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Management of incontinence associated dermatitis

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Cystography of a weak bladder in a female patient

The incidence of incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD) is increasing as we are seeing individuals living longer with complex clinical needs. This article will discuss a practical approach to understanding risk factors to this skin problem alongside how to assess and manage continence and skin problems hand in hand.

The NHS estimates that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence.1

Therefore, in this practical guide the focus will be on prevention and management of IAD through thorough continence assessment, management and skin care.


IAD is a type of contact dermatitis that occurs in individuals who have urinary or/and faecal incontinence, often causing significant discomfort, and reduced quality of life.2 Buttocks, hips, genitals, and the perineum are the areas that may be affected.

Continence assessment

It is essential that a holistic continence assessment is performed by a suitably qualified clinician as soon as any incontinence is identified. By assessing an individual’s bladder and bowel problems strategies for prevention and management can be implemented. This will aid in the proactive management of continence issues, including skin care.

A qualified healthcare professional should provide a comprehensive continence assessment.6 This must include:

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