Dermatosis and Fibromyalgia

Close up of dermatosis, skin diseases infectious. Allergy on the skin.

Image: finchfocus / Shutterstock

One of the most irritating things about living with fibromyalgia is how it seems to cause so many other symptoms that seem unrelated to the underlying condition itself. The list of knock-on side effects of fibromyalgia is long and varied, including strange things like frequent urination and headaches. But one of the most common symptoms is something called dermatosis.

Dermatosis is any condition that affects the skin. And there are many different kinds and forms of dermatosis. But some of these forms seem to be related to fibromyalgia. So, what exactly is dermatosis? How is it related to fibromyalgia? And what can you do to treat it?

What Is Dermatosis?

The problem with defining dermatosis is that there are so many different forms of the condition. These include things like basic acne, impetigo (a bacterial infection of the skin), melanoma (cancerous skin cells), moles, tinea (fungal infections of the skin), onycholysis (a condition that causes the nails to fall off), and even alopecia (bald patches on the scalp).

Dermatosis is caused by a wide number of different conditions, ranging from sun damage to autoimmune conditions to fungal infections of the skin. But generally, dermatosis related to fibromyalgia can be broken down to a single source.

How Is It Related To Fibromyalgia?

The most common form of dermatosis for people with fibromyalgia is skin inflammation as a result of autoimmune conditions. We know that autoimmune conditions are very common among people with fibromyalgia. And people with fibromyalgia and people with autoimmune conditions are both significantly more likely to develop the other condition.

It has been argued that the connection between autoimmune conditions and fibromyalgia suggests that fibromyalgia itself is an autoimmune condition. After all, many autoimmune conditions increase your risk of developing other autoimmune condition. So, it could be that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune condition that leads to other autoimmune conditions or vice versa.

But there are a number of reasons to think that this is actually not the case. To begin with, people with autoimmune conditions often have elevated levels of antibodies in the blood. These immune cells are the root of the condition as they begin attacking your body’s healthy tissue. But people with fibromyalgia don’t have these elevated antibody levels, which would be an extremely uncommon thing to see with autoimmune conditions.

In addition, autoimmune disease leads to inflammation in the cells, which doesn’t seem to be the case with fibromyalgia. But why then do people with fibromyalgia often develop autoimmune conditions that lead to dermatosis? The best answer might be stress.

We know that stress is a significant trigger for autoimmune conditions. And it may also play a role in triggering the development of fibromyalgia. Both conditions can themselves cause a great deal of stress. And stress is also a trigger for many skin conditions by itself.

So, it could be that the root of the skin conditions that fibromyalgia sufferers often develop is the stress of their disease.

But regardless of what actually causes these conditions, there are things you can do to treat them.

How Is It Treated?

Treating your dermatosis depends on identifying the underlying condition. For some cases, like when you’re suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin, treatment is quite simple. In these cases, it’s usually enough to simply use antibiotic medications which can kill off the offending infection.

But for cases caused by autoimmune conditions, the key is to fight the inflammation that causes the symptoms. And there are few different drugs that doctors usually use to do this.

The first is something called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are a hormone that your body naturally produces to fight inflammation. You doctor can give you a corticosteroid cream that you can apply to the inflamed skin to help your body heal itself.

In addition, there are basic over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin. These drugs are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of a specific enzyme in your body that causes inflammation.

Finally, your doctor may prescribe an immunosuppressant drug. These drugs work by weakening the immune system, which helps fight the inflammation that autoimmune disease causes. These drugs do carry a risk of making you vulnerable to infections. And that can lead to other skin conditions.

The most important thing is to see a doctor. A doctor can help identify your underlying condition and give your medications to treat it.

So, do you suffer from a skin condition related to fibromyalgia? How do you treat it? Let us know in the comments.