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Erythema Multiforme?

Dear Doctor,

I posted in this forum regarding my symptoms a few years ago and received a helpful answer.

Over time I have been able to recognise the progression of my symptoms better and hoped you may have some suggestions as it is interfering with my work.  

I'm 34 and I've had a recurring illness for five years now which was preceded by a holiday period of heavy drinking and protected sex with a guy. I had also been on some antibiotics for a throat infection about 6 weeks before.  

I've had ongoing bouts (1 to 2 weeks) about eight times a year of various symptoms which are usually triggered after being out in the sun for a few hours or after drinking alcohol.

One time I had been lying in the sun in my bikini for a few hours and then had a few drinks that night. That night I began to feel sick in the stomach and the next day my stomach was bloated and I couldn't eat any food. I also had a headache, leg adema and severe muscle pains in my legs. About a day later a small, round, white looking sore developed near my bikini line which had been exposed to the sun.

I have also had one episode where I had a small blister on the labia and two small, white blisters on my lower torso which were preceded by flu symptoms for a week.

At other times I will experience a tingling in my lips and then develop a few ulcers in my mouth, raised lymph nodes, severe conjunctivitis, cough, restlessness, memory problems, the kind of tired that is not refreshed by sleep, pain in my right hip, joint pain in my wrists, back pain and tiny, dark pink spots with a white centre will appear on my stomach and then fade in a few days.  

I contracted HSV 1 on my mouth when I was younger and two Western Blot tests for HSV 2 have been negative. One Western Blot test was negative for HSV 1 and the other was inconclusive.

I have come to the conclusion that I may have erythema multifome, but if so, there is nothing to really culture to prove it and I'm not sure if it was triggered by HSV 1 infection, the antibiotics or a period of heavy drinking?

My questions are as follows:

1. Does it sound like erythema multiforme?
2. Is it possible to contract HSV 1 genitally if you already had HSV 1 antibodies due to cold sores?
3. If it was the antibiotics would you only get an attack of erythema multiforme when you had the same antibiotics?
4. Can heavy drinking trigger this condition? (Must admit this doesn't sound very plausible to me).
5. Is there any way to identify erythema multiforme other than a culture of a sore or a visual inspection?

Thank you for your help.

2 Responses
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with erythema multiforeme a few months ago, but the rash started in October.  
I have not asked my dermatologist if I should stay away from alcohol, but the Chinese herbalist and many wise elders in my family have advised me to not consume alcohol.  I did not listen to them and drank some.  yes, they were right...I noticed the rash coming back on.

Avatar universal
Could be quinine allergy. Quinine is in tonic water and bitter lemon drinks.
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