Perianal Dermatitis

Dermatitis is redness, soreness, and swelling (inflammation) of the skin. Dermatitis that occurs around the anal opening is called perianal dermatitis. Perianal dermatitis usually occurs in children. It is more common in boys than girls. This problem mainly occurs in children from 6 months to 10 years of age.


Perianal dermatitis is caused by a type of germ (bacteria) infection. Streptococci bacteria are the most common cause of this infection. These bacteria can be found in the throat where they can cause strep throat. These bacteria can also be found on the surface of the skin. They can invade the deeper parts of the skin around the anus through small cracks on the skin, causing an infection. Family or friends with strep throat or a skin infection can spread the bacteria to others. It can also spread to the anus from a child's own strep throat or other skin infection.


The skin around the anus will be bright red in color. This redness may spread to the genitals. Other common symptoms include:

  • Pain when passing stools.

  • Blood in the stool.

  • Itching around the anus.

  • Tenderness around the anus.

  • Cracks in the skin around the anus.

  • Holding back stools to avoid pain (constipation).


The diagnosis is made by taking a swab sample from the inflamed skin to test for bacteria.


Your child will be given antibiotic medicines by mouth or injection. Sometimes, antibiotics may also be directly applied to the skin (topically). If antibiotics are given by mouth, it is important to take all the medicine until it is gone. The problem often improves quickly.


This infection can come back. It can also spread to other family members or friends. It is important to watch your child for signs that the problem is coming back.


  • Symptoms are not better after 2 to 3 days of treatment.

  • Symptoms get worse.

  • There are any problems from the medicines prescribed.


  • Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your child is irritable, unusually sleepy, or has a poor appetite.

  • Your child has a headache.

  • Your child develops nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.