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Eczema and diet (specifically wheat-free or dairy-free) - already posted in Chat, but was pointed in this direction!(17 Posts)
About ten years ago I started getting eczema on my hands, and it's currently at its worst it's ever been. However last year it was quite manageable - possibly because I was on a low-carbs diet for my wedding? After the wedding I got pregnant quite quickly and stopped dieting. The eczema came back and was horrible throughout the pregnancy. It's still dreadful now three months on - so much so that the doctor prescribed hydrocortisone despite the fact that I'm still breastfeeding. (I've used it a few times, and it does help, but I'm worried it might affect my DD.) No other creams or treatments I've tried make any difference to it, and it's just really hard trying to keep my hands dry and clean all the time so that I don't get another flare-up.
So, my question is, will changing my diet help? Somebody mentioned a wheat-free diet might be the answer, whereas others have suggested going dairy-free. Does it help? Can I go on either of these diets whilst breastfeeding? (I don't want to stop breastfeeding.) Which foods would I specifically have to give up please don't say cake? How long until I saw a difference? I'm in agony, so willing to give this a proper go if it will help!
I'd be interested in the answer to this too. I developed eczema on my elbows (in the crease) a year ago. It came on just after a blood test and I thought it was a reaction to the plaster for a while, but it has stayed and I have some on the other side too. I've never had it before (I was 35 when it started). It seems to be getting worse so I would appreciate any advice on what to do with it. It's mild at the moment but I don't want it to keep getting worse and worse.
Apologies, OP, for jumping on your thread. I have been meaning to ask this for a while!
Had it all my life, things that upset me are oranges, chocolate, white bread and pasta etc. stress, lack of sleep, hormones.
Damp weather increases the spores in the air which plays havoc with your skin!
Things that help. A good diet with good fats ie avocados oily fish, oats are brilliant! Not too much sugar, processed food is bad.
Bath in oat water. Get a Muslim square, handful of basic porridge oats, tie up and tie to the hot tap with string. Let the water run through it, it will smell weird and it will go cloudy. Bath in the water and use the oat sack to wash with. It is heaven, the relief from itching far outweighs the weirdness .
Cream, cream, cream, you can't put enough on! I also get really bad hands and put cotton gloves on at night with lashings and I mean lashings of thick greasy lard like cream!
Oh and too many red berries for some reason sets it off as well as touching tomatoes. It's trial and error I'm afraid.
That's ok, eurochick! I used to always have it in the creases of my elbows and behind my knees as a child, but I grew out of it. This hand eczema is driving me potty though.
cupcake78, that stuff with the oats sounds interesting! I will definitely give it a go. So do I eat them as well as bathe in them (not the same ones, I assume ...)? Can I make flapjacks out of them or should I eat them in a slightly healthier guise?
I do the cotton glove thing with lots of cream at night, and I have also started bandaging my hand up during the day. It's red raw across the palm from so much scratching, so bandaging it up protects it a bit, as well as reminding me not to let it get wet.
Touching tomatoes really stings (as does touching onions, lemons, strawberries ...), but I suppose that's just the acids on the raw skin. My diet is pretty good generally
although I bake far too many cakes using breastfeeding as an excuse but I do eat a lot of dairy and quite a bit of bread.
Honestly I'd look at maybe reducing your sugar and refined wheat intake. Flapjacks yummy but not ideal. Sprinkle a few on oats and natural yogurt with some seeds over fruit. I don't have a problem with dairy but maybe go for soya for a few weeks and see what happens.
Def try the oat thing! Maybe even just a hand bath for relief would be good. It's murder I know but it does get better. I use steroids to really knock it on the head when it gets out of control. Dermovate or emovate creams. E45 is unbearable and avoid all perfume and dyes, there in everything, read the ingredients and if it says fragrance or perfume don't use it. Invest in some soap nuts instead of washing powder and wash everything in them, remember anything you touch will set it off.
Sunshine, if it's a nice day and you can bare it get your hands in the direct sunshine for as long and as often as possible. To ease the itching go for cold temperatures instead of scratching, hold a bag of frozen peas (wrapped in plastic etc to stop moisture).
It's murder, you have my sympathy but it does get better. Keep doing everything that works once it's better to manage it. Remember everything affects it from what you eat to touch to stress to weather. Good luck
Oh and hitting instead of scratching works as well, you'll be clapping at everything
That's really good advice, cupcake. Thank you so much. DH is thrilled - he has just gleefully declared that all chocolates and the rest of the cake I baked earlier are now his. He hasn't thought this one through though, as he won't be getting any more!
Just thought of another thing I do! Fairy liquid and washing powder sends my skin into overdrive. Avoid at all costs. My dh bought some fairy washing washing liquid a few weeks ago and it broke me out where ever the fabric was rubbing - collar, cuffs and waist. Awful stuff. Fairy products and e45 are the ezcema devil's work!
Have been inspired by soap nuts. I'll be ordering some tomorrow.
Try reading Australian Sue Dengate's website 'fedupwithadditives' or 'fedup' -all about additives in food and natural chemicals in food that can cause nasty skin problems as well as other probs in susceptible children and adults. Some people may have an intolerance to tomatoes/berries (rashes, 'hyperactive, irritable,etc)- that suggests a "salycilate" intolerance (I probably spelled that wrong, but it's a naturally occurring chemical very high in tomatoes/berries/other foods), so may need to avoid all tomatoes, grapes,berries and many other types of fruit. Others may have a wheat intolerance and notice digestive and skin probs dramatically improve when go wheat free. Others have dairy or other intolernces causing rashes, bloating and a host of other symptoms. Trial and error, can remove one food for a while or try going additive and wheat/dairy free. Very difficult to dramatically change diet, I have ecxzma at moment that I know completely goes when I go without all bread (just love bread/cakes/biscuits too!!!)and eat soups/salads/whatever instead. Stock up on whatever works for you and your family's diet as you find wheatfree/additive free/salicylate free foods you enjoy. I will be doing that (low carb with no bread seems to work for me)today for my rashes too! I will never give up yummy cake/carbs for special occasions though...
Just to answer the breastfeeding question - obviously it is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet while you are breastfeeding, but this is mostly so that YOU will feel healthy. Even if you eat complete rubbish, e.g. living on chips and rice, the quality of your breastmilk will be fine (at least in the short term) because your body will rob itself if necessary to make sure that your baby gets the nutrition he/she needs.
Eczema happens for all sorts of reasons, and I'm sorry to hear you are suffering with it.
I think keeping food diary and symptoms as they appear helps a lot.
If you are excluding any group of food - do one at a time so you understand what really changed.
I have issue with glucose which is used as sweetener in many ready made products.
As long as I avoid it - my skin is fine. But if i eat it, skin breaks, but I control it by excluding it from my diet.
I can't remember what made me to realise that this was it, but all made sense once I was able to see the difference.
I can only assume whatever makes your exema worst - must be quite common in your diet. Excluding gluten would make digestion easier so you may also feel better in yourself.
sorry, website is 'fedup.com.au'
Best wishes for getting rid of nasty itching and soreness with whatever you are sensitive/intolerant to. Bluebirdpies, I find I am very sensitive to highly fragranced washing powder too! Had excruciating rash on nipples-(totally embarrasing had to see GP and worker out was clothes washing powder). so I have to use only natural, fragrance free stuff I have to buy from chemist.
I just wanted to come back to say my hairdresser mentioned she was having acupuncture for her eczema and gave me the name of her practitioner. 3 visits later and the patches inside my elbows have gone for the first time in 15 months. I have no idea how sticking pins in me achieved that result but somehow it seems to have.
you just have ezcema on your hands? use the steriods mild ones are ok.
what steps to you take to protect your hands?
what is your ezcema routine?
you are careful not to
handle raw meat, use fork or plastic disposable gloves .
never peel potatos unless under running water as starch irritates.
avoid handling tomatos, use inside of plastic bag in supermarket, or again use gloves when at home.
moisterize , every time your hands hit water. EVERY TIME. near every tap in your home your soap substitute and moisteriser should be near by.
gloves outside esp now in winter as cold air drys out skin.
use aquaous cream as soap.
remember shampoo and conditioner will irrirate your hands, so try and find a way to minimise the exposure on your hands, or change your washing routine or soaps/shampoo conditioner.
cotton gloves at night with steriod and moisterizer (not romantic or attractive, but work, i use cotton gloves from poundland!)
bear in mind that skin once made sensitive can take 6 months to settle down. so this will take some working and planning for.
This is the voice of hideious experience, with rpt skin infections from open skin. now under reasonable control, but does flare up at times.
(if you had all over body ezcema then yes consider food an issue, or environmental allergies, but just hands, not gonna be the problem)
I've only just come back to this thread and seen all these other replies full of advice. Thanks to you all for taking the time to respond.
Sweetiesmum, that website was really interesting. Thanks!
Euro, I never realised acupuncture could help. I might look into that where I am, but in my experience the Germans aren't really into it (I'm in Hamburg).
Eragon, yes, the eczema is just on my hands. It's definitely made worse by water and any contact with household chemicals etc.
I cut out gluten/wheat and all sugar for a few weeks and there was a definite improvement. But I also notice a big improvement if I am stricter with wearing gloves for any household tasks like cleaning and cooking.
It's currently looking great on my palms, but every finger tip is cracked and sore, and the skin feels like paper. Rubbish.
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