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Avatar universal

hand eczema and irregular menstrual cycle

I am a 28 year-old woman and for the past year have been suffereing from severe hand eczema and irregular menstrual cycles, neither of which I have had before.  All testing from allergist and ob/gyn have come back normal...no reason for either.  I personally feel there is a link between the two, as in maybe an immune system problem, but cannot seem to get any answers other than more steroid creams for the eczema and regulating drugs for the menstrual cycle.  I'm wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar?  and also, does anyone manage his/her hand eczema without the use of steroid creams (I am using gentle cleansers, avoiding water, wearing cotton gloves, using aquaphor, etc. already).  Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
7 Responses
Avatar universal

'Anti-itch drugs, often antihistamine, may reduce the itch during a flare up of eczema, and the reduced scratching in turn reduces damage and irritation to the skin.

They do not cure eczema, but are highly effective in controlling or suppressing symptoms in most cases.

For mild-moderate eczema a weak steroid may be used (e.g. hydrocortisone or desonide), whilst more severe cases require a higher-potency steroid (e.g. clobetasol propionate, fluocinonide).

Eczema can be exacerbated by dryness of the skin. Moisturizing is one of the most important self-care treatments for sufferers of eczema. Keeping the affected area moistened can promote skin healing and relief of symptoms.

Light therapy using ultraviolet light can help control eczema. UVA is mostly used, but UVB and Narrow Band UVB are also used. Ultraviolet light exposure carries its own risks, particularly eventual skin cancer from exposure.

The first and primary recommendation is that people suffering from eczema shouldn't use detergents of any kind on their skin unless absolutely necessary.

Dermatological recommendations in choosing a soap generally include:[citation needed]

* Avoid harsh detergents or drying soaps
* Choose a soap that has an oil or fat base; a "superfatted" goat milk soap is best
* Use an unscented soap
* Patch test your soap choice, by using it only on a small area until you are sure of its results
* Use a non-soap based cleanser
* Use plain yogurt instead of soap'


Let us know if you need any further information.

Do consult your doctor about this too.

Keep us posted on how you are doing and if you have any other doubts.

Avatar universal
Hi there,

Your symptoms sound like mine.  I have been suffering with hand eczema for the last 2 years, and have noted that it would flare up around the time of my period, or after eating certain foods like flour-based products, eggs, beef, seafood, etc.  I still haven't had much success with treatment - so far tried acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine (which helped in the past), cortisones, etc. Just found what this condition might be called autoimmune progesterone eczema.  And the description of symptoms sounds like what I am going through. Will try a naturopath after this. And will update you after treatment.  Hope you have found some relief. Please share if you have.
Avatar universal
Hello.  The only relief I found was while I was pregnant with  my daughter.  The eczema completely cleared up for the last 5 months of my pregnancy.  Now she is 6 weeks old and it is just starting to come back (I have those clear watery blisters starting under the skin).  I will update you if I find any relief.  Please let me know if you have had any success.  Good luck.
681148 tn?1437665191
I agree about the food sensitivities and allergies.  I have had eczema on my hands that would put most peoples' eczema to shame.  I had a severe allergic reaction to latex gloves from when I had a dishwashing job.  The skin on the backs of both hands literally disintegrated.  That wasn't the end of it.  That was years ago, when I was much younger than you are now.

I have also had eczema that was one giant blister on the heel of either hand when it started.  The blister was about an inch in diameter.  I knew not to pop the things, but they eventually did this on their own.  It's rather difficult for this to not happen, since the heel of the hand is on the palm side of the hand.  Even if I tried to avoid certain things, it was impossible for me to keep my hands completely still.  Oh, and by the way, those blisters were so big that they interferred when I had to write and sign my name.

I discovered that I am allergic to petroleum based products.  Guess what your commercial detergents are made of?  And, they're things that the doctor mentioned above to avoid.

