Can Diarrhea Cause Diaper Rash? Understanding the Link Between Diarrhea and Diaper Rash in Babies

Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
By Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
Updated on November 15, 2023

Diaper rash is a common skin irritation that affects many babies. It can be uncomfortable and cause crying or fussiness. One potential cause parents often wonder about is whether diarrhea could lead to diaper rash. This article explores the connection between diarrhea and diaper rash in babies.

Can diarrhea cause diaper rash?

Yes, diarrhea can potentially cause or contribute to diaper rash in babies. Diarrhea leads to frequent, loose bowel movements that are more watery than usual. This extra moisture from diarrhea can irritate and inflame a baby’s sensitive skin in their diaper area.

How does diarrhea lead to diaper rash?

There are a few ways that diarrhea can cause or exacerbate diaper rash:
– The extra moisture from diarrhea keeps the baby’s bottom wet for longer periods, which removes the skin’s natural oils and allows irritants to more easily affect the skin.
– Frequent, watery bowel movements associated with diarrhea can wash away protective skin barriers in the diaper region.
– Some nutrients like vitamins or electrolytes may be lost from the skin with frequent, loose stools. This can weaken the skin’s defenses.

How to treat and prevent diaper rash from diarrhea

To treat a diaper rash potentially caused by diarrhea, it’s important to keep the diaper area as clean and dry as possible. Change diapers immediately when soiled and use a soothing diaper rash cream. Consult your pediatrician if the rash is severe or isn’t improving within a few days. To help prevent future rash, continue frequent diaper changes, limit time in wet diapers, and consider using a moisture-blocking diaper rash cream or ointment barrier.


In summary, diarrhea can potentially contribute to the development of diaper rash in babies due to the extra moisture, frequent bowel movements, and loss of protective skin factors. With diligent cleaning, the use of protective barriers, and treatment with soothing creams as needed, most rashes can be prevented or resolved. Consult your pediatrician if a rash persists after taking these preventative measures.

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