Stomach rashes can be of particular concern—especially when they turn red, blotchy, and swollen.
A rash on the stomach may be a coincidence, caused by a dermatological reaction, or it could be suggestive of a more serious problem, such as an infection within the stomach area or surrounding systems.
Luckily, there are treatments and home remedies you can use to treat a rash on the stomach—but let’s first look at the causes of stomach rashes.
What Causes a Rash on the Stomach?
For the record, a stomach rash in this case refers to any red discoloration on the stomach regardless of how inflamed, bumpy, itchy, blistered, cracked, or pustule-laden it is.
Since a rash is a symptom and not a specific ailment, it can be brought on by a number of different factors both benign and troubling:
1. Contact dermatitis
This is skin inflammation brought on by a reaction to something you have touched. Common triggers include clothing material or detergent, poison ivy or poison oak, cosmetics, soap, or some other allergen. Exposure to certain industrial chemicals can also trigger a dermatitis reaction but this is not as common.
If you have suddenly developed a rash on your body it helps to try and recall if you have switched to a new brand of laundry detergent, soap, or another skin-care product.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is characterized by dry, red, itchy skin that sometimes forms small bumps. Although eczema is not as common on the stomach as it is on the limbs and face, it can happen. The condition is thought to be a mix of genetic and environmental factors and is often provoked by dry weather.
This is thought to be an immune disorder that causes an overgrowth of skin cells. The end result is patches of red skin covered in silvery “scales” that come and go in flaring cycles, which can last for weeks or months at a time.
These patches are often accompanied by dry, cracked skin that may bleed along with an itching or burning sensation, especially as the patches fall off.
4. Lyme disease
A bacterial infection brought on by a tick bite. Lyme disease can take up to a month after being bitten to start showing symptoms but usually begins with an expanding red rash.
The rash is not painful and is clearer near the middle, giving a hallmark “bulls-eye” appearance. Other symptoms are similar to those of the flu, such as fever, chills, fatigue, and aches.
Longer term joint pain and neurological symptoms can sometimes arise if left untreated for several weeks or months. Lyme disease is not likely to be transmitted unless the tick has been attached for at least 36 hours; you should get tested if you find a tick but aren’t sure how long it has been feeding.
A common and highly contagious illness that is more serious in adults than in children. Chickenpox presents itself with a telltale rash composed of raised pink or red bumps that go on to form fluid-filled blisters which then burst and crust over. It will also cause fever, headache, malaise, and loss of appetite.
Once infected, a person remains contagious until the last of their scabs crusts over. Incidentally, you should avoid giving aspirin to anyone with chickenpox as it can cause a rare but serious reaction known as Reye’s syndrome.
This is one of the more concerning rashes and is caused by bacteria, normally staph or strep. The rash from cellulitis will appear red, painful, warm, tender, and swollen; possibly have blisters or dimpling as well. Cellulitis can spread surprisingly fast and one of the more telltale symptoms is that the rash is changing shape or otherwise growing.
Any case of cellulitis warrants medical attention because the bacteria can potentially infiltrate the lymph nodes or blood stream and trigger a much more serious reaction.
Cellulitis does not present itself with a fever unless the bacteria have already started spreading into the body. If you have cellulitis and a fever, seek emergency medical attention.
Stomach Rashes: Home Remedies and Treatments
Remedies for rashes generally fall into two categories: relieving the symptoms of the rash and treating the underlying cause. Some conditions, like cellulitis, do not have a home remedy for the underlying infection and require prescribed antibiotics.
Others, like chickenpox, may warrant medical intervention if there is a risk of complications. Although the causes of a stomach rash can vary, the treatments do have some common elements:
1. Don’t scratch it
Scratching can be exceptionally tempting when dealing with an itchy rash but it should be avoided when possible. Not only can scratching sometimes provoke a further reaction, breaking the skin opens you up to possible infections and will impede the healing process. Antihistamines can sometimes help, as can calamine lotion or a bath with baking soda or oatmeal.
Eczema and psoriasis in particular benefit from moisturizing to keep the skin from drying out and cracking. In addition to moisturizer products, employing a humidifier or a wet, cool compress can also help. Avoid perfumes, oils, or other skin products that contain alcohol since this can dry up the skin.
Lyme disease, cellulitis, and other bacterial aggravators can be dealt with using antibiotics. The exact type you need is going to vary depending on the condition and you should consult your doctor for more precise options.
4. Avoid triggers
Eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis tend to have substances or situations that provoke their symptoms. If you notice any commonalities when outbreaks appear—anything from the type of clothes you’re wearing to sunlight—try limiting your exposure and see if that helps matters.
When to See a Doctor to Treat Your Stomach Rash
You should consult with a doctor if the area of the rash becomes tender, sore, and/or warm or if a large rash appears or spreads quickly. Other sudden changes in condition like nausea and vomiting should also be considered cause to get re-evaluated for possible complications or a more serious culprit.
It is especially important that you see a doctor if the rash appears purple and you have not injured the area recently, as this could be a sign of internal bleeding.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Rash on Stomach – Pictures, Treatment, Symptoms, Causes,” HubPages web site, December 3, 2013; http://hubpages.com/health/Rash-on-Stomach-Pictures-Treatment-Symptoms-Causes.
“Chickenpox,” Mayo Clinic web site, March 26, 2013; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chickenpox/basics/symptoms/con-20019025.
“Cellulitis,” Mayo Clinic web site, February 11, 2015; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cellulitis/basics/symptoms/con-20023471.
“Psoriasis,” Mayo Clinic web site, June 17, 2015; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840.
“Lyme Disease,” Mayo Clinic web site, August 27, 2015; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20019701.