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Anybody Have The Skin Disease Granuloma Annulare?
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It's a rare skin disease, no cure, non- itchy (usually) - just ugly. Looks a LOT like ringworm (doctors will often misdiagnosis as ringworm). Little kids often get it and it'll go away. Adults can have it a long time. I've had it about 30 years now. There are many variants of the disease - big circles, little circles, splotches (generalized, localized, etc). Both men and women can get it, goes away in pregnant women so is most likely an autoimmune disease. Could be worse.

Anybody else afflicted? If so, did you find a gluten free diet helped in any way?

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I've never heard of it, but just looked up. Maybe that can explain things. I've been to three doctors for what looked like ringworm to me. They all said it wasn't and that that it was probably an allergic reaction and would go away eventually. I've had it now for two years. It's not itchy, not getting in bigger, but definitely not going away and ugly (fortunately it's on my back).

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I've never heard of it, but just looked up. Maybe that can explain things. I've been to three doctors for what looked like ringworm to me. They all said it wasn't and that that it was probably an allergic reaction and would go away eventually. I've had it now for two years. It's not itchy, not getting in bigger, but definitely not going away and ugly (fortunately it's on my back).

Hi Corinne,

A good dermatologist could probably diagnose you pretty quickly. If you don't mind the idea of a biopsy it could confirm it and if it is Granuloma Annulare - it sometimes goes away after the biopsy for some unknown reason.

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It might be worth a trip to the dermatologist. I've only been to family doctors. I haven't done much about it because it hasn't changed.

I went gluten-free (and dairy, soy, corn, rice and legume free) a year ago and it didn't change anything.

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It might be worth a trip to the dermatologist. I've only been to family doctors. I haven't done much about it because it hasn't changed.

I went gluten-free (and dairy, soy, corn, rice and legume free) a year ago and it didn't change anything.

Gosh, that isn't what I wanted to hear. I had hoped the gluten-free lifestyle would make the GA go away, but maybe it is what has kept yours down to just one spot?? I've never had it to the extent of some of the people I have talked to - mine tends to show up on bony areas such as my hands and feet and my joints - elbows and knees. Some peeps have it pretty much everywhere. It'll be interesting to see if there is a change in mine while on this diet.

Let me know if you see a dermatologist or if you want to read more about the disease. I used to run a message board (which no longer gets any new postings, but you can still read the old posts) and I can tell you where there is an active board as well.

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I have GA as well and it started about 3 years ago under my arms. The circles are really large under my arms and I can't wear tank tops anymore. This year it started to show up on my torso and under my breasts and also in the growin area. It seems to be showing up mostly where a person perspires except the torso. I also have some just starting to show up on the top of my feet. It is very irritating. I went to a dermatologist and he is going to do a biopsy at the end of this month, January 2008. I am trying to find out more about this disease but don't know much as of yet. If I learn anything I will let everyone know.

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Since I was nine years old, I was diagnosed with GA. I only got it on my hands, and it would get worse during the summer as the rings would emit heat and become very red. I tried the topical steroid route but it was symptomatic treatment not a cure. When I was 21, I stopped eating dairy completely after a homeopathic doctor told me I was allergic just by looking at me.I started to notice that every time I consumed dairy, it would be clockwork that it would show up on my hands within 3 days. Now four years later, I keep a strict dairy free diet and as long as I do not eat dairy, I do not get the granuloma on my hands. Two years back, I decided to eat a piece of cheese while taking some digestive enzymes, my stomach was fine for a few days but I looked down and my hands were covered in granuloma annulare!! Soooo, that was when I really saw the correlation :) . The reason enzymes do not work is because enzymes are directed towards the milk sugars (lactose) not the milk proteins!

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Hi Everyone,

I am a new member; I was diagnosed with celiac about 15 years ago. I have Granuloma Annulare mainly on my thighs, calves, and feet. I had a biopsy done at Oregon Health Sciences recently, but have had this condition for about 2 years and it seems to be slowly spreading. I also have Hepatitis C, when the doctors tried to treat me with Ribavirin/Interferon I lost 50 lbs. in 6 months and had to be hospitalized. That is when I was diagnosed with celiac.

