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Erythema Nodosum

 

What is erythema nodosum?

Erythema nodosum is characterized by tender, red bumps, usually found on the shins. Quite often, erythema nodosum is not a separate disease, but, rather, a sign of some other disease, or of a sensitivity to a drug.

Diseases that can cause erythema nodosum:

streptococcal infections

sarcoidosis (inflammation of the lymph nodes and other organs)

leprosy

coccidioidomycosis (infection of the upper respiratory tract and lungs)

histoplasmosis (an infectious pulmonary disease)

tuberculosis

psittacosis (a flu-like disease)

Lymphogranuloma venereum (a venereal infection)

Ulcerative colitis

Drugs that can cause erythema nodosum:

Antibiotics containing sulfa

Bromides

Iodides

Oral contraceptives

What are the symptoms of erythema nodosum?

The following are the most common symptoms of erythema nodosum. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Raised bruises on the shins

Fever

Joint pain

Enlarged lymph nodes in the chest

Young adults are particularly susceptible to erythema nodosum. The symptoms of erythema nodosum may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is erythema nodosum diagnosed?

A biopsy (removal of tissue for examination under a microscope) of a bump can usually confirm the diagnosis. However, the exact cause cannot always be identified. Drug-induced erythema nodosum can usually be diagnosed by careful elimination of the drug causing the reaction.

Treatment for erythema nodosum:

Specific treatment for erythema nodosum will be determined by your physician based on:

Your age, overall health, and medical history

Extent of the condition

Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

Expectations for the course of the condition

Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

    Antibiotics

    Treatment of underlying cause

    Bed rest (to relieve pain)

    Aspirin

    Corticosteroids

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