Granuloma Annulare is a skin condition that is characterized by harmless lesions on the surface of the skin. They usually form circular patterns on the hands and feet, but can appear on your face and neck. These lesions are relatively harmless, unless they become large enough to challenge your self esteem and confidence. These red bumps may appear suddenly but disappear in time. A doctor prescribed treatment plan can make them less visible if preferred. Specific statistics regarding Granuloma annulare are relatively unknown. There are no set numbers of patients diagnosed with this condition.
Symptoms of Granuloma Annulare
The symptoms include reddish colored bumps that resemble pimples or ringworm. They may begin connecting to each other and can cause severe itching if the condition is widespread across the body. Granuloma Annulare may also appear and reappear without any notice, and no other symptoms are present.
If you do experience symptoms then there is a chance you do not have Granuloma, but instead another condition that is more severe. Many types of skin cancers and disorders show similar skin lesions but are not related to this condition in anyway.
There are no known triggers for this condition. In fact, the majority of people that develop Granuloma annulare are healthy normal individuals. Occasionally this condition develops in people that have a thyroid problem or are diabetic.
Women and young adults are most likely to develop Granuloma Annulare. Scientists and researchers cannot find a link that puts these individuals at a higher risk. Certain conditions are thought to increase the chances of developing this condition, but there isn’t any solid proof that they do. These conditions include tuberculosis, hepatitis variants, herpes, and certain viruses.
Seeing a Doctor for Diagnosis
Most physicians can treat this skin disorder or at least diagnose the condition. However, in certain areas visiting a special dermatologist may be recommended. A dermatologist is also a good option if the patient has severe widespread Granuloma Annulare.
When visiting a doctor be sure to ask questions regarding the condition and always be sure to note any symptoms you may experience. While symptoms aren’t typically common with this disorder, they may be an indicator that another medical condition triggered it.
Variants of Granuloma Annulare
Localized granuloma annulare is a common type of the condition. It can affect anyone of any age. These lesions are commonly very small in size and are mostly localized. This variant will appear on the wrists, feet, ankles, or legs but they may occur in other areas as well.
Generalized GA is a variant that occurs in adults. It may occur in younger individuals, but that is rare and unlikely. The torso, neck, and entire body can be covered in the lesions. They can be small or large discolored lesions. These may make people look like they have an animal type pattern on their body much like a Dalmatian dog’s fur.
Subcutaneous GA is a type that occurs in children. Children may get these on the eyes and scalp, even feet and chest are possible. They are hard and small, and can be deep into the skin. They can be very difficult to deal with as they can also be thick making them more difficult to bend on certain parts of the body.
Perforating GA is a condition that is characterized by papules that may leak discharge. These lesions heal, but do leave behind considerable amounts of scarring. Perforating GA is a rare condition and not a lot is known about what causes it. They may also be very uncomfortable in children as they may scratch and rub the areas increasing the likelihood of the papules breaking over time. This may be very inconvenient as they can occur on the face which can be unappealing to many people.
Arcuate Dermal Erythema is a condition that is very rare and can occur in large patches on the body. It is another variant of Granuloma Annulare but isn’t seen often by doctors. The large patches may be very shocking for some people as they may be misshapen or look severe enough to cause damage to the person with Arcuate Dermal Erythema. Taking advantage of the insight that doctors can give is important.
Treatment for Granuloma Annulare
Most often, treatment isn’t necessary. Many patients never experience symptoms and some may not realize that they have Granuloma Annulare. If itching or disfigurement becomes a concern, doctors can treat Granuloma a few different ways.
The most popular method of treatment is by steroid cream or steroid injection. These are not recommended because of the significant side effects that come along with using steroids of any kind. A patient seeking treatment for Granuloma by steroid injections may be disappointed with the excess hair growth and weight gain that can occur.
Certain oral medications are also a viable option for treatment. These can vary but are most often a corticosteroid. These steroids can help to repair the cells by providing extra help with low doses. Not taking the proper dose may actually increase the growth of the lesions and make them more unappealing to the patient. Corticosteroids are most often topical creams that can be applied at different doses and amounts depending on what is needed from the patient.
UVA treatment is also a treatment option for those suffering from widespread Granuloma Annulare. It is a recommended treatment for children that may be self conscious or suffering from a severe condition. The UVA treatments may cause the cells to degenerate and new cells to replace the lost ones over time. It is important to take this treatment carefully as increased treatments may be harmful to the skin and can cause different types of skin cancer.
Many people find that it just simply disappears. Some people may not even realize that they have the condition, and will eventually just shrug it off. This is usually because the lesions are small or are in places that are not seen by the patient. The skin sheds and replenishes itself every few weeks so the condition may simply go away over time as the new skin replaces the old skin over time and the lesions fade. Fading of lesions or darkening can occur for many reasons.
Should You See a Doctor?
If you feel that the condition is ruining your life or causing a self esteem problem you should see a doctor. If you have wide spread lesions then a doctor visit is most necessary. Some people may feel more comfortable getting a diagnosis. It is especially important to get Granuloma checked on if your family has a history of skin disorders that are life threatening.
Many people end up noticing the lesions if they get a natural tan because the difference in skin tone is much higher between normal skin and lesions. This may be alarming to some individuals as they may believe that they have skin cancer. They will find out that going to the doctor will bring back positive results for their skin lesions and treatment options may be discussed. Some people are confident enough to simply live with the skin disorder, but others may not feel up to having their skin not as uniform across the entire body.