Itching can wake you up at night. It can ruin your day, too. If your skin is red, scaly and itchy without any reasonable cause you may be suffering from lichen simplex chronicus also known as neurodermatitis.
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Lichen simplex chronicus, or LSC, also is known as neurodermatitis or scratch dermatitis. The main symptom of LSC is intense itching, accompanied by skin irritation, scaling and redness. You may have begun with a small spot of itchy skin that grew the more you scratched it. If you are a woman, lichen simplex chronicus can also be a cause of vulvodynia, or pain in and around your vagina, and vestibulitis, or irritation and itching of the area around your vagina. Regardless of where your symptoms are, your LSC is likely to become chronic, which makes it more difficult to eradicate.
Doctors and scientists are not exactly sure what causes your LSC. It is also called neruodermatitis, which means irritation of the nerves of your skin. Your nerves are involved in many functions in your body, They are active in your ability to feel temperature, pain, pressure -- and itching. Some believe that once you respond to nerve signals of itching by scratching. it irritates your nerves even more, so you scratch again -- and a vicious cycle is born.
When you scratch persistently, it may result in a bacterial or vr viral infection of your skin. If this happens, you will need treatment for the secondary infection in addition to the dermatitis. If you scratch constantly, you risk creating scars and permanent changes in your skin color.
If you are suffering from vulvodynia or vestibulitis caused by lichen simplex chronicus, you will also have pain in addition to itching, which can become disabling. Unfortunately, this can limit your ability to perform your usual activities of daily living.
To accurately diagnose your skin problem, your health care provider will take a biopsy of the affected area. There are medication treatment options that mainly target your symptoms. However, according to an article in the "American Family Physician" titled "Vulvodynia and Vulvar Vestibulitis: Challenges in Diagnosis and Management," Julius F. Metts, MD, said that adjusting his patients' diets was helpful. He asked his patients to take calcium citrate pills, brand name Citracal, three time per day. In addition, he asked his patients to follow a low-oxalate diet as part of their treatment and management plan. Talk to your health-care provider to determine if a low oxalate diet could be useful to help manage your condition. It should not be a substitute for your doctor's care.
Low Oxalate Diet
According to the mediLexicon medical dictionary, oxalate is a salt of oxalic acid. Oxalates are compounds found in your urine that result from the metabolism of certain types of food. The dietary experts at the University of Pittsburgh have put together a useful list of foods and their oxalate values. They instruct that high oxalate foods contain more than 10 mg of oxalate per serving and low oxalate foods and drinks contain less than 2 mg per serving. Some examples of low oxalate food and beverages include apple cider, buttermilk, cola, green tea, various herbal teas, milk, butter, salad dressing, bananas, grapefruit, avocados, bacon, beef, egg noodles, English muffins, pasta, cabbage, chives and cauliflower. This list can help you plan your low oxalate diet; it also tells you which foods to avoid. For more information on oxalate food values, see the link in the Resource section.