The perineum is the area between the genitals and the anus. Irritations and infections can develop in that area due to moisture as well as contact with bacteria from urine and faeces if not cleaned properly. If you are obese, folds of skin in that area increase the potential for problems. This area can also develop rashes due to allergies. Babies can develop a diaper rash in the perineum. A surgical incision during childbirth can also cause irritation.
Perineal skin can break down due to urinary and/or fecal incontinence. This is more common in long-term care facilities and lengthy hospital stays. If it is not treated promptly, it can become ulcerated and infected. It is treated by thorough cleansing and skin barrier ointments.
Rashes can develop due to allergies to a particular fabric, detergent or fabric softener used to wash clothing. Cotton panties are better than silk as they absorb moisture and allow air through more readily. Hypoallergenic detergents are available for people sensitive to regular laundry detergents.
Babies develop diaper rash from contact with the urine and faeces in their diapers. It is important that they be changed frequently to avoid severe diaper rash. Ointments containing zinc oxide or petroleum are helpful in providing a barrier for their skin.
Bacterial and Yeast Infections
If the skin of your perineum is irritated, a bacterial or yeast infection can set in. They cause rashes, tenderness and itching. These conditions will often require treatment with a prescription medication.
An episiotomy is an incision in the perineum area to allow room for a baby during birth. After the delivery, this area is typically sutured. There will be some pain, swelling and sometimes burning until it heals. Careful cleansing and barrier ointments will help prevent infection.
If you have an irritation, rash or raw skin on your perineum that continues for more than three days, consult a physician for diagnosis and treatment.