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Nummular Dermatitis - A Painful Allergy Rash

When my son was born April 14, 2009, I immediately began breastfeeding and stuck with it until just after his first birthday. While there were benefits of breastfeeding there were also complications such as mastitis infection of the breast from bacteria or lack of emptying the breast of milk.

In August 2009, the first night of having this infection I experienced a fever like I had never had before. At some time during the night the fever caused profuse sweating and to my dismay the next morning I woke up with a rash on my upper thigh/buttocks. Rashes are not new to me at all, I grew up having different types of eczema, psoriasis, and other skin issues surrounding its acidity. However, this rash was different and needed to be looked at by a professional.

The rash is red, small, and circular with scales around the outside. It itches like crazy and even after scratching it, it still feels good to scratch it more. It leaks a liquid when it gets dried out and gets really itchy just before it tries to heal.

After having the rash for several months with no luck of it going away, in fact it was spreading, I went to my doctor. I tried several different potential remedies including Lamasil, an over the counter cortisone cream, and a special expensive prescription cream specifically for psoriasis. None of them worked and just seemed to make the rash red and worse. By mid December my doctor referred me to a dermatologist that wouldn’t be able to see me until February 1, 2010!

At Christmas time I was standing in line at the mall to get my son’s first Santa picture and the rash was at its worst… it was leaking a fluid and sticking to my pants, then when I moved it would rip off skin and make it leak more. It was extremely painful to sit, stand, or do anything for that matter.

Finally, February 1st came and I saw the dermatologist who used a tool to scrape some of the scaly skin from the rash. After the biopsy she returned to give the diagnosis: Nummular Dermatitis aka Nummular Eczema.

Google Health’s definition of Nummular Dermatitis is: “an allergy-related disorder in which itchy, coin-shaped spots or patches appear on the skin. [It] is a long-term (chronic) condition. Medical treatment and avoiding irritants can help reduce symptoms.” Other sites state that this is most commonly found in older men over the age of 55. All the symptoms listed are exactly what I have. I was prescribed a strong steroid liquid called clobetasol that I mixed with a tub of Cera-Ve lotion and was to apply it twice a day.

Since I became pregnant again I figured the steroid cream was not usable and have been applying the non-medicated tub of Cera-Ve instead which isn’t helping at all. Yesterday when the weather finally cooperated with the season, my rash began getting very uncomfortable and leaking non-stop.

I really hope I do not have to deal with this rash throughout the summer and this pregnancy. I have no idea what may have caused the allergy, as I am already using non-scented/hypoallergenic everything. It is still a mystery but I have a follow up appointment with the dermatologist for a month from now and I see my midwife tomorrow, she may have a natural remedy that I can try. Here's to hoping I can sit comfortably until a new solution can be implemented.

I am sharing this for two reasons. The first is that you might be suffering from the same thing and/or it could happen to you and it's better to have a heads up. The second reason is because it is another reason why this blog is late, it has been too painful to sit at my desk :-(

You may also like these posts:

Pregnancy Weeks 8, 9, and 10

Second Pregnancy

First Midwife Appt for Second Pregnancy

I Still Get Angry At Night


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Reader Comments (5)

I have a similar rash and I am wondering if you have ever resolved it.

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarlie Brewster

I do still have a vague trace of it but it is no longer in big round patches nor is it leaking or painful. When the weather shifts (I am in Washington State) it tends to react and start getting itchy again but for the most part I don't scratch it. It remains a big dry area of skin with some smaller patches that are barely visible.

I was told that it would never go away and so far I believe that. This August will make it my 2 year anniversary of having it and I think the dry hot summer weather is going to bring it back to some degree but we'll see.

Hope that helps and good luck with your rash!


May 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterAngela Fisher

I have suffered from the same affliction since about the age of 13. It used to be so bad on my legs that I would have to use a steroid ointment and wrap them in surran wrap over night...I eventually found out I am allergic to scented laundry soaps and dryer sheets and many other scents in lotions body sprays etc. So over the years I have managed to keep from breaking out in this very itchy painful(when scratched lol) rash! And the odd time that it gets set off a little patch from dry weather or sleeping in hotel or somewhere with scented soap sheets I can just use a little bit of hydrocortison cream for a day or two and it usually goes away pretty fast...

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFellow sufferer!

I had bad nummular eczema and was prescribed an emollient (Clobetasol Propionate Cream USP, 0.05%) by my dermatologist. It helps immensely. The key is to prevent the nasty rash when it first pops up (looks like a tiny ant bite) with the emollient. Keeping skin well moisturized even when you are not having any symptoms helps. I also have found that eliminating fragrances in detergents and avoiding ANY products with sodium laurel sulfates (common detergent found in soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, etc.) helps keep it from starting. I was also prescribed a wonderful antihistamine/anti anxiety pill for when it's really bad to take at night so I can get some sleep (the itching is like your nerves are on fire!).

September 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTexasT

Thank you for this post. My daughter, who is 12, has been suffering with this for almost a year. It is so itchy and her self-confidence is getting low since this dang rash won't go away. We have had allergy testing and have seen 4 different doctors about it. She is on the Clobetasol cream now with allergy shots and meds to help her sleep. Poor thing. I am so sorry to all of you that suffer from this!:(

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkim

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