I also was diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis while at the hospital which is symptom of celiac. I wonder if this is also related to celiac. I think celiacs could be prone to many more food allergies then just gluten. I intend to get checked by a good allergist when I have time. It takes several days for comprehensive testing.

Meanwhile I will start the cortisone cream the dermatologist prescribed hoping it does not thin my skin too much as that's the last thing I need. lol

PS: I also get migraine like headaches and I have to inject DHE 45 at the onset or they get worse and can last for several days. I think it is related to celiac. Does anyone else get these?

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Hi everyone. I was glad to see some other people asking about granuloma annulare as well. It is an autoimmune condition and an immune response to something...but unknown what. I have celiacs and also have the granuloma annulare. I first noticed 1 spot a year ago and now have 3-4 which have all continued to grow. I am a student at naturopathic medical school and am slowly but surely trying to identify why my body is creating this reaction (to what). In naturopathic (rather than conventional/allopathic) philosophy, the idea is to get to the root cause...and not just say 'its an immune response to something and we don't know why and we could treat it with corticosteroids or leave it be'. Treating it with a corticosteroid will only suppress the symptom and, like another person posted, not treat the cause. The skin is one of your body's last ways to try to tell you something underlying is going on, it is not simply just a skin reaction/rash...it is a sign of a deeper pathology - or as we like to say an adaptive physiology (meaning your body is adapting (creating this skin condition) to something going on underneath). The human body wants to be healthy and will adapt in whatever ways are necessary to work on more important issues within the body.

I am hoping like others to figure out why I have this skin condition as it does look like ring worm and is not pretty. mine is on my arms just above my elbows and is on the inside of my knee. I would encourage each of you with GA to continue pursuing the issue and looking for what could be the cause. It is likely very individualized - some may be reacting to food, some to an environmental factor, some to another autoimmune condition that may not yet be discovered, etc. Who knows! :) But I suggest you continue investigating within yourself and with a holistic health care provider who will look at the whole body and not just the skin. I am sure each of us with celiacs understand the importance of that! :) In my opinion, I also personally would not recommend doing a corticosteroid treatment because as I said this can suppress the symptom only - which then causes your body to create a bigger response (same or different) instead. I will post more as I hopefully learn more.

But...hang in there! I'm glad there are some of us in this search and mystery together :)

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Hello -

I was very interested to read your posting. I have had GA for about 12 years now. Practically showed up over night - and was mainly on the tops of my feet and ankles. It looked like big bruises at first and I thought the new hiking boots I had purchased had caused this. BUT - after 2 years of it not going away, I went to the doctor and he sent me to a dermatologist that diagnosed it. The first doctor did major check up since I hadn't been in a long time, and he diagnosed me with diabetes. I learned later that adult onset diabetes - especially undiagnosed and high sugar levels - can cause GA. Over the years, the sugar levels for the most part have been under control- and the spots on my feet and ankles have faded a great deal. However, about 10 years ago, a large circle showed up on the front of my shin (2 inches in diameter) - and it has never went away - and to be honest seems to be getting worse. The edges were changing and red and actually sore. So, back to the dermatologist I went today- and she said that the ones on my feet and ankles are considered to be "inactive", but the bad one on my shin is "active" hence the reason for soreness and changing. She said that "active" meant there was a layer of infection under the "spot" and she gave me injections into the edges of it for this. She also gave me a prescription for a topical cream to use 3 weeks on, 1 week off and go back to see her in December. Your post was interesting to me - as that I know that it was indicating diabetes - but after reading what you wrote, it made me wonder if it could be indicating something else. I have sworn for the past 3 years that my thyroid wasn't working right, but the numbers come in at the acceptable range. (although, I have found information on the web stating that many doctors are saying the numbers should be adjusted - but unfortunately none of the doctors I have been to will accept this. I have EVERY symptom for a bad thyroid. Anyway- I wondered what you thought- Could this just be a sign of the diabetes (and yes, this year, the sugar levels haven't been as good as the past - and it is flaring up now) - or could it be something else? Also- one other thing to mention - the dermatologist told me that active GA can lead into "something else" - It was about an 8 syllable word that I had no hope of remembering... Any idea what this was? I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks!!!

