Eczema causes an itchy and sometimes painful rash, blisters, and dry, rough skin. It is typically a chronic problem with times of improvement followed by worsening. Typical parts of the body are involved (e.g. arms, legs, hands, face) and there is usually a family history of allergy. One of the most common triggers that is often neglected = food allergens.
There’s a selection from the National Eczema Association:
I have been an eczema sufferer since age 17, and I am now 44. The eczema started on the inner elbows of my arms. Then my hands were affected; I would get these very small blisters that intensely itched, and then my fingers would swell and weep. In a Scratch Pad letter, a gentleman suggested going on an elimination diet. This meant eating nothing but chicken, broccoli, and cauliflower for about a week, then adding certain foods back in to the diet to see what was causing the itch. This was a very difficult thing to do! But after three days I noticed the itching on my hands was gone. After thinking the problem was wheat for a while, I finally pinned it down to tomatoes/ tomato sauce, and soda pop/coffee. Pinpointing a food was difficult since my itching usually started the morning after eating an offending agent. A food diary can be helpful. Good luck on your journeys.
Food allergens can be identified via eliminating suspected foods and reintroducing foods to see if there are notable symptoms. Another option of identifying food allergens is food allergy blood test. Blood test can show if food allergens create an immediate or a delayed response. For more information on Food allergy testing, please contact Dr. Lee at 206-3195322 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Seattle Naturopathic Center.
A 28 year-old female came into the clinic with a chief complaint of eczema. The onset of her eczema was 2 months ago. Her eczema was covering more than 50% of her body, including her scalp, face, ears, back, torso, arms and legs. Her eczema was dry, scaly, red, and can be weepy from scratching. She also reported that the itching was affecting her quality of life. She has been seen by several dermatologists and was prescribed with hydrocortisone topically and cortisone internally. The prescriptions did not relieve her symptoms. She has had eczema in the past but nothing to such severity. With a thorough history intake, it was found that started a new job at a bakery 2 months ago. Her diet is a typical American diet, including pizza, pasta, packaged foods, sodas.
The treatment plan was as follow:
- Elimination of wheat and dairy for 1 month.
- To decrease inflammation: fish oil starting with 1g
- Probiotics to normalize gut function
A follow up call was made 10 days after the visit. The patient reported eczema was at least 75% resolved. She reported having to cheat on wheat three times.
One of Naturopathic medicine principles is to “treat the root cause”. By eliminating cause of the eczema, the body is allowed to return to its normal state. The prescription medications did not alleviate her eczema because it was an attempt to cover her symptoms but not getting to the root of it.
The underlying cause of intestinal inflammation and immune dysregulation can often be caused by certain foods that you may have difficulty digesting or to which you may have a sensitivity or allergy. In fact, over 50 percent of the immune system is located in and around the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, when the gastrointestinal immune system is affected by food allergens or intolerances, the systemic immune system is also impacted. In turn, chemical messengers of alarm and inflammation are released by the gastrointestinal associated immune system that enter the bloodstream and can have an effect upon other organs and systems in the body. For example, drinking milk, in susceptible individuals, may trigger the gastrointestinal immune system to release molecules that travel through the blood stream and affect the brain causing disturbances such as changes in mood and cognitive performance. Many people find that eliminating common food allergens helps decrease intestinal inflammation and improves symptoms such as fatigue and muscle pain. It is highly recommended that you eliminate the common food allergens while you and your health practitioner help establish a healthy gastrointestinal system.
This is the first step toward identifying problematic foods and this step should not be ignored. It is important to eliminate all known or suspected food intolerances. Many individual who have avoided common and suspected food intolerances have noticed a dramatic improvement in cognitive function, behavior and over health. In addition, once the “leaky gut” has healed, the avoided foods can gradually be reintroduced in an effort to identify the problematic ones without major setbacks.
How to improve colon health?
The large bowel is responsible for the absorption of water into the body and the regular elimination of waste and toxin excretion. If the bowels are not moving regularly, toxins and hormone metabolites that should be excreted are reabsorbed back into the body and cause many negative systemic effects. PMS symptoms, fatigue, headaches, bloating, skin reactions, irritability, and many other symptoms can all be affected by decreased bowel regularity.
If bowels are moving too frequently then electrolytes imbalance, dehydration, and microflora depletion are more likely to occur. In addition, a depletion of beneficial intestinal bacteria can increase the risk of pathogenic intestinal infections. Recent studies indicate that certain live organisms living in the intestine have beneficial immunomodulating affects. Establishing and maintaining a healthy microflora ecosystem in the intestine also reduces the occurrence of food allergies and skin disorders.
Sample Naturopathic treatments:
Butyric acid: a short chain fatty acid used by the colonic epithelial cell as a major fuel source. It enhances the repair and regeneration of these cells.
Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:
- oats, rye, and barley
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- psyllium seed husk (a mucilage soluble fiber).
Insoluble fiber include:
- whole grain foods
- nuts and seeds
- flax seed
Probiotics: helps restore proper gut function, promotes regularity.