Granuloma annulare is a chronic inflammatory dermatosis, often associated with lesions in a ring pattern. Read on to understand more about its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment.
Granuloma annulare is a skin disorder, characterized by raised, bumpy lesions. Usually, lesion occurs in groups on skin, forming a ring pattern, with a clear skin inside the ring. Very rarely, it occurs singly. Though this skin condition can affect any age group, it is more common among children and young adults. It is also observed that females are at a higher risk than males. Oftentimes, it is confused with other skin problems, especially ringworm. Here is some information about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of this skin condition.
Causes and Symptoms
The noticeable symptoms of granuloma annulare are reddish or skin colored lesions on the skin. In general, it resembles insect bites. In the initial stages, the bumps are small, smooth and round, which later progress to lesions. The skin lesions may or may not be accompanied with pain and itching. At times, there are no such symptoms and it may often go unnoticed.
There are many types classified on the basis of their symptoms and distribution. Localized granuloma annulare occurs in the hands, feet, elbows and knees. Generalized granuloma annulare is a type when the lesions spread in the whole body. It is a severe case in which the lesions are comparatively smaller, associated with itching. Subcutaneous one on the other hand, is characterized by pinkish nodules located below the skin epidermis, without significant alteration of the overlying skin. It is to be noted that unlike other chronic skin problems, it does not have any long-term health effects.
The causes of granuloma annulare are still not clear. However, medical studies have claimed that immune system reactions caused by side effects of drugs, play a role in causing such skin lesions. In some cases, it occurs in diabetic and thyroid patients. That is why, many doctors are of the opinion that granuloma annulare may be related to diabetes and thyroid diseases. As of now, there is no clinical proof whether these health conditions are related or not.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Granuloma annulare is diagnosed by examining the skin lesions. To rule out other skin conditions, the doctor may perform biopsy test in which a skin sample from the affected area is taken and observed under microscope. In some cases, blood test is conducted to check for other possible diseases.
The skin lesions may disappear on their own within two years. In spite of the fact that granuloma annulare has no potential health impact, people still opt for treatment, mostly for cosmetic reasons, as the lesions affect the physical appearance. After correct diagnosis the doctor may prescribe medications like corticosteroids, in order to improve the skin texture and speed up the disappearance of the lesions.
For localized type, cryotherapy procedure is effective; however it may result in hypo or hyper pigmentation. In severe and bothersome cases of localized type, potent steroid cream may be applied to the affected skin or even injected directly into the lesions (intralesional injection). It is always recommended to consult and seek advice from a qualified dermatologist or physician before proceeding for any treatment options of granuloma annulare.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.