Erythema Nodosum - Experience

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What is erythema nodosum?

Erythema nodosum is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a certain portion of the fatty layer of skin. Erythema nodosum (also called EN) 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 one to five centimeters. The nodular swelling is caused by a special pattern of inflammation in the fatty layer of skin.

Erythema nodosum can be self-limited and resolve on its own in three to six weeks. Upon resolution, it may leave only a temporary bruised appearance or leave a chronic indentation in the skin where the fatty layer has been injured.

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Comment from: CDH, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

I first got EN (erythema nodosum) in 2007 after walking through a natural wetlands. I was 51 and towards the end of menopause. I kept sniffing my nose while walking through the wetlands so there was lots of mucus in my nose. A few weeks later I got the first red spots on my legs that felt like bruises. It took over six months to get properly diagnosed and by then I was chronic. I went to several doctors before I found out what it was. By then I had it all over my body. I could not walk very well and had pain everywhere especially my hands, legs and feet. I was put on prednisone which was gradually increased up to 30 mgs per day for months. I was finally sent to a rheumatologist who put me on methotrexate, a medication used for arthritis. I got 25 mg injections once per week for just over two years. It just came back in the fall of 2013. I am going back on methotrexate 7.5 mgs now because it's not going away on its own. This medication is taken once per week. I am also taking a steroid pack to keep my immune system back some. This is extremely painful. There has been no underlying cause diagnosed; however, I believe I inhaled some type of fungus while walking through the wetlands and my hormones were wacky from menopause. I believe it came back because of stress. Last two years of my life have been extremely stressful and emotionally difficult.

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Comment from: momoffour, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I first got erythema nodosum (EN) in 1980 at the age of 30. I had 6 nodes in one calf and 7 in the other. I was fitted for surgical stockings for the swelling. Every spring after that it came back with a vengeance. Through trial and error, I learned that (1) at times I was taking a sulfa drug that caused it, and (2) that I was allergic to something that was in the air in the springtime. I took allergy tests (400 allergens) and was given a serum made of my allergy suspects in order to develop my immune system. For the nine months I was taking the shots, my EN did not go away. For me, taking Keflex as long as needed (as much as 6 weeks), has been the best treatment. Today, after thirty four years, it is back again, thanks to an allergy and springtime! In those 34 years I have had five doctors misdiagnose it as thrombophlebitis and try to get me to take blood thinners! Thank goodness I found that dermatologist!

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