Investigating the Root Cause of My Eczema: What Was My Solution?
Disclaimer: Not recommending any supplements, medicines or procedures etc. Just telling my own story and what has worked for me.
In 2005 my skin erupted with itchy sores which after scratching became infected and prompted a vicious cycle of prednisone and antibiotics nearly every other month.
Investigating what caused my eczema
Dermatologists, specialists, naturopaths, and doctors could only offer the same conclusion. Don’t know what causes it, can’t be cured, and drugs and steroids were the only recourse.
At first, I listened and followed all their recommendations but the niggling voice continued. What actually started all this? What else can be done besides drugs? What’s happening inside my body? My acupuncturist said my ‘blood was poisoned’ and this was the first REAL insightful consideration.
Stress from an infection triggered my eczema
I finally figured out what triggered my eczema. They may have said they didn’t know the cause, but I wasn’t willing to accept that. Something caused it and I wanted to know what.
A pedicurist had sliced my heal, which became infected and my job was hugely stressful and inflammation was a daily issue. Bacteria, slow to heal, coupled with stress and inflammation. A couple of years in, my body erupted with over 90% covered with sores.
Frustration with drugs as my only treatment options
Was fed up with not being able to wear clothing, crying in the shower at night, and tossing about with insomnia because of anxiety caused by itching, flaring and burning. Doctors and dermatologists' recommendations for maintenance were not useful. They could only offer drug maintenance. Not one single healthcare professional told me the steroid cream I was slathering on each night was short-term, not long term so I had been using it nightly for years!
Not willing to accept there was nothing to be done but drugs, I started my own research.
Treating the skin from within
Eventually, as I researched and logged, I slowly began to build a new understanding. Treating my skin from the outside was not only a losing battle but also the wrong solution.
What was going on inside? I asked myself this question. What’s happening inside my body to cause my skin to flare? Inflammation, stress, anxiety, infections.
Researching anti-inflammatory diets
Research started with diet. Was I eating something that was toxic to me? How could diet change the outcome? Finally, I decided the CAUSE is inflammation. Everything seems caused by inflammation. If I could control inflammation then an anti-inflammatory diet might help.
Nightshades, for example have lectins that can cause issues. Spices, and inflammatory foods such as processed foods, dairy, wheat began to reveal what changes I could make.
Slowly tapering off topical steroids
I tried to ‘get off’ the steroid cream only to find Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) came calling. Tapering slowly was the only way to resolve this issue, so instead of every night I began alternating nights with only CeraVe cream.
My doctor had prescribed Clobetasol 50% solution to mix in a 16-ounce jar of CeraVe cream. To taper I began to alternate use, upped the jar of cream to 19 ounces and mixed 25% solution instead.
Finding a functional doctor who offered alternative options
Finally, I searched out and found a ‘functional doctor’ who didn’t lean on drugs but offered an alternative with diet, supplements, and figuring out what was actually happening inside my body. An array of blood tests revealed some surprising results. He targeted gut health. The gut is one of our ‘brains’ and the food normally eaten in today’s society is horrid. Gut health is so hugely important! Western diet is awful.
He recommended an anti-inflammatory diet, Paleo to begin with which was difficult because a completely new meal mindset had to take place. It was a slow process to change the way I viewed food.
Is today's food less nutritious?
My extensive research revealed that food today has less nutrition being reduced by intensive farming - not allowing the ground to ‘rest’ and rebuild strips the soil of nutrients. I also concluded that the way we treat our animals makes a difference. Traumatized animals produce traumatized meat, and we ‘eat that trauma.' Some plants such as nightshades have a built-in self-defense system against predators. We are the predators! It became obvious that how and what we eat makes a huge difference.
Vitamins and supplements my doctor recommended
The first supplement my functional doctor recommended is Repair Guard with Quercetin and offered immediate results. You can find it on Amazon.
One size fits all vitamins were replaced by several individual supplements, vitamins B, D, and C. Probiotics, fish oil, and herbal teas took over. Ridding my house of non-foods (loved Cheetos- that’s not even food, mostly chemicals!). No junk food, fried food and fewer processed foods in the house means less temptation.
What did I eliminate from my diet?
A change in meal mindset offered a new view of food as dairy, wheat, nightshades, processed, sugar etc. Changing how I viewed food made a huge difference. Pizza was a favorite but one of the worst foods for me. Wheat, dairy, nightshades, processed meat! Now I’m not saying I eliminated it completely but it is no longer a Friday night treat, but maybe once in a blue moon. One fellow offered taking Vitamin K before eating nightshades as a possible alleviation of issues if nightshades are a problem for you.
Gabapentin helped reduce my itch and anxiety
Another surprise occurred when a sciatica issue brought the script Gabapentin. Scripted for nerve pain, the first thing I noticed was the lack of itching, which then offered a release from constant physical anxiety because if your body is itching all over, it’s tense and anxious.
Through research, I learned that low-dose Gabapentin targets inflammation! Which alleviated the itching, which then stopped the anxiety and tension which resulted in fixing insomnia because if you’re itching all over and anxious, who can sleep?
How I'm doing now
90% of my body was covered in lesions. Now it’s healed scars. No more viscous prednisone anti-biotic cycle. I can sleep at night. Mood improved. Clothing choices are not an issue.
Hoping my journey is helpful to someone out there battling eczema.
Written by: Blake Brylczyk
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