Erythema nodosum is characterized by the presence of reddish itchy lumps on the skin prominently found on legs and knees. It is skin inflammation that affects the fatty layers of the skin. The size of these lumps may range from small to large differing from 1-5 cm in diameter. In this type the nodules of the skin layer are not fully affected but it affects only the fatty deposits of the skin. No treatment is required for EN since it will go off in few weeks. However there will be a scar on the affected area for some days.
Erythema nodosum can be caused by several factors like infection and underlying medical conditions. It will appear on the skin as the side effect of certain medications including estrogens and contraceptive pills. It can be caused by fungal infection, Cat scratch disease, Behcet’s diseases, strep throat infection, Crohn’s disease and ulcers.
This disease is marked by small, raised, red colored nodules on the skin often attacking the skin layers of knees and legs. It can be painful and itchy due to the inflammation. The size of the lesions or nodules varies from very small to large sized measuring from 1cm to 5cm. The nodules are tender and warm to touch and look like bruises on the skin.
Initially it starts as small inflammation which will shrink down to develop into flat painful raised lesions or nodules within weeks.
Diagnoses of EN are simple and it is clearly evident on physical examination of the affected area. It will be identified as raised lesions that are reddish which resemble very much like bruises on the skin. In case of confusion, your doctor may do a biopsy of the skin for confirming the presence of EN.
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Treatment is not required since the nodules will wither in 4-5 weeks on its own. Treatment can be given only for controlling the symptoms of the disease. Corticosteroids like cortisone are given either by oral pills or by intravenous injection. They are effective in controlling the inflammation and prevent its recurrence.
Often anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for reducing the symptoms of EN. Some doctors use potassium iodide solution for getting effective results.
The mode of treatment varies from one person to other depending on the intensity of lesions. Though erythema nodosum affects the skin causing ugly look apart from pain, still it does not affect internal organs even if it stays for longer period.