Eczema treatments
June 12, 2004 12:24 PM   Subscribe

What are some good treatments for eczema? [somewhat gross details inside]

I have terrible eczema in my groin area (I know, sorry for bringing it up). I've been to two different dermatologists in the past several months. The first gave me an Rx for a steroid cream. It got a little bit better at first, but then started to get worse -- raw skin and painful bumps. I told this to the second dermatologist who gave me an Rx for a stronger steroid cream. It doesn't seem to be helping at all. I guess the idea is that the cream will stop the itch and if I stop scratching the eczema will get better. This is definitely not the case -- very itchy all the time, and very painful. Even if I make it through the day without scratching, I'll often wake up in the middle of the night to find myself scratching without even realizing it. Anyone have any pointers? Please help me, Metafilter, I'm hurting bad.
posted by TurkishGolds to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
There has been a thread on AskMeFi about this before with lots of recommendation. You might want to try Calendula cream.

You must not scratch it. I am not kidding. Scratching is the one single thing which makes the condition of it worse. This might mean that you have to wear gloves and tie your hands up at night.
posted by skylar at 12:38 PM on June 12, 2004

Sorry, skylar. I tried to search AskMeFi for it, but I didn't find anything.
posted by TurkishGolds at 12:54 PM on June 12, 2004

posted by srboisvert at 12:57 PM on June 12, 2004

That's a tough place to get it, as the crotch naturally gets lots of friction when you walk. It might help to wear pants with a "gusseted" crotch. Most pants have a seam right in the crotch where 4 pieces of fabric come together in a lump. A gusseted crotch replaces the entire crotch area with a big, flat piece of fabric, eliminating that lump, and giving you more freedom of movement. It doesn't look any different to someone standing in front of you. Just feels better. All Gramicci pants are made this way (I think) as are many of the ones you'll find in REI, etc. If I were you, I'd also experiment with briefs and boxers to see which creates less irritation throughout the day.

Good luck!
posted by scarabic at 2:39 PM on June 12, 2004

One thing I didn't see on the linked thread is the joy of oatmeal. Ground oatmeal makes a good soap replacement and doesn't dry you out at all. (I find that even sensitive soap kills my skin.) You can also put it in the bath as described in the chicken pox thread. And shea butter is an awesome moisturizer. Stay away from any lotions with alcohol. Take lortadine (claritin, etc.) to bring itchiness down.
posted by dame at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2004

Have they done a skin culture? It might not be eczema but some sort of fungal infection, and unfortunately, steroids drive fungal infections batshit. And eczema is notoriously misdiagnosed, seeing as it strays so close to the catchall atopic dermatitis. You might want to try seeing another dermatologist, or perhaps a naturopath or Chinese herbalist to determine what it could be, and if there's any lifestyle changes that might mitigate the effects of it.

Sympathy from a fellow sufferer, and good luck.
posted by calistasm at 3:29 PM on June 12, 2004

calistasm, I originally thought that it was a fungal infection and I self-medicated for this for a while. I've been to two dermatologists, mentioned that I thought it was fungal to both, and both were able to rule that out after looking at it for 5 seconds. God, I've been suffering with this for so long, I think that I might actually try to find a naturopath or Chinese herbalist just for kicks. I definitely belive in mind-over-body solutions for stuff like this, but some coaching would be good.
posted by TurkishGolds at 3:59 PM on June 12, 2004

...but, on the other hand, I do feel like the steroids are driving it batshit. Since seeking treatment a few months ago it's now a lot worse.
posted by TurkishGolds at 4:00 PM on June 12, 2004

turkish, have you tried Olux foam? i've tried nearly every eczema medication possible (elidel, elocon, etc.), and with the exception of diprolene, they had little to no effect. my mom/physician let me try out this Olux stuff though a month ago, and my eczema got 0wn3d.

here's yet another askme thread on eczema, by the way, where i had a few suggestions.
posted by lotsofno at 6:15 PM on June 12, 2004

I believe eczema can be caused by an immune system disorder, too (basically, you become allergic to yourself). You might enquire as to that.

There are some new drugs coming to market (ISA247 is one) that are proving highly efficacious with significantly lower side-effects than previous treatments. Could be a few years before you can easily lay hands on them, though.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:53 PM on June 12, 2004

Good moisturizer after every shower helped me a lot.
posted by callmejay at 9:58 PM on June 12, 2004

posted by callmejay at 9:58 PM on June 12, 2004

Following on from fff, have you looked into your diet?

A friend of mine used to get terrible eczema in her ears which drove her crazy. She kept a food diary, eventually pinned it down to full fat (cow's) milk & hasn't had a problem since.

Cow's milk seems to be a trigger for a lot of people's eczema.
posted by i_cola at 4:25 AM on June 13, 2004

Laundry detergents can often cause these reactions, though sometimes they're also aggravated by things like weather and there's not much to do about it except try not to scratch and apply some sort of cream (I use hydrocortisone, when I was younger I had a special super-powerful variety prescribed, but now I just use the off-the-shelf variety).
posted by dagnyscott at 7:21 PM on June 13, 2004

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