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red patches on abdominal area and trunk
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red patches on abdominal area and trunk

I discovered an oval red patch on my lower right abdominal area, below my belly button, several months ago. Originally it was the size of a pancake. It is mildly tender in that area only, and not always tender, often has no feeling at all. However, that general area has always been sensitive to touch, always somewhat tender or ticklish. Now the redness has extended to much of belly area, upper thighs, around sides of stomach, somewhat on buttocks. Not flaky, raised or itchy, just red/dark pink. It is intermittant redness, not continual, but once the redness onsets, it doesn't go away. Some areas fairly large, others small, in different shapes around my body. May be related to being very overweight (about 70  lbs.) which I am trying to reduce by diet and exercise. The red areas look like the color skin turns when mildy sunburned, but I avoid direct sun, and the areas affected never get direct exposure to sun. I don't drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or consume coffee or other caffeinated drinks. Don't eat any fried foods. Am reducing the amount of spicy foods. Just left a very stressful job. Am lactose intolerant and avoid all milk and some other dairy products, though limited amounts of yogurt and cheese don't seem to bother me. Also, seem to have developed irritable bowel syndrome this past year, but this is not officially diagnosed. Am 54 year old White female, past menopause, 5 feet tall. No major illnesses in past year, no major surgery ever. I'm married with 2 grown sons. Appendix never removed. Not taking any medications, not even hormone replacement or anything to prevent bone loss, just Advil sometimes for headaches. I know, I should go to see a doctor, but I hate them telling me I'm overweight and need to lose pounds. So I'm trying to shed some of this fat first and then will go to get checked. Have not even had a pap smear or mammogram in 5 - 10 years (I know I should, see above.)Don't know what my cholesterol levels are, probably high in all the wrong areas. So, can you give me an idea what is causing these spreading red patchy areas? And what can I do to reduce, eliminate or at least prevent the  spread of them? My thanks to you for your kind reply.
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Patchy red rashes can be eczema, fungus, or perhaps yeast, along with a variety of less common ailments.  I'd bet on fungus, but of course I can't be sure. Most of these can be asily treated, but someone needs to see you to be able to diagnose and treat you properly.  I am confident that a dermatologist would not tell you to lose weight.  

I think you owe it to yourself to overcome self-consciousness and have someone diagnose and treat you properly.  It will no doubt be quite straightforward for them to do so.

Meantime, try over-the-counter 1% clotrimazole cream twice daily on at least some of the affected areas.  Your response (or lack of response) should help evaluation.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
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