Anyone with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) knows how painful it can be. IBD is inflammation of the digestive tract and even doctors are not sure about the exact cause of this condition. Ulcerative colitis is a type of IBD that affects not only your digestive tract (colon) but also can cause many skin problems. These skin problems can further aggravate your overall discomfort and pain. Let's understand how ulcerative colitis can affect your skin.
What Is Ulcerative Colitis
1. Erythema nodosum
This is the most common skin problem that people with ulcerative colitis can feel. About 3% to 10% of people with this condition can get Erythema nodosum in any part of the body. This is a condition that develops red and tender nodules on the skin. Lesions may have a similar bruising pattern and appear where you have subcutaneous fat (the type of fat that is just below the skin). The most common areas where you can develop Erythema nodosum are ankles, hands, tibia, knees and trunk ( 1 )
2. Pyoderma gangrenosum
This is the next most common skin problem that affects people with ulcerative colitis ( 1 ). A survey conducted in 2011 involving 950 patients found that about 2% of them developed Pyoderma gangrenosum ( 2 ).
This condition causes non-infectious nodes (blisters) on your skin. They eventually spread and develop into deep ulcers with wound edges. They can appear anywhere on your skin, but most often appear on the extensor surface of the legs (the opposite side of the joints), such as the tibia and ankles. However, they can also appear on your hands.
This condition is believed to be caused by abnormal functioning of the immune system. Typically, high doses of corticosteroids and other drugs are used to suppress the immune system to treat wounds 1 ). Beehives
Hives are raised like bumps on the skin that are itchy. They usually appear as a side effect of some drugs that you can take for ulcerative colitis. They can appear on every part of the body. If you think any medication causes these reactions, consult your doctor immediately and ask for an alternative
Psoriasis is a condition in which the production of skin cells is accelerated, resulting in excessive accumulation of cells on the surface of the skin. As a result, your skin appears flaky with red spots across the affected area. It is an autoimmune condition and can also be caused by ulcerative colitis ( 3 ).
Another study conducted in 1982 also found psoriasis to spread in 5.7% of 88 patients with ulcerative colitis 4 ).
Ulcerative colitis can also give you cystic acne. This is the most severe form of acne and can be painful. One study found that the use of isotretinoin for cystic acne may worsen the symptoms of ulcerative colitis .
In other words, if you have ulcerative colitis or are at risk of developing this condition, and if they have cystic acne, taking this drug may worsen the symptoms of ulcerative colitis
All the above skin problems are related to ulcerative colitis, so the best way to manage it is by treating the underlying condition. Most of the time you get skin rashes only during ulcerative colitis inflammation. So, it is best to keep your condition under control to avoid these skin problems. During firing, you can take these measures to avoid skin problems: Take the prescribed corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation.
And, of course, do not miss a date with your doctor. They can help diagnose your condition properly and offer the best way to manage it.
If you have any further doubts or questions in your mind, post them in the comment section below.
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