Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis: Pathogenesis, Contributing Factors, Prevention and Management Options

Drugs Aging. 2018 Jan;35(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s40266-017-0507-1.


Incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) is a common type of irritant contact dermatitis, seen in patients with urinary or faecal incontinence. Mechanical factors such as traumata and friction may aggravate the lesions. The fragile skin in elderly patients is more prone to developing IAD. The clinical picture of IAD consists of persistent redness on the one hand and skin loss on the other. Both categories may be associated with clinical signs of major colonisation or infection. It is important to distinguish IAD from pressure ulcers and other dermatoses in the genital region. Due to the lack of well-established clinical trials, recommendations about prevention and treatment are based on expert opinion and best practice. Gentle cleansing, use of hydrating topical agents and application of barrier products are the main elements in the prevention and treatment of IAD. It is important to translate these recommendations and general guidelines into ready-to-use protocols that can be implemented for each specific clinical manifestation of IAD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / prevention & control
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / therapy*
  • Fecal Incontinence / complications*
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy
  • Humans
  • Skin Care / methods*
  • Urinary Incontinence / complications*
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy