If you are seeking help with eczema treatment then Dr Helen Allergy can help. With a consultation you can really be on the way to reducing the suffering of eczema for your child or for yourself.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition which affects approximately 10 to 20% of children and 10% of adults. It is a chronic illness which causes a great deal of stress and misery to both those suffering with it and their families.
Eczema seems to be the one condition which families believe can be cured. Much time, energy and money is spent looking for a miracle cream, or a new approach which may end the suffering. In Dr Helen’s experience this often compounds the problem as it adds to the pressure which these which families are under.
Sadly, as yet there is no known cure for eczema. There are many different types of eczema but the commonest which occurs in children is called atopic eczema and is often linked to the subsequent development of food allergies, hayfever, animal allergies or asthma.
It has been identified that individuals with atopic eczema have a mutation of the Fillagrin gene. This means that their skin barrier is not normal and therefore the skin struggles to waterproof itself.
Sufferers of eczema often have dry, extremely itchy skin. This can disturb their sleep and there are many mental health illnesses linked to eczema including anxiety, depression and ADHD.
Whilst many people, including doctors, believe that food causes eczema. A large Cochrane review which analysed lots of studies has shown that food allergy does not cause eczema.
Whilst those with eczema have a higher risk of subsequent food allergies developing or of coexisting environmental allergies (such as pet allergies or house dust mite allergies), removing all external sources will not cure the eczema itself.
Even if an individual ate nothing and lived in a bubble, the eczema would still exist.
It is important to control external factors such as environmental allergies as this can add to the itch which they experience and therefore mean that the control of eczema is poor, but it is important for our patients and families that they do not end up in a vicious cycle of believing that they are triggering the eczema in some way.
Children with eczema have an increased risk of egg and peanut allergies. There is information about weaning children with eczema early in order to prevent this from occurring. There is more information about this on our early weaning page.
There are many factors which can cause eczema to flareup including stress, an illness, foods which naturally contain histamine (like tomatoes, fish, aubergines) and recurrent itching.
We highly recommend booking a consultation to learn about eczema treatment and find out if it could be for you.
Non IgE Mediated Food Allergies
Some children with eczema have Non IgE Mediated food allergies and whilst the food remains in their diet, the eczema can be difficult to control.
These children tend to have associated bowel symptoms such as explosive bowel movements, blood in the stool, constipation (where the stool is soft but much straining occurs), reflux or congestion.
However, it is important to remember that even removing foods which may be triggering a non-IgE allergy, will not cure the eczema completely. It simply ensures that the eczema is easier to manage.
There is much interest in the association of the gut microbiota and eczema. Many studies have shown that those with eczema and allergies have an adverse gut environment.
Formula companies have looked to include pre and probiotics to see whether the gut can be manipulated to improve the happy bacteria by adding probiotics such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG.
Whilst individual studies do look encouraging in this regard, systematic reviews have not yet shown benefit. Many allergists differ in their opinion about whether probiotics should be taken and as yet the jury is still out.
However, for most babies and children, the addition of a probiotic for eczema treatment would not be harmful. For adults with eczema, we would encourage a wide and varied diet and in this way the gut microbiota should naturally improve.