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Neurodermatitis: Introduction

Neurodermatitis is a chronic skin condition in which the skin becomes inflamed and is extremely itchy. Neurodermatitis is marked by an itch-scratch-itch cycle that is hard to break. Neurodermatitis is also known as lichen simplex, and is one of many types of dermatitis. Neurodermatitis occurs most often in adult women.

Neurodermatitis can be caused by almost anything that causes itching. For example, neurodermatitis can linked to allergies and can occur when skin is more sensitive to certain substances than normal. Neurodermatitis can also be linked to other skin conditions, such as psoriasis or might be caused by tight clothing, an insect bite, or anything that causes dry skin.

Any of these elements can lead to the itching. Scratching the itch, however, generally does not relieve the itch and leads to increased inflammation, more intense itching, and harder scratching. This cycle can be very difficult to break. Stress and anxiety can worsen neurodermatitis and the itch-scratch-itch cycle.

In addition to itching, symptoms of neurodermatitis include skin changes in the affected area. Uncomplicated neurodermatitis is generally not a serious condition, but itching and scratching can lead to increased inflammation, open breaks in the skin or lesions, and a secondary bacterial infection of the surrounding skin and deeper tissues. This is called cellulitis and can be potentially serious in some people. For more information on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of neurodermatitis.

A diagnosis of neurodermatitis can often be made by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam. Because neurodermatitis is similar to many skin diseases and conditions, a diagnosis may need to be made by a specialist in allergies and skin conditions, such as an allergist or a dermatologist.

A test called a skin biopsy may be performed on a scaly area of skin or lesion caused by neurodermatitis. In a biopsy, a small area of tissue is taken and tested in the laboratory to help determine the cause of symptoms.

If an underlying allergy or allergies are suspected as the cause of neurodermatitis, diagnostic testing may include skin patch testing. In a skin patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic reaction, leading to the neurodermatitis.

Because the symptoms of neurodermatitis may be similar to symptoms of other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, shingles, hives, or poison ivy, a misdiagnosis is possible. For information on misdiagnosis and disease and conditions that can mimic neurodermatitis, refer to misdiagnosis of neurodermatitis.

A key goal in the treatment of neurodermatitis is stopping the itch-scratch-itch cycle. Treatment is individualized to a person's medical history, coexisting or underlying conditions, such as allergies, severity of neurodermatitis, the type of substances that trigger an attack, and other factors.

Treatment of the itch-scratch-itch cycle includes an integrated plan to reduce exposure to substances that cause a flare-up of neurodermatitis. It is also important to minimize skin dryness. A variety of topical and oral medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and cure secondary infections. Specialized dressings may be prescribed to apply to the area.

A combination of treatments that include lifestyle changes with medications and other treatments as appropriate is the most effective way to best control neurodermatitis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of neurodermatitis. ...more »

Neurodermatitis: Lichen simplex chronicus refers to thickened itchy skin that results from persistently rubbing or scratching an area of skin. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Neurodermatitis is available below.

Neurodermatitis: Symptoms

Neurodermatitis is characterized by an intense itch-scratch-itch cycle that is hard to break. In this cycle scratching does not relieve the itch and leads to increased inflammation, more intense itching, and harder scratching.

It is generally very difficult to break the itch-scratch-itch cycle. Frequent and intense scratching can also result in thickening of the affected skin and a ...more symptoms »

Neurodermatitis: Treatments

With a well integrated, medically monitored plan of care, symptoms of neurodermatitis can be effectively controlled, and the risk of developing complications, such as lesions and cellulitis can be minimized. A good treatment plan is individualized to a person's medical history, severity of neurodermatitis, the specific triggers, and other factors.

A combination of treatments that ...more treatments »

Neurodermatitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the neurodermatitis begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam.

A misdiagnosis is possible because the symptoms of the neurodermatitis can mimic symptoms of other diseases, such as psoriasis, shingles, chicken pox ringworm, hives, poison ivy, or other forms of dermatitis. Because these and other ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Neurodermatitis

Treatments for Neurodermatitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Neurodermatitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Neurodermatitis?

Neurodermatitis: Related Patient Stories

Neurodermatitis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Neurodermatitis:

Causes of Neurodermatitis

More information about causes of Neurodermatitis:

Disease Topics Related To Neurodermatitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Neurodermatitis:

Neurodermatitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Neurodermatitis

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The more »

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Neurodermatitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Neurodermatitis: Animations

Prognosis for Neurodermatitis

Prognosis for Neurodermatitis: It may be difficult to break the itch scratch cycle and once scratching stops, the skin may take months to appear normal again.

Research about Neurodermatitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Neurodermatitis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Neurodermatitis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Neurodermatitis include:

Neurodermatitis: Broader Related Topics

Neurodermatitis Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Neurodermatitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Neurodermatitis:

Dermatitis in which localized areas (especially the forearms or back of the neck or outer part of the ankle) itch persistently; cause is unknown - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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