Laxative-Induced Contact Dermatitis

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Jul;35(7):e127. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001498.


A 5-year-old female with Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy and a history of constipation presented to the emergency department with a new blistering buttocks rash, which was initially concerning for nonaccidental burn. Upon further investigation, it was found that Ex-Lax had been given to the patient for constipation. This had resulted in a bowel movement, which led to an irritant dermatitis. The patient was eventually diagnosed with senna-induced erosive diaper dermatitis. This case report highlights the importance of a thorough history and physical examination to prevent an unnecessary child abuse work-up.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / complications
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Constipation / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diaper Rash / diagnosis*
  • Diaper Rash / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / adverse effects*
  • Phenolphthalein / adverse effects*


  • Laxatives
  • Phenolphthalein