Erythema Nodosum – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 19 22:13 2019 Print This Article

Erythema is a redness of the skin due to congestion of the capillaries, usually due to injury, infection, or inflammation. Erythema nodosum is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a certain portion of the fatty layer of skin. Erythema nodosum results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. The tender lumps, or nodules, of erythema nodosum range in size from 1 to 5 centimeters. The nodular swelling is caused by a special pattern of inflammation in the fatty layer of skin.

The causes of erythema nodosum include medications (sulfa-related drugs, birth control pills, estrogens, iodides and bromides), strep throat, cat scratch disease, fungal diseases, infectious mononucleosis, sarcoidosis, Behcet’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease ( Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis ), and normal pregnancy. In many cases, no cause can be determined. Erythema nodosum may be self-limited and go away on its own in 3 to 6 weeks. If treatment is needed, the underlying condition is treated and simultaneously treatment is directed toward the erythema nodosum. This can include antiinflammatory drugs and cortisone by mouth or injection. Colchicine is sometime used effectively to reduce inflammation.

Erythema nodosum is a skin disease that causes tender nodules, usually on the lower legs. Erythema nodosum is more common in women between the ages of 20 and 30, but can occur in anyone. Erythema Nodosum is a form of panniculitis and also occur with fever, Crohn’s disease, asymmetrical large joint arthropathy and ulcerative colitis. In remission state, this disease usually subsides.We may also call it as Red Nodules. -There are several scenarios for the outcome of erythema nodosum. Typically, these areas of nodular tenderness range in size from about a dime to a quarter and they may be tender and inflamed off and on for a period of weeks. They usually then resolve spontaneously, each one of the little areas of inflammation shrinking down and then becoming flat rather than raised and inflamed. They leave a bruised appearance. Then, they resolve spontaneously completely. Other lesions can sometimes pop up elsewhere. This may occur for periods of weeks to months and then eventually goes away. However, chronic erythema nodosum that may last for years is another pattern.

Causes of Erythema Nodosum

Erythema nodosum may occur as an isolated condition or in association with other conditions. Conditions that are associated with erythema nodosum include medications (sulfa-related drugs, birth control pills, estrogens ), strep throat, Cat scratch disease, fungal diseases, infectious mononucleosis, sarcoidosis, Behcet’s disease, inflammatory bowel diseases ( Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis ), and normal pregnancy. Erythema nodosum may be self-limited and go away on its own in 3 to 6 weeks.

Find common causes and risk factors of Erythema Nodosum:

  • Streptococcal infection is one of the common cause.
  • Leprosy.
  • Sarcoidosis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosisare some of the causes of EN.
  • Another cause of EN is drugs such as sulfa drugs, Barbiturates, Progestin and some oral contraceptive pill.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Tuberculosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Erythema Nodosum

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever.
  • Skin redness.
  • Anus rash.
  • Joint aches.
  • Genital blisters.
  • Swelling of the leg.
  • Irritation.
  • Mouth rash.
  • Swollen red rash.

Treatment for Erythema Nodosum

Treatment depends on the cause. Erythema nodosum is initially managed by identifying and treating any underlying condition present. Simultaneously, treatment is directed toward the inflamed skin from the erythema nodosum. Treatments for erythema nodosum include antiinflammatory drugs, and cortisone by mouth or injection. Colchicine is sometime used effectively to reduce inflammation. Treatment must be customized for the particular patient and conditions present. It is important to note that erythema nodosum, while annoying and often painful, does not threaten internal organs and the long-term outlook is generally very good.

Treatment may include:

  • Corticosteroid or colchicine are given to the patient for pain relief or reduce inflammation.
  • Specific treatment for erythema nodosum will be determined by your physician based on the cause of the disorder and may include antibiotics and bed rest to relieve pain.
  • Aspirin.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may reduce symptoms. An oral potassium iodide (SSKI) solution may produce prompt resolution of the nodules.
  • Topical therapy is not generally needed, although hot or cold compresses may reduce discomfort.
  • Those with severe anemia may require blood transfusions and those with immune deficiencies may be treated with immune globulin.
  Article "tagged" as: