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What causes recurrent staph infection in genital area? Child has been treated twice with bactrim. Wears pull-ups at night as is not totally toilet trained. It only appears in area which is covered by panties/pull-ups. Could staph be present in urine?

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  • Dr. Chris July 31, 2011

    Urine is largely sterile although it may contain microorganisms as it passes out of the urethra and may have one or more species of bacteria found on the skin and genitals. It only contains microorganisms from within when there is a urinary tract infection.

    Pull ups can create the ideal warm and moist environment for these bacteria to thrive in. It is therefore important to change the pull ups as frequently as possible once it is soiled. Airing the area or applying an antibacterial application on the area helps to prevent an infection and as far as possible eradicate the bacteria. While S.aureus may normally be found on the skin, it is more likely to be harbored in cavities such as the nasal cavity. Despite the distance, it can be carried with air that is breathed out. Of course, there may be other external sources of the recurrent infection and this has to be evaluated carefully.

    Two other considerations here is whether your child has any cause of immune deficiency. This would be evident as recurrent illnesses, particularly infections, but not isolated to the skin only. The other aspect to consider is whether there is an underlying fungal infection which has compromised the integrity of the skin and these staph infections arise secondary to it. Other skin diseases may have the same consequence.

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