Getting back to food sensitivities.  Check it out.  Most of us have food sensitivities and allergies that we're unaware of.  Do some research about the basic elimination diet.  It will really help you narrow down which foods you could be sensitive to.  I just read an excellent article on mercola.com that you really should investigate.  You don't have to subscribe to read this great article either.  Go to mercola.com to find the latest newsletter.  Find the article called "How Yeast Wreaks Havoc on Your Life (Health) and How to Address it".  This is vital information for just about everyone I know.  It was mentioned that up to 75% of women have this Candidas and don't know about it.  It affects men, too.  Candidas is linked to many common illnesses, including food sensitivities and allergies.  Untreated Candidas leads to serious illnesses.  Conventional medicine doesn't really know how to deal with Candidas.  Check this out, you'll be glad that you did.

There are many more natural personal care products that will certainly help with the hand eczema, because your hands won't be exposed to the irritants that cause the problem nearly so much.  Trust me, changing your shampoo and conditioner will really help.  Earth Science and Jason both make natural fragrance free shampoos and conditioners.  They are not harsh and drying, which really helps your hands, too.

Changing your laundry products will also help.  If you have eczema on your hands, chances are the rest of your skin is affected by the products you use, too.  Seventh Generation makes a natural laundry soap.  There are a couple of others that you can find at your natural grocery stores.

A very big one to change, though, is your dish liquid.  Stop using the commercial petroleum based detergents.  They aren't even soap!  Seventh Generation is an excellent dish liquid.  Don't worry about the lack of suds compared to your commercial products.  Your dishes will still be plenty clean enough.  There is a reason for this with all natural products, including your shampoos.  They don't contain the well-known carcinogen sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS) or any of its derivatives.  Manufacturers add this to their products to create an unnatural lather that we're all programmed to believe is normal and necessary.  It's not.  SLS is harsh on the skin and very drying and should be avoided for this reason alone.  I found an excellent type of hand soap that is made from vegetable glycerin (there's your fat) and doesn't irritate the skin.  It has a wide variety of choices.  I use the one that has no added fragrances and is just called "natural", because I don't do well with any scents, including the natural ones.  The company is called Sappo Hill.  The soap cakes are round.  I found that candle bases for pillar candles work great as soap dishes for this differently shaped soap.  I found the one I'm using now that someone was getting rid of.  It's made of pottery, too.  They have two varieties of soaps made with different grades of oatmeal.  This, too, could prove helpful to you, because oatmeal is supposed to be soothing for the skin.  I don't use the oatmeal ones, because I'm gluten intolerant.  Whatever you use on your skin (largest organ for your body) still enters your blood stream.  But, the finely milled oatmeal variety might work well for your eczema, too.  The natural one is the most neutral one, though, that I have found.  You'll love the price of the Sappo Hill soaps, too.  They are so affordable that there is no excuse for even the sickest and most sensitive person to go without bathing and remaining clean.

Watch out, because SLS is also in your toothpaste.  There are natural toothpastes that don't contain any SLS.  You have to watch out even with the natural ones and read the ingredients to make sure they don't sneak SLS into an otherwise acceptable product.  One brand that doesn't have this is called Waleda.  It's a company in Germany.  They even have a variety of toothpaste that has a natural pink color, due to the herb that makes it that color.

Another big help is to actually go without using ANY soap that isn't absolutely necessary.  Well, this works out great for my dry skin and hair.  You can actually get in the shower and massage your scalp without using any shampoo or conditioner at all.  This will actually help even if your hair is oily by nature.  You're still removing the excess oil and dirt, but without torturing your skin.  This is really great for people with dry scalp and hair, because it will stimulate the scalp into producing the oils necessary for the skin and hair, because you're not stripping your scalp and hair either.

Again, this isn't your hands, but you're keeping your hands out of harm's way by doing these change overs.  I speak from experience.

Also, find a good body lotion or cream that you can use on your hands, too, that isn't petroleum based.

