Stomach Rash: Causes and Treatments

Upper and Lower Abdominal Symptoms

Medically reviewed by Marisa Garshick, MD

A stomach rash can cause pain, itching, and general discomfort. There are numerous underlying causes of stomach rash, including infections and allergies. Identifying the type of rash can help pinpoint the right treatment to find relief.

This article will discuss the causes of stomach rash, treatments, and when to contact a healthcare provider.

<p>Iuliia Burmistrova / Getty Images</p>

Iuliia Burmistrova / Getty Images

Causes of Stomach Rash

There are numerous causes of stomach rash. Most of the causes fall under one of three categories:

  • Infection: This includes rashes caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

  • Allergic reactions: These rashes are caused by an immune reaction to a foreign substance.

  • Autoimmune conditions: This is an immune response that attacks the body's healthy cells.

Other causes of stomach rashes are stress and cold or hot weather.

What Medications Can Cause Stomach Rash Symptoms

A drug-induced rash is the body's reaction to certain medications. They are commonly caused by one of the following three factors:

  • An allergy to the medication

  • How the medication causes skin sensitivity to sunlight

  • An unwanted side effect of the medication

The medications that are most likely to cause stomach rashes are:

  • Antibiotics (drugs that fight bacterial infections)

  • Aspirin (a type of drug called a salicylate that reduces pain, fever, and inflammation)

  • Furosemide (a diuretic, or water pill)

  • Dilantin (the brand name of phenytoin, an antiepileptic drug that helps control seizures)

  • Antihypertensives (drugs that help control blood pressure)

Variations of Stomach Rash Symptoms

Stomach rash symptoms can vary widely based on what's causing the rash. A healthcare provider will evaluate the rash by examining its appearance and asking health history questions. They may also take a skin biopsy or culture the rash.

Stomach rash symptoms can include:

  • Itch

  • Redness

  • Pain

  • Blisters

  • Bumps

  • Raw skin

  • Raised areas of skin

Types of Stomach Rashes

Below covers several types of stomach rashes, and discusses the underlying cause and potential treatments.


Intertrigo is a rash caused by friction, moisture, and decreased ventilation between two areas of skin. It is often seen under the breast and looks red, swollen, and raw. This opening in the skin can lead to a secondary infection from bacteria or fungi.

Ways to heal and prevent intertrigo include:

  • Apply zinc oxide to protect the skin.

  • Shower and completely dry the skin after exercise or sweating.

  • Use a blow dryer on the cool setting to completely dry skin.

  • Reduce sweating with an antiperspirant.

Secondary infections (infections that occur during or after treatment for a primary infection) should be treated with medications specific to the type of infection.


Hives, also known as urticaria, are red, itchy patches of skin that can turn into swollen welts. They can occur anywhere on the skin, including the stomach. One unique characteristic of hives is that they blanch (turn white) when pressed.

Numerous substances or factors can trigger hives. They include:

  • Stress

  • Cold weather

  • Food

  • Insect bites

  • Pollen

  • Infections

The best way to treat hives is to avoid the substances that trigger the rash. For those who already have hives one way to help get rid of them is to take an antihistamine. This medication will help block the histamine response and alleviate the rash symptoms.

Hives can also be caused by constant pressure from tight clothing. You can relieve these pressure hives by wearing loose-fitting clothing.

Pityriasis rosea

Pityriasis rosea is a rash that tends to affect those between the ages of 10 and 35. It often appears on the stomach as one large patch surrounded by several small bumps or patches.

Before someone gets a pityriasis rosea rash, they may feel sick for several days or weeks before the rash appears. When the rash appears it is oval and slightly raised. It tends to be pink or salmon colored. After the rash first appears it can grow in size for about two weeks, at this point the small bumps surrounding the rash form.

For most people, pityriasis rosea rash does not need to be treated. It will go away on its own within six to eight weeks. Hydrocortisone cream, triamcinolone ointment, or an antihistamine can help if the rash is itchy.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that causes itchy, dry, and scaly skin. It can happen anywhere on the body, including the stomach. It tends to present in childhood and go away during the teen years. Researchers are not entirely sure why atopic dermatitis develops, but it's believed that genes and environment both play a role.

Atopic dermatitis cannot be cured, but there are treatments to help reduce the symptoms. Applying moisturizer is an important treatment to prevent the skin from cracking. Other treatment options include:

  • Corticosteroid cream

  • Topical calcineurin inhibitor cream

  • Crisaborole ointment

  • Ruxolitinib cream

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs when the skin comes into contact with something it is sensitive or allergic to. This could be perfume, poisonous plants such as poison ivy, soap, or one of many other substances.

The symptoms of contact dermatitis are:

  • Itching

  • Swelling

  • Redness

  • Irritation

  • Blisters or bumps

Antihistamines and steroid creams can relieve the irritation and itch caused by contact dermatitis. It's also important to avoid scratching, which can worsen the itch and cause breaks in the skin, allowing an infection to set in.

For those who have had contact dermatitis, it's important to find out what caused it, so that trigger can be avoided to prevent future rashes.

Infectious Causes

One of the most common causes of a rash is an infection, often a viral infection. Examples of viral rashes include:

Viral rashes usually have small pink spots and can appear almost anywhere but are often seen on the stomach, chest, and back. A fever or cold symptoms typically accompany the rash.

Rashes can be caused by bacterial sources as well. Two of the most common types of bacteria that cause rashes are Group A Streptococcus (strep) and Staphylococcus aureus (staph).

Syphilis is another type of bacteria that can form a rash on the stomach. It is during the secondary stage of syphilis that a rash on the stomach can form. It is also seen on the hands and feet. It appears as rough red or brown raised bumps on the skin.

Bacterial rashes are generally treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotic will vary based on which bacteria is causing the infection.

How to Treat a Stomach Rash

Stomach rash treatment will vary based on its cause. It's important to see a healthcare provider to determine the cause of the rash to get the proper treatment. When a rash can be treated at home the treatments may include:

Mast Cell Activation and Stomach Rashes

Mast cell activation syndrome is a condition in which the body releases excess amounts of the chemical histamine, causing allergy symptoms without a clear cause. The symptoms can include hives and flushing, which can appear on the stomach. Treatments will vary based on symptom severity and can include antihistamines, epinephrine, and corticosteroids.

When to Consult a Healthcare Provider

A rash can be a sign of a more serious condition. Contact a healthcare provider if the rash:

  • Covers most of the body

  • Is painful

  • Spreads quickly

  • Involves the mouth, eyes, or genitals

If someone has difficulty breathing or has swelling in their mouth or throat, call 911. These are symptoms of a serious reaction.

Stomach Rash Triggers

Numerous factors, including infections and allergens, can trigger stomach rashes. When the trigger has been identified, then it can be easier to avoid in the future, preventing rashes such as those that develop on the stomach. If it is difficult to determine the trigger, try to keep a log or diary of foods and substances that touch the skin. This may help narrow down a trigger.


Many different causes, like infections and allergies, can trigger a stomach rash. If you develop a stomach rash, see a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and to get started on the proper treatment. Treatments can include topical creams and oral medications.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.