What is neurodermatitis?
Have you ever experienced an itch that just won’t go away no matter how much you scratch it? Well, if you have, then you might be familiar with a skin disorder called neurodermatitis. This condition is not only bothersome but it can also negatively impact your quality of life. In this article, we will delve into the world of neurodermatitis and find out what it is all about.
Let’s Get Technical
Before we dive any deeper, let us talk technical for a minute or two. According to the medical experts out there (whoever they may be), neurodermatitis is defined as “a chronic skin condition characterized by itching and scratching.” Wowza! That sounds like the understatement of the century!
When someone has this lovely little condition, their skin becomes irritated and inflamed due to constant scratching or rubbing in response to intense itchiness. The medical term for this cycle of madness is lichen simplex chronicus, which literally translates to “hardened lichenified thickening due to excessive scraping.”
Not so simple after all huh?
Symptoms – Don’t Scratch Your Head Over Them
The main symptom of neurodermatitis (aside from feeling irritable) would definitely have to be…you guessed it – itching! However, one peculiar thing about this type of itchiness is that it tends to occur in specific areas such as:
- On your wrists
- Inside your elbows
- Behind your knees
- Below or on top of your ankles
- Across the nape
- And/or scalp
Additionally, those who suffer from neurodermatitis often develop visible signs on their skin such as redness, bumps or scabs caused by repetitive scratching.
If left unattended (which honestly doesn’t sound too appealing), these persistent symptoms can cause anxiety and even depression amongst individuals affected by the disorder as they may experience difficulty sleeping or concentrating on other things.
Causes – It’s Not All In Your Head
While some might say this all starts in your head, there are indeed a variety of factors that could contribute to neurodermatitis. Here are just a few potential causes:
Stress and anxiety
Stress…the one thing most people like to avoid but seems impossible at times. When we’re under stress, our immune system gets weaker which makes it easier for skin infections to happen. Scratch scratch scratch!
Does the term ‘family genes’ ring any bells? Well, neurodermatitis can be inherited from family members who have chronic atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema). So you may very well have a reason to blame dad or mum after all…not that you would want too (wink)
Dry skin is known to be more prone to itchiness due in large part to “lack of moisture.” Oh geez! Go slather on some moisturizer ASAP!
Various environmental exposures like cold weather and rough clothing can also play an essential role.
How is Neurodermatitis Treated?
Now let us talk about how this pesky condition is treated because laughter isn’t always going the best medicine – go figure.
Since scratching exacerbates skin irritation (darn it), treatment primarily focuses on soothing inflammation associated with itching via:
- Topicals such as steroids
- Certain oral medication.
- Cool compresses
- Relaxation techniques involving breathing exercises and calming music – Namaste baby!
In severe cases though, treatment tends center around behaviour therapy with professionals helping patients take control over their desire tob incessantly itch which helps curb inflammation overtime.
Phew…who knew finding relief could entail so much work..really wish I did not find out though – ha ha!
Prevention is Key
Okay, dare we even say the word no one wants to hear: Prevention! Encapsulating all things from dry skin prevention, managing stress and reducing any excessive scratching or rubbing.
Oh my what fun!
While avoiding Neurodermatitis might not be possible for some of us…good news is that exercising simple preventive measures like aforementioned can help mitigate symptoms (yayyy!!) and make living with this disorder-less tortuously given.
Bottom Line – Itching Is Not Always A Laughing Matter
Neurodermatitis may sound technical yet it’s not only about science but reality as well – a reality many people are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Still, there are various ways of controlling its symptoms – so do breathe easy guys 🙂
Be mindful though in case you ever experience incessant itching at targeted areas because sorry to be the bearer of bad news…neuro-curlitin-whoops did I stutter? Dermatitis (there!) could very well be lurking behind the scenes.