The cleansers that the doctor was talking about that have no detergent or soap base can also be found at the natural markets.  Earth Science makes an excellent line of affordable products.  They have cleansers and moisturizers for the face that are even fragrance free.  I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and I'm not experiencing problems with this line.  The same may not be true of every person with MCS for every product.  I learned that the hard way when I had a severe reaction to face moisturizing cream made by Jason that burned my skin.  It's natural, but it's not fragrance free.  It clearly has herbs in it that I am very allergic to.  On the other hand, I know someone with MCS who can use this one without any problems whatsoever.  Now, you know why I go for fragrance free even with the natural products, though.

I haven't had any hand eczema since I made these changes in my environment and checked for food sensitivities.  And, I have had it very severely, as you read in my descriptions.
Avatar universal
Were you tested for gluten intolerance? You might consider visiting www.enterolab.com for more information. I discovered that I was gluten intolerant after having the following symptoms: migraines, dizzy spells, lightheadedness, menstrual cycle issues etc. Now that I have been off of gluten, most of my symptoms have gone away.

Recently, however, I came into contact with gluten and developed eczema patches over my eyes. Gluten exposure leads to auto-immune reactions in my system and can flare up this way.  I know that this is a symptom of gluten intolerance and am doing my best to find where I might be getting cross contamination.

Although creams may help in the short term, keep in mind that the issue is usually coming from the inside out.
681148 tn?1437665191
Although I commented some time ago, it is worth reiterating that you may or may not test positive for gluten intolerance but still find yourself to be gluten intolerant.  The tips the good doctor provided will help.  The stuff I already mentioned only compliment what the good doctor said.  Often, conventional and natural medicine do agree on some of these points, such as being careful about which products one uses for personal care products when one has eczema.  Certainly, againstthegrain and I are in agreement about the gluten, in that avoiding gluten has certainly helped both of us.  And, we both pay if we come into contact with gluten.  

It sounds very strange but you will find that avoiding gluten has great potential of reducing your misery during your menstrual cycle.  I used to suffer so much more than I do now.  I'm not 100% pain free, and I'm still dealing with heavy cycles.  However, the severity and duration of the pain is so much better and even how heavy the cycles has been greatly reduced.  They're still heavy, just not nearly as heavy.  So gluten definitely does play a role in this.  I also don't get the giant blood clots that I was getting before I discovered how bad gluten was for me in more ways than one.  I was very happy when I finally noticed the giant blood clots were gone.  That's big, because no doubt the uterus contractions were so much more painful because of working so hard to pass these blood clots.  I'm thinking this because I used to always notice that the pain from the cramping greatly reduced as soon as those monstosities passed.  They were so big I could feel them when they passed.  Now, if I cheat and it's close to time for my period, I will get a bit of a blood clot (not as much as when I didn't know of course) and a slight increase in the cramping.  So, there is definitely a connection.  I don't know the scientific or biological reasons for this stuff and how much a woman suffers with the menstruation, but I know my experience with this is at least anecdotal evidence.  Someone with knowledge of why gluten does this when we menstruate will have to explain why things work this way.

Sorry it was so graphic, but maybe this will help another young woman to find a way to reduce the suffering surrounding menstruation.  What can I say, when I quit the gluten for the colon issues and the eczema issues I had a happy surprise with less suffering during menstruation, too.  So, I don't care what the fancy lab work doesn't say in my case concerning whether certain doctors believe me about being gluten intolerant or not, because my own life's experience and this anecdotal evidence says that I'm right and it's my colon health and my skin health and my women's health issues I'm dealing with--not the doctors who doubt me just because their stupid test says I'm not gluten intolerant.

Save your money and just experiment with going off of gluten for a few months just to see the change you experience for yourself.  If your experience is like mine and it says you're negative concerning gluten intolerance, that doesn't mean that you're not gluten intolerant.  I know, because I definitely suffer a whole lot less when I'm not cheating.  My one primary doctor who has seen the eczema flare up as bad as I described above doesn't doubt me.  She has seen the change for the better.  Even the allergist believes me and he knows what I say about food intolerance versus food allergy is true when concerning conventional medicine.  The enterolab site that was mentioned is a different test than the one recognized by conventional medicine.  I never had a chance to use that one, but I know it's a good place.  A friend of mine who had a longer list of food intolerances than mine recommended it.  But, if you are short on money, you can save a lot of money simply by seeing if you experience changes for the better when you stop gluten entirely.

