Saturday, December 29, 2012

Diaper Rash: Causes and Cures

As a new mom, I am discovering different ways to combat everyday challenges. A challenge that occasionally arises is diaper rash.

According toWebMD, diaper rash is caused by:
  • Simple irritation. The moisture and ammonia in the urine and stool and the rubbing against the diaper material can irritate your baby's skin and cause it to look very red. If the diaper area is red, but the folds of the skin (which are more protected) are not red, you've got simple irritation.
  • Yeast infection. Yeast loves the moist, dark diaper area and can cause a bright red rash. Other common names are a fungal infection or Candida albicans. It looks like a swollen red rash with white scales and lesions. Often there are small red "satellite" pimples found outside of the diaper area. You can differentiate a yeast infection from irritation because, unlike simple irritation, yeast causes redness in the folds and creases of baby's skin.
  • Bacterial infection. Look for yellowish, fluid-filled bumps ("pustules") and honey-colored, crusty areas, which are symptomatic of a bacterial infection (like staph or strep) and require antibiotic treatment. Be sure to call your pediatrician if you see these signs.
  • Seborrhea (cradle cap). Sometimes a diaper rash is part of a more generalized rash, such as one due to cradle cap, where there are red scaly, waxy patches on other parts of baby's body and scalp.
 Other known causes include sensitivity to chemicals, reaction to a new food (in breast milk or when starting solids). I have noticed that when I eat dairy, my poor little man gets a green diaper and a horrible irritation.

What to do about diaper rash? Well, when I was using disposable diapers, the one cream to use was A&D. This cream's active ingredients are Petrolatum (53.4%) and Lanolin (15.5%). Inactive Ingredients: Cod Liver Oil (Contains Vitamin A & Vitamin D), Carrot Oil, Fragrance, Light Mineral Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Paraffin. Now that I am using cloth diapers, A&D can't be used as it causes a buildup in the diapers and makes them less absorbent.

After searching and searching, I have found Coconut Oil. There are numerous books and articles written on coconut's amazing healing ability. According to  an article written in the World Journal of Agricultural Science (2011) "Harnessing the Potentials of the Coconut Palm in the Nigerian Economy", it states:

Coconut in Traditional Medicine: People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. In traditional medicine around the world, coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache,fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhoea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition,nausea, rashes, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sorethroat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumours, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness and wounds.

Coconut In Modern Medicine: Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another may provide a wide range of health benefits.Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the following conditions. It kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles,hepatitis C and other illnesses. It kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia and gonorrhea and other diseases. It kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rashes and other infections. It expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia and other parasites.

For more information on coconut oil and a list of many scientific journal article relating to coconuts, see the coconut research center.

Coconut oil is one option. Another option is CJ's BUTTer. This wonderful cream gets rave reviews and contains: shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, lanolin, beeswax, cocoa butter, Vitamin E (derived from soy) and gluten-free colloidal oatmeal. It is completely edible (if baby gets a hold of some by accident) and is great for diaper rashes. For a list of cloth safe diaper creams, see here.