Fashionable toilet seats and harsh cleaning chemicals cause 'poop' dermatitis, says a new American research.
Bernard Cohen, director of pediatric dermatology at Hopkins Children's Center, who led the research, said: "Toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries, but one that younger pediatricians have not come across in their daily practice. If our small analysis is any indication of what's happening, we need to make sure the condition is on every pediatrician's radar."
Scrutinizing five cases from the United States and India in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, Cohen and his team said the condition has re-emerged due to harsh cleaning chemicals and exotic wooden toilet seats, especially seats covered with varnishes and paints.
According to Cohen, kids can develop irritation after several uses of a wooden seat or persistent exposure to residue from harsh cleaning chemicals.
He called upon pediatricians to inquire about toilet seats and cleaners used at home and at school whenever they see a child with skin irritation around the buttocks or upper thighs.
The researchers point out that most cases can be treated with topical steroids, but when pediatricians don't suspect the cause and the treatment is not given properly, the inflammation can continue and spread further, leading to painful and itchy skin eruptions.
Persistently irritated skin is open to the risk of bacterial infection and may cause more serious infections requiring oral antibiotics.
Cohen's student and lead researcher, Ivan Litvinov of McGill University in Montreal, said: "Some of the children in our study suffered for years before the correct diagnosis was made."
Cohen and colleagues said that the use of paper toilet seat covers in public restrooms, including hospital and school restrooms, the replacement of wooden toilet seats with plastic ones, the regular cleaning of toilet seats and bowls and avoiding the use of harsh store-brand cleaners, which often contain skin irritants like phenol or formaldehyde, can prevent toilet-seat dermatitis.