Stay away from dairy while you are doing this, too.  If you read up on this, you will find that many who are diagnosed with Celiac have a cross reaction to the casein protein in dairy.  I've found that this isn't everyone who has Celiac, but enough do that it is worth just staying away from dairy for the duration of your experiment in order to prevent cross reactions that may lead you to conclude that you're not gluten intolerant when you actually are.  While one is gluten intolerant, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is Celiac, however some view gluten intolerance as a less severe form of Celiac.  Either way, the treatment for both is AVOIDANCE of all forms of gluten.  Anyway, take a look at the Celiac forum and you'll find the information there about casein.  

Avatar universal
Hi H 28. This is an immune system issue. When pregnant some components of your immune system are down regulated (or modulated in a particular way) otherwise the immune system would attack the embryo.  This modulation is the reason why women with a variety of immune related issues have reduced symptoms or are symptom free during pregnancy.
The issue for you however is that your immune system is activated unnecessarily at times. The symptoms will rise and fall according to underlying immune system cycling and intersection with allergens. Step 1. Get the Physical things right. Diet - avoid the antagonists such as "bad foods" chemicals etc, get your teeth checked by an integrative dental practitioner - reason is bad teeth, dental implants and root canalled teeth enable dental bacteria to get into the blood stream and produce endo-toxins which will cause a variety of inflammatory disorders. If you have a root canalled tooth or teeth I would get them out - your choice. Next physical step is to eliminate fungal infections as a possible issue, they also produce toxins which can be disastrous and cause reactive inflammation - strict diet is a first step but add good quality probiotics - essential. Then you must do exercise - weight bearing is better because it increases stem cell activity and this also regulates immune activity - brings about homeostasis - balance to the immune system. See "Crohn's disease Osiris clinical study" on web - stem cells can have dramatic effects on inflammation.
Step 2 is the Mental - being calm and being positively occupied may need some focus. There are many things one could do here from relaxation programs to meditation to transformative courses. Different things work better for different people - but getting to a calm state is important. Add in a positive psychology lesson - see books - Flourish and the Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman. People who are flourishing add to their vibrancy and good health.
Think about your immune system as an adaptive system that plastic and can change - you can change it over time just like your brain is adaptive and if injured it can recover - see the Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doige. It takes time but your immune system can be modified to be less reactive but you have to get rid of antagonists first and then activate your normal body functions and de-stress mentally and then be positively engaged in creating things - your life and your children's lives etc etc.
Back to immune cycles - these are just starting to be understood by the medical research community. Like the menstrual cycle there is an immune cycle - but it switches on and off over 6 to 8 days not the 28 to 30 days of the menstrual cycle. if you are having symptoms of skin and other irritation/inflammation then the Inflammation will mainly occur as it switches on and build its activity over about 3 days. eg with T cells (part of your immune system) they are activated and then after about 3 days they are down regulated by Treg cells and then about 3 days later the T cells turn on again. You can get an idea of where the cycle is by accurate temperature measures every day using an inner ear electronic digital thermometer (the other way is to get CRP measures from your blood which is much more complicated and needs your doctor to organise). Plot the temperatures and join the dots and you will see the wave of the cycle. Best to do every 12 hours. You might then make sure you have a very relaxing day when the cycle is at the bottom of activity - this is when the temperature is lowest and the immune cells as being activated. eg have a hot soothing bath and have a calm "look after yourself" day. Weight bearing exercise is better done before the bottom of the cycle so that the stem cells are activated the day before the T cells are activated.
This probably sounds a little weird, but it's worth a try. As we find out more about the immune system cycles it will have a dramatic effect on many illnesses like cancer, auto immune diseases and infectious diseases. Check the web for "immune cycles Ashdown" and "immune cycles 7 day Huggins".
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