Exploring the relationship between skin property and absorbent pad environment

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The aim of this study is to identify the related factors of skin lesions found in the surrounding environment of absorbent pads by clinical investigation.


Most older patients with incontinence use absorbent products, therefore causing many patients to have skin lesion in the absorbent pad area. To prevent these skin lesions from occurring, it is necessary to examine the absorbent pad environment of clinical patients since there are many contributing factors that complicate the pathophysiology in this area.


A cross-sectional design was used.


One hundred older Japanese patients with faecal and/or urinary incontinence using diapers and absorbent pads participated. Excluding blanchable erythema, the presence of skin lesions in the absorbent pad area was confirmed. Skin pH, hydration level and bacterial cultures were used to assess the skin property. Absorbent pad environment and patient demographics were also investigated.


The overall prevalence of skin lesions was 36%. Forty percent of the skin lesions were contact dermatitis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that only the presence of diarrhoea independently affected contact dermatitis.


There was a significant relationship between contact dermatitis and the use of absorbent pads when the patient had diarrhoea. Although the factors related to skin lesions in the absorbent pad area are complexly intertwined, this study was the first to be able to determine diarrhoea as one specific factor in clinical setting.

Relevance to clinical practice.

This finding suggests that the presence of diarrhoea is significantly related with contact dermatitis. Therefore, when a patient has diarrhoea, health-care professionals should immediately implement a preventative care program which includes careful skin observation and improved skin care. It is also necessary to develop a more effective absorbent pad to protect the skin of incontinent patients who suffer from the irritating effects of liquid stool.

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