My Experience with Hepatitis C and Atopic Dermatitis
It’s a silent symptom we rarely hear about. After my diagnosis, I learned that Hepatitis C may cause skin problems. It’s only one of the pesky clues that point to Hep C, and it can also hang around after a person has been cured, especially if they have advanced liver disease. I experienced skin issues for several years, and my doctor thought it was atopic dermatitis and offered steroid creams. Looking back, it was a no brainer. Something was going on inside my body that affected my skin.
Hepatitis C and atopic dermatitis?
My skin problems started with the Hepatitis C virus creating chronic inflammation in my whole body. I experienced swelling, redness, and occasional white flakes on my skin. Being around hay could cause severe itching. I had no clue that one part of my body could have a reaction to something that’s going on in another part of my body. I even became allergic to bandaids because of Hep C, and after getting cured, the allergy went away.
Hep C lives and breeds in the liver. When left unchecked, it continued to replicate. Soon, the rest of my body felt the burden of the liver inflammation and disease. It even stressed my other organs, skin, and in my case, it created an autoimmune response.1
Topical irritants and rashes
Although atopic dermatitis ran in my family, I never had problems. Then slowly, I began to have bumps and blisters when using certain lotions and soaps I had used the same cosmetics for years. Then, about 4 years before my liver failed, everything broke me out in a rosacea type rash. I tried several different cleansers, moisturizers, and foundations before landing on a natural one. Everything made my skin sting. By the time of my diagnosis, I was experiencing eczema, blisters from sun exposure, and rosacea. All of this went away after getting cured of the Hepatitis C Virus.
Moving toward a cure for Hepatitis C
By the time the white flakes were encrusting my eyebrows, I also had bruising, and my liver failed pretty fast. I treated Hep C using interferon injections and oral protease inhibitors, which make skin problems worse. Finally, I got the cure and was Hep C free. While the other skin issues got better, it turned out that dry, scaly, and itchy skin are also symptoms of advanced liver disease.2
There's hope for Hep C and skin problems
Today’s treatments for HCV work quickly to help calm down the liver, and the whole body, including the skin. Since Hepatitis C can cause skin problems, hopefully, everyone can talk to the doctor about getting cured of Hep C. Once the virus is gone, the body’s immune response can gradually get better. Even patients with advanced cirrhosis have seen a reversal in symptoms, including those that affect the skin. There is hope if anyone needs help from Hepatitis C causing skin problems.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?