What is erythema nodosum?
Erythema nodosum is characterized by tender, red bumps, usually found on the shins. Quite often, erythema nodosum is not a separate disease, but, rather, a sign of some other disease, or of a sensitivity to a drug.
Diseases that can cause erythema nodosum
- Streptococcal infections
- Sarcoidosis (inflammation of the lymph nodes and other organs)
- Coccidioidomycosis (infection of the upper respiratory tract and lungs)
- Histoplasmosis (an infectious pulmonary disease)
- Psittacosis (a flu-like disease)
- Lymphogranuloma venereum (a venereal infection)
- Ulcerative colitis
Drugs that can cause erythema nodosum
- Antibiotics containing sulfa
- Oral contraceptives
What are the symptoms of erythema nodosum?
The following are the most common symptoms of erythema nodosum. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Raised bruises on the shins
- Joint pain
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the chest
Young adults are particularly susceptible to erythema nodosum. The symptoms of erythema nodosum may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
How is erythema nodosum diagnosed?
A biopsy (removal of tissue for examination under a microscope) of a bump can usually confirm the diagnosis. However, the exact cause cannot always be identified. Drug-induced erythema nodosum can usually be diagnosed by elimination of the drug causing the reaction.
Treatment for erythema nodosum
Specific treatment for erythema nodosum will be determined by your physician based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
- Treatment of underlying cause
- Bed rest (to relieve pain)