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rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.

6Dec

Would knowing your future spouse has eczema change your decision to marry him/her? I knew my husband and his family have eczema (I’ve even drawn up an eczema family tree) but I didn’t know how tough it’d be to take care of a child with eczema. On the first consultation with my baby girl’s doctor, he jokingly said that I must really love my husband to marry him with the knowledge he has eczema! It got me thinking, would I have done so with the hindsight of how tough it is?!

Eczema Inherited

The likelihood of a child having eczema increases when there’s a family history of it – The % chance gets higher from (i) One parent having eczema, to (ii) Both parents having eczema and (iii) Both parents and siblings having eczema. This is a main reason why my husband and I are seriously considering stopping at one child, we don’t think we have the energy and courage to go through the trials a second time.

Can Eczema be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there’s no proven way to prevent eczema and it’s largely because the exact cause of eczema is not known, but there’re a few main causes identified and likely to be a multi-factorial condition. Here’re four main causes identified:

  1. Defective Skin Barrier – This is also known as the outside-in hypothesis whereby a defective skin barrier allows more irritant and allergen to penetrate the skin, which in turn induces the immune system to increase production of IgE (that work as antibody). Too much IgE will lead to skin inflammation, asthma, hayfever and food allergy.
  2. Allergy – It is not clear if there is a causal relationship between eczema and allergy or it is relational. What has been observed is that the more severe eczema is, the higher the chances of allergies.
  3. Auto-Immunity – This is the inside-out hypothesis that that the immune system has wrongly identified the organ it is meant to protect as an enemy to attack. It is also not known why the immune system over-reacts though the hygiene hypothesis is commonly cited.
  4. Staph – Staph is short for staphylococcus aureus, a very resilient bacteria found on the skin that can cause infection if it penetrates the skin. Staph increases IgE production, activate cells that leads to damage of skin cells.

So, as you can see, prevention is difficult when there’s so much uncertainty relating to the cause. Though not conclusive, certain pregnancy diet such as increased intake of fish and probiotics (LGG) have been shown to reduce the likelihood and/or severity of eczema.

Would I Marry my Husband?

Hmm… If I knew how tough it was, didn’t fall for him or agreed to meet him at the airport for the first time (he flew 5 hours to meet me… yes, for 1st meeting), maybe… just maybe…

p.s. I may just reveal more about why our first meeting was at the airport if enough of you ask @marciemom over twitter!

  

5 Responses to Question to Ask before Marriage – ‘Do You Have Eczema?’

  1. Anna

    Hi
    neither me nor my childrens dad have eczema yet they both suffer terribly, baby 2 has always been in better control from day one as we knew what it was, what to do and had the stuff to use. The hospital had plan in place before baby 2 was born.
    It is a really tough path but it is our path and I do the best I can for them both x

  2. Mei Mei

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for dropping me a comment 🙂 You’re so brave for having #2 – I feel like I haven’t yet recovered from taking care of my only child and still dread to think how to go through it a 2nd time! Meanwhile, I just hope to help other families through my blog, eczemablues.

    Take care & thanks for connecting!
    Mei

  3. Monica

    Hi Mei,

    Thanks for your post — it has been really englightening to read this. I met a great guy recently who has ezcema — his mother has it, too, but his sister doesn’t. He’s a wonderful guy, and I really like him, but I hesitate to continue dating him because I want children of my own someday, and I don’t want to risk it. It makes me sad because if eczema wasn’t hereditary, I would marry him in a heartbeat. I wish they would have a cure for this someday soon. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Mei Mei

      Hi Monica!

      How should I put it? I didn’t have to make this decision cos I didn’t know eczema could be so stressful!

      My gut feel is eczema shouldn’t get in the way of marrying the right guy – no matter how difficult (and not all instances of eczema would be severe), all families I’ve come across get through it – husband and wife together. Read my blog EczemaBlues Friday series and you get a sense of what families go through, the various types of accommodation they make in their lives, not one come out saying they regret marrying the partner with eczema. Maybe, you can standby additional help in case your baby has eczema, take probiotics during pregnancy, moisturize from birth – all these are studied to some extent to reduce likelihood/severity of eczema in the newborn.

      Love conquers all!
      xoxo, Mei

  4. ana

    Hi the person I am marrying has eczema
    And I don’t have it. Does it affect our sex life and probability of having a child.
    what is the likelihood of my child getting this

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