1 2008, 12:59 PM' post='471482']

Hi everyone. I was glad to see some other people asking about granuloma annulare as well. It is an autoimmune condition and an immune response to something...but unknown what. I have celiacs and also have the granuloma annulare. I first noticed 1 spot a year ago and now have 3-4 which have all continued to grow. I am a student at naturopathic medical school and am slowly but surely trying to identify why my body is creating this reaction (to what). In naturopathic (rather than conventional/allopathic) philosophy, the idea is to get to the root cause...and not just say 'its an immune response to something and we don't know why and we could treat it with corticosteroids or leave it be'. Treating it with a corticosteroid will only suppress the symptom and, like another person posted, not treat the cause. The skin is one of your body's last ways to try to tell you something underlying is going on, it is not simply just a skin reaction/rash...it is a sign of a deeper pathology - or as we like to say an adaptive physiology (meaning your body is adapting (creating this skin condition) to something going on underneath). The human body wants to be healthy and will adapt in whatever ways are necessary to work on more important issues within the body.

I am hoping like others to figure out why I have this skin condition as it does look like ring worm and is not pretty. mine is on my arms just above my elbows and is on the inside of my knee. I would encourage each of you with GA to continue pursuing the issue and looking for what could be the cause. It is likely very individualized - some may be reacting to food, some to an environmental factor, some to another autoimmune condition that may not yet be discovered, etc. Who knows! :) But I suggest you continue investigating within yourself and with a holistic health care provider who will look at the whole body and not just the skin. I am sure each of us with celiacs understand the importance of that! :) In my opinion, I also personally would not recommend doing a corticosteroid treatment because as I said this can suppress the symptom only - which then causes your body to create a bigger response (same or different) instead. I will post more as I hopefully learn more.

But...hang in there! I'm glad there are some of us in this search and mystery together :)

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Hi..good to hear from you. I do believe some of the lab values can be off and not catch a good portion of the population with a certian condition. I don't know specifically about thyroid but I wouldn't be surprised. I believe that you can trust and know your body better than anyone and know what is going on..and to not necessarily discount that. However at the same time it's easy to read information on different conditions in various locations and scare yourself to think that you have anything or everything. So it's probably a matter of balance of knowing and trusting your gut feeling/intuition/how your body feels and being sure to not be able to make yourself think that you have any condition because you seem to fit the description.

It does sound like sugar is a trigger for your GA. In naturopathic medicine we also see a difference between trigger and cause...so while it may be a trigger it may or may not be the CAUSE of you getting a flare up of the GA. We also always want to identify the real root cause and ask why....for example if diabetes were the cuase...you have to then ask why you have diabetes and what is causing that... because not everybody gets diabetes!

So you could certainly look further into what is going on and I think it could be a good idea. And perhaps there is a thyroid issue or perhaps not. Keep investigating within yourself and with others. :)

As for the long word that your dermatologist said GA could lead to I'm not sure...but if I learn anything I'll let you know :)

Good luck!

