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.
- 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
- Antibiotics containing sulfa
- Oral contraceptives
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.
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.
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)
Although erythema nodosum is uncomfortable, it is usually not a serious condition. Symptoms are usually gone within six week; however, they may recur.