Eczema x Men
Eczema & men
Eczema is a common and chronic skin condition. It is a non-infectious skin disorder. It appears that genetics, dietary factors, allergies play an important role in the condition. Thus, it is prone to frequent flares. It is more common among children than adults. It may affect about 10% of the population. However, it is more severe in about 1-2% of adults.
Eczema causes red and itchy skin. Some individuals may even develop blisters. Quite often, skin becomes dry, scaly, cracked, and thickens due to the condition. Prolonged eczema may cause changes in the skin structure. It comes in bouts. Thus, there would be times when it gets worse, followed by periods of relative calm.
Eczema most frequently affects the arms and legs, neck, back, chest, and part of the tummy. Fortunately, it rarely affects the face.
Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema is the most common type of eczema. But there are other types like contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
Most of these forms of eczema vary only a bit from each other. For example, contact dermatitis develops by coming in contact with certain irritants. Dyshidrotic eczema may cause blisters in the hand and feet.
However, doctors may not always differentiate between various types of eczema. It is because, in many cases, mixed types may be present. Moreover, there are other less common types of eczema, like male genital eczema.
Another reason doctors may not differentiate between various types of eczema is that they often have similar causes and kinds of treatment.
Identifying the cause of eczema is quite challenging. It could be due to genetics, allergens, stress, hormonal changes, environmental toxins, pollutions. However, in children, food allergies appear to play a significant role.
Many people prone to eczema are also prone to other allergic reactions, asthma, and other non-infectious disorders caused by faulty immune responses.
Eczema prevention and treatment
Eczema can be prevented to a certain degree. One may avoid exposure to allergens that worsen the condition, like some chemicals, pollens, sweat, and even stress. Making dietary changes may help in some cases; thus, one may avoid eggs, dairy products (it may work in some cases only).
Using moisturizing creams and using supplements for eczema (herbals, vitamins, fish oil, manuka, evening primrose, probiotics) may help in some cases. Vitamins, zinc, and light therapy may also help some. However, choosing the right supplement or alternative treatment may be challenging. It requires lots of trials and errors.
People often ask if eczema can be cured? Well, it may be and maybe not. In many cases, it may simply disappear after prolonged treatment. It is because immune responses keep changing in people. However, it may be a consistent and chronic health issue for many.
Nevertheless, eczema can be managed effectively in most cases. Doctors would generally start with milder medications like dietary changes, skin nourishing creams, moisturizers, recommendations regarding avoidance of irritants. Special soaps and skin cleansers may help in many cases.
However, there would be a need for topical steroids in more severe cases. These creams are quite potent, rarely cause side effects if not used for too long. Therefore, they can help in most cases. Doctors may also prescribe antihistamine drugs (antiallergic drugs).
Regretfully, in a very small number of cases, eczema can be severe and resistant to various creams and antihistamines. In some, itching may be quite severe. In such cases, doctors may need to prescribe oral steroids. Oral steroid therapy is effective, perhaps safe in the short term. However, prolonged steroid therapy may have severe side effects in many.
If a person does not respond to corticosteroids, topical application of tacrolimus may be an option.
In recent years there has been lots of progress in understanding the underlying mechanism of the disease. In severe cases, doctors may use biologicals. Unfortunately, these biologicals are still not widely available, but they can be quite effective in resistant cases. Recently, the US FDA has approved a monoclonal antibody called dupilumab to manage the condition.
To conclude, eczema is a common problem in men. However, it is better managed with the help of pharmacological and non-pharmacological means. Thus, supplements, moisturizers, light therapy, stress management have a special place in eczema management.