Hello -

I was very interested to read your posting. I have had GA for about 12 years now. Practically showed up over night - and was mainly on the tops of my feet and ankles. It looked like big bruises at first and I thought the new hiking boots I had purchased had caused this. BUT - after 2 years of it not going away, I went to the doctor and he sent me to a dermatologist that diagnosed it. The first doctor did major check up since I hadn't been in a long time, and he diagnosed me with diabetes. I learned later that adult onset diabetes - especially undiagnosed and high sugar levels - can cause GA. Over the years, the sugar levels for the most part have been under control- and the spots on my feet and ankles have faded a great deal. However, about 10 years ago, a large circle showed up on the front of my shin (2 inches in diameter) - and it has never went away - and to be honest seems to be getting worse. The edges were changing and red and actually sore. So, back to the dermatologist I went today- and she said that the ones on my feet and ankles are considered to be "inactive", but the bad one on my shin is "active" hence the reason for soreness and changing. She said that "active" meant there was a layer of infection under the "spot" and she gave me injections into the edges of it for this. She also gave me a prescription for a topical cream to use 3 weeks on, 1 week off and go back to see her in December. Your post was interesting to me - as that I know that it was indicating diabetes - but after reading what you wrote, it made me wonder if it could be indicating something else. I have sworn for the past 3 years that my thyroid wasn't working right, but the numbers come in at the acceptable range. (although, I have found information on the web stating that many doctors are saying the numbers should be adjusted - but unfortunately none of the doctors I have been to will accept this. I have EVERY symptom for a bad thyroid. Anyway- I wondered what you thought- Could this just be a sign of the diabetes (and yes, this year, the sugar levels haven't been as good as the past - and it is flaring up now) - or could it be something else? Also- one other thing to mention - the dermatologist told me that active GA can lead into "something else" - It was about an 8 syllable word that I had no hope of remembering... Any idea what this was? I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks!!!

1 2008, 12:59 PM' post='471482']

Hi everyone. I was glad to see some other people asking about granuloma annulare as well. It is an autoimmune condition and an immune response to something...but unknown what. I have celiacs and also have the granuloma annulare. I first noticed 1 spot a year ago and now have 3-4 which have all continued to grow. I am a student at naturopathic medical school and am slowly but surely trying to identify why my body is creating this reaction (to what). In naturopathic (rather than conventional/allopathic) philosophy, the idea is to get to the root cause...and not just say 'its an immune response to something and we don't know why and we could treat it with corticosteroids or leave it be'. Treating it with a corticosteroid will only suppress the symptom and, like another person posted, not treat the cause. The skin is one of your body's last ways to try to tell you something underlying is going on, it is not simply just a skin reaction/rash...it is a sign of a deeper pathology - or as we like to say an adaptive physiology (meaning your body is adapting (creating this skin condition) to something going on underneath). The human body wants to be healthy and will adapt in whatever ways are necessary to work on more important issues within the body.

I am hoping like others to figure out why I have this skin condition as it does look like ring worm and is not pretty. mine is on my arms just above my elbows and is on the inside of my knee. I would encourage each of you with GA to continue pursuing the issue and looking for what could be the cause. It is likely very individualized - some may be reacting to food, some to an environmental factor, some to another autoimmune condition that may not yet be discovered, etc. Who knows! :) But I suggest you continue investigating within yourself and with a holistic health care provider who will look at the whole body and not just the skin. I am sure each of us with celiacs understand the importance of that! :) In my opinion, I also personally would not recommend doing a corticosteroid treatment because as I said this can suppress the symptom only - which then causes your body to create a bigger response (same or different) instead. I will post more as I hopefully learn more.

But...hang in there! I'm glad there are some of us in this search and mystery together :)

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Oh hey, thanks. Never had a name for it before, LOL. I used to have blotches of it on a regular basis. Now it's just a once and a while thing. It shows up mostly on my hands for some reason, particularly my fingers. I've just always lived with it as far as I can remember. But then it's never been real bad for me, just a couple spots at any time. So yeah, I guess the gluten-free diet has helped cut down on the frequency, from always to once every couple months.

It's a rare skin disease, no cure, non- itchy (usually) - just ugly. Looks a LOT like ringworm (doctors will often misdiagnosis as ringworm). Little kids often get it and it'll go away. Adults can have it a long time. I've had it about 30 years now. There are many variants of the disease - big circles, little circles, splotches (generalized, localized, etc). Both men and women can get it, goes away in pregnant women so is most likely an autoimmune disease. Could be worse.

Anybody else afflicted? If so, did you find a gluten free diet helped in any way?

