Please Help

If you have questions about living with and managing eczema and dermatitis, please ask our experts here.

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LaurenB92
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:47 am
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by LaurenB92 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:25 am

Please Help

My eczema has got worse over the last year. Ive had it since being a child, however, it wasn't that bad and flare ups didn't last long.

About a year ago, I had patches of it all over my legs and and had it on my breasts, which became infected and lasted for about four months. It eventually cleared up, however, I still had patches behind my knees which didnt really bother me. Since then, I have developed it on my foot. It becomes infected every six weeks or so and I just can't stop scratching it. It starts to clear up and then I scratch it, it bleeds and oozes and heels again.

The thing is, I really enjoy the feeling I get when I scratch it and when I start I cant stop. I know I shouldnt scratch but I just can't help it. I then feel really down and I am starting to get really depressed and fed up with it. It has now spread to my toes and my fingers, which are also infected now.

My doctor has given me many different creams, I use emollient cream, bath ointments, steroid cream, moisturising creams, anti biotic cream and anti-histermines . My biggest issue is scratching which is making it worse and causing the infections.

Can anyone give me any advise on what to try. I have been looking into the itch stopper, UV treatment (maybe using sunbeds) , gluten or lactose intolerance, different creams...

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ckbridgett
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:21 am
Location: London,UK
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by ckbridgett on Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:49 am

Re: Please Help

A review by a Dermatologist may be useful to ensure the creams you are using are correct, the way you are using them is optimal, and there is no other complication preventing healing, apart from your scratching.
Then you need to tackle the scratching.
The most effective way of breaking the itch-scratch-itch cycle, which is driven by reflex behaviour that is an instinct in everyone, is to find out about habit reversal at http://www.atopicskindisease.com
Because of the habit of scratching taking over after a while, antihistamine medication can become ineffective, unfortunately.
So, find out about The Combined Approach: habit reversal is not difficult to use. Perhaps there are others reading this who have used it and can encourage you to try.
DrB
Dr Christopher Bridgett
Consultant Psychiatrist

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... idgett.php

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Nurse_Janet_Keyworth
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:28 pm
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by Nurse_Janet_Keyworth on Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:04 pm

Re: Please Help

Hi Lauren
Breaking the itch scratch cycle is always a challenge for eczema sufferers. Anyone who is constantly having infected eczema which requires antibiotic tablets should be referred to a dermatologist. It is always good to assess your topical treatments to ensure you are using the correct potency of a steroid cream. Quite often with stubborn areas we use what is called a paste bandage which patients say are quite soothing. They are more messy than using a cream but just by wrapping the affected area up so you cant scratch often helps. Its not good to wrap up whilst it is infected as this can make the infection worse but once the infection has cleared they are safe to use and often break the itch scratch cycle. They are more practical to use at night but can be worn during the day if that is practical for you and can be left in place for 2-3 days which allows the eczema to heal.

You need to ask your GP for a referral to see a Dermatologist.

Hope this is of help.

Kind Regards
Janet
Janet Keyworth
Clinical Nurse Specialist

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Wendy Green
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 11:27 am
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by Wendy Green on Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:53 pm

Re: Please Help

Hi Lauren,

Aside from the excellent advice you have already been given regarding breaking the itch-scratch-itch cycle I suggest you also look at your diet and lifestyle.

Aim at eating a balanced, wholesome diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, unrefined carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, oats, brown rice and pasta, as well as oily fish, chicken and lean meat, nuts, seeds and low fat dairy foods; these foods provide the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed for healthy skin.

If you think you might have a food intolerance you could try keeping a food diary to see if there is any link between what you eat and your eczema symptoms. If you see a pattern emerging, ask your GP if you could be referred to a dietician, who may suggest that you follow an 'exclusion and challenge test'. This involves cutting out the suspect food/foods to see if your symptoms improve, then reintroducing the food/foods to see if your eczema worsens again. It's best to carry this out under medical supervison to make sure you eat a balanced diet during the process.

Taking evening primrose oil and fish oil supplements may also help to calm down inflammation and help lubricate your skin from the inside. I have found these very beneficial - in fact when I stop taking them my eczema usually returns.

if you don't already, I suggest you avoid using shower gels/foam bath and soaps, as these damage the delicate skin barrier - use an emollient cream to wash with instead, to help keep your skin soft and supple.

Manage your stress levels by taking regular time out and trying not to overdo things. Regular exercise, deep breathing and meditation can also help. Make sure you get plenty of sleep too.

I hope these suggestions help you,

Best wishes,

Wendy
Wendy Green
Health Expert and Author

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... _green.php

LaurenB92
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:47 am
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by LaurenB92 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:20 pm

Re: Please Help

Thank you all for your great advice and help.

I am going to try the scratch habit reversal. I have looked into a few techniques including clench fists and applying pressure to the area when feeling the need to scratch.

The patches sound good as well, I will definitely be asking my doctor to refer me to a dermatologist.

I will have a look at my diet as well as I do think this is affecting the eczema. I have recently returned from my holiday where I was eating a healthy, Mediterranean diet and it improved a lot but when I returned to my normal diet, it worsened.

I went to a health store and asked the assistant about what may help my eczema. He suggested flaxseed oil which I bought. Would this work as well?

Once again, thank you all for your help. You have really helped me and I will be trying everything you have suggested.

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Dr Anton Alexandroff
Posts: 435
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:11 am
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by Dr Anton Alexandroff on Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:53 am

Re: Please Help

Hello Lauren,

I completely agree with my colleages. I would just stress again that ti is vitally important to continue to use emollient generously even if your skin is in a good condition/clear, and when it flares up you will need to use steroid creams or tacrolimus/pimecolimus topical preparations.

with best wishes,
Dr Anton Alexandroff
Consultant Dermatologist
Bedford and Leicester
alexandroff.org.uk
Dr Anton Alexandroff
Consultant Dermatologist, Honorary Senior Lecturer & BSF spokesperson - FRCP, CCT (Derm), PhD, FRSM, FAAD

http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... ndroff.php

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