiotics.

I am very sympathetic. I have two children who have suffered with moderate to severe eczema in limited places.

As well, get a confirmed diagnosis that your child is suffering from eczema, not yeast, for example. Eczema does seem to be familial. Physician Mama


March 2003

I have a 9mo son who has eczema. I thought I had it mostly in control through medicine and diet (continued outbreaks but not as bad as when it was untreated). However, in the last month, he has gotten it in his diaper area and I cannot seem to get rid of it. Even when it does not look red, he is incredibly itchy and pulls at his scrotum constantly. Diaper changes and bathes (even as few as we give) are miserable. My pediatrician suggested I change to cloth diapers. It's been a few days and I haven't seen any dramatic change with cloth diapers. Has anyone else experienced this with their baby boy? We would be grateful for any advice, hints, ideas, etc. Thanks! Jennifer


One of my son's had tremendous trouble with this before he was potty trained, and I have had problems all my life with eczema. In many individuals, eczema is actually an allergic reaction to the yeast that naturally grows on the surface of human skin when it is moist. What keeps the yeast population down naturally is air circulation to the site and sunlight, so when possible, get the diaper off, and the bum outside in the air and sun. With my son, we did have to buy the expensive rash guard type diapers as regular disposable and cotton both caused the problem. The thing I found in the long run that has helped both his and my skin the most though is using skin oil immediately after bathing to help seal the surface of the skin. Personally for both of us the Neutragena light sesame oil has worked the best. I started by using Alpha Keri which works for my mom, but think I have a low grade contact sensitivity from something in the mineral oil preparations. I also have to avoid hand creams or lotions, and have found that cetyl alcohol in any product causes a marked rash in both my son and I. The good news is that the diaper problem has an end when you finally achieve potty training. Even as he grows though, make sure underwear and clothing is breathable (cotton). Even at the age of 40+, I find I still have to watch what I do, but I don't suffer nearly the itching I did as a child.
eczema is controllable
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