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Q: Lately I've noticed some sort of rash developing in the creases beneath my breasts. It's red, itchy and looks like it's spreading. What can I do to get rid of it?

Dr. Donnica:
A red 'sweat rash' under the breasts is called intertrigo. It may be sore and itchy, and may spread to your armpits. The rash has a definite edge, and there may be some whitish material on it caused by Candida fungus or Corynebacterium bacteria, which likes to live in warm, moist places. While this condition can affect any woman, it is more likely to affect you if you are overweight or have large breasts; weight loss will help prevent this situation in the future.

Supportive bras that lift your breasts are helpful. While underwire styles provide support, they may trap sweat under the breasts. Cotton bras are preferable to synthetic fabrics, which don't allow sweat to evaporate easily. Wash bras in a non-biological/non-enzyme detergent without perfumed additives.

Be sure to wash carefully under your breasts with non-perfumed soap. Disinfectants are not necessary. Rinse well and dry yourself thoroughly but gently. You can pat dry with a soft towel or use a hairdryer. Applying pure cornstarch before dressing may also help absorb any additional moisture. If washing your hair, avoid perfumed shampoos, which may irritate the affected area. Do not use over-the-counter medications. If your symptoms do not improve after two weeks of following the above regimen, see your physician or dermatologist.

Created: 7/5/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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