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I have GA and I think it is interesting how you said that the body will adapt and you recommended not using the creams for this purpose. I started using the steroid creams because I had a spot on the back of my left leg, on my right hip, and various little ones on the backs of both arms. Since using the creams I have developed one on my hand, my left hip, the left outer side of my chest, on the top near my left elbow, and just today discovered another underneath near my bottom elbow. I am soo sick of this and that is why I am back to the computer looking for answers. I saw other people mention gluten free diets and considered doing that. I'm curious if the reason I am using the creams and finding more spots is because of what you said. So besides no dairy has anyone had any success with other things?? I've looked up causes for GA and skin trauma can be one of them. I fell and scratched my arm against a hotel hallway in Atlanta and when it healed there were these bumps. I thought they were scars but they never left and I soon developed more. Well I was new to the South so I figured it was a reaction to the heat. Then when I got the one on my hip it just started getting bigger. However, it wasn't til the one on the back of my leg that I knew I had to do something. Grew so fast it was scary. So I'm not really sure if this helps any but this is my experience with GA. I am thankful that this isn't life threatening but it is stressful and aggravating to just not know.

Hi everyone. I was glad to see some other people asking about granuloma annulare as well. It is an autoimmune condition and an immune response to something...but unknown what. I have celiacs and also have the granuloma annulare. I first noticed 1 spot a year ago and now have 3-4 which have all continued to grow. I am a student at naturopathic medical school and am slowly but surely trying to identify why my body is creating this reaction (to what). In naturopathic (rather than conventional/allopathic) philosophy, the idea is to get to the root cause...and not just say 'its an immune response to something and we don't know why and we could treat it with corticosteroids or leave it be'. Treating it with a corticosteroid will only suppress the symptom and, like another person posted, not treat the cause. The skin is one of your body's last ways to try to tell you something underlying is going on, it is not simply just a skin reaction/rash...it is a sign of a deeper pathology - or as we like to say an adaptive physiology (meaning your body is adapting (creating this skin condition) to something going on underneath). The human body wants to be healthy and will adapt in whatever ways are necessary to work on more important issues within the body.

I am hoping like others to figure out why I have this skin condition as it does look like ring worm and is not pretty. mine is on my arms just above my elbows and is on the inside of my knee. I would encourage each of you with GA to continue pursuing the issue and looking for what could be the cause. It is likely very individualized - some may be reacting to food, some to an environmental factor, some to another autoimmune condition that may not yet be discovered, etc. Who knows! :) But I suggest you continue investigating within yourself and with a holistic health care provider who will look at the whole body and not just the skin. I am sure each of us with celiacs understand the importance of that! :) In my opinion, I also personally would not recommend doing a corticosteroid treatment because as I said this can suppress the symptom only - which then causes your body to create a bigger response (same or different) instead. I will post more as I hopefully learn more.

But...hang in there! I'm glad there are some of us in this search and mystery together :)

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Just wanted to throw my two cents in. ;) My husband has this and all his life he thought they were bites. He was just diagnosed a few months ago. He, too, got the topical cream which has helped a lot, because his are supremely itchy. They are on his thighs, calves, feet and knuckles when he has them. I am the Celiac so he is about 85% gluten-free since everything at home is gluten-free but his cereal. He doesn't have any other conditions.

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I happened to stumble back onto this thread when doing a search on google. I'm amazed at how many people have this disease!

Since my original post in 2007, I've been diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Autoimmune Hypothyroidism). I'm sure that I had it for many years prior to being diagnosed since I've had many hypothyroid symptoms for years. The standard thyroid test that they run (the TSH) always came back normal, but when the doctors finally tested my antibodies - they saw that there was a problem.

I am now on thyroid meds as well as low dose hydrocortisone tablets (for adrenal fatigue). While on Synthroid (T4) my GA seemed to be getting flatter and lighter in color, but I didn't feel well on that hormone so I switched to Cytomel (T3) along with a small bit of T4 and my GA has became worse again. Not sure what this all means, but doing a search for Cytomel and GA will bring up pages seeing a connection (often patients get their first lesion while on this med)... doing a search for Synthroid will bring up pages (including a patient case) that shows sometimes Synthroid can he helpful in curing GA. Since the body converts T4 to T3 before using it... this doesn't make much sense. :huh:

I also did try a gluten free diet for a couple months with no change in the GA or any of my other health problems.

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Laurelfla and Cottage_Soul,

So going gluten-free isn't worth the time? I am finding it very difficult and I only started a week ago. But Laurel if your husband only has about 15% gluten in his diet is that enough for GA to stay do you think? Cottage_Soul did you stay gluten free for a long enough time to get it all out of your system? I'm not trying to question your intelligence I just want to understand my own GA better. I am going to the derm. today and I'm going to ask then if I should bother. I also read that GA is an auto immune disease and so does anyone think boosting the immune system through vitamin c and eccinecea a good idea?

Thanks

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Cottage_Soul did you stay gluten free for a long enough time to get it all out of your system?

Probably not. IF I had also lost some weight during those months... I'm sure I would have stuck to it. But it's not an easy diet to follow and when I didn't see results of any kind, I gave it up.

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Ah ok. Thanks. I went to the doc and basically it was the same ole same ole... can't help ya... nothing you can do... here is a new cream. Contrary to what it sounds like I'm not mad at them... I'm just aggravated with the whole thing. I am grateful its not terminal... but this can be categorized under one of those things that "never happens to me but to other people".

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It's a rare skin disease, no cure, non- itchy (usually) - just ugly. Looks a LOT like ringworm (doctors will often misdiagnosis as ringworm). Little kids often get it and it'll go away. Adults can have it a long time. I've had it about 30 years now. There are many variants of the disease - big circles, little circles, splotches (generalized, localized, etc). Both men and women can get it, goes away in pregnant women so is most likely an autoimmune disease. Could be worse.

Anybody else afflicted? If so, did you find a gluten free diet helped in any way?

I have suffered from GA for over 20 years, however since my diagnosis with Coeliacs in Nov 07 and following a gluten free diet, my skin has all but cleared.

During the time that I struggled with GA, I tried every solution offered, however, I was always concerned that with the steroids, PUVA etc that I was trying to mask an underlying condition.

Given that GA appears to be auto immune - as is Coeliacs - and also given that mine has cleared systematically since starting the gluten free diet - I am inclined to believe that there is some connection.

Searches on the internet are also linking Coeliacs with Diabetes. There is also a link with GA and Diabetes - does not take a genius to work out that there may be other links.

I do feel that current medical solutions are there to treat symptoms rather than find solutions. Both of my 'symptoms' for Coeliacs - GA and Anaemia - were dismissed by medics for 20 years - but both have cleared within 12months!!

Best of luck to all of you to find your trigger

One final note - it takes about 6months for your system to recover if you do have a Gluten intolerance - and any Gluten is too much - even down to crumbs from a shared toaster or cooking food in fat that has been used to cook batter etc. The GP can do a bloodtest to check for antibodies against gluten although the final confirmation does normally need to be done via an endoscope.

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hi there,

ive ahd GA for about 6 years now and as with most others i was initially prescribed with cortizones to clear it up. this worked a bit in the beginning and then failed to work any more. I have tried the candida diet with various levels of strictness and notice that this at least stops the infected areas (the neck, shoulders and around both elbows) from looking more agressive. ie they no longer look red.

however this is quite hard to stick to and i usually lapse after time. also this appears not to work totally - though this could be my lack of sticking to the diet too, which i have not fully committed to longer than 8 plus weeks.

i am currently looking/thinking of 2 different treatments

1) celiac diet?

2) collidal treatment (which i dont know much about)

anyway perhaps thats of some help or perhaps somebody can make a suggestion?

thanks..

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I was in my late 30's when I first got granuloma annulare on my left ankle. Cortisone cream cleared it up. It reappeared in the same location about 8-10 years later two more times. Cortisone cream cleared it up both of those times.

About 6 months ago, it showed up again, but this time numerous spots appeared on my legs, arms and torso in addition to the usual location on my ankle. Cortisone cream was slowly clearing up the spots, but additional spots were rapidly appearing.

My doctor was doing some routine blood work and included a test for vitamin D, at my request. It turned out that my vitamin D level was only 4.4 when it should have been in the range of 32 - 100! She told me to take 1000 mg of vitamin D supplements, along with zinc and calcium and advised me to make sure I was getting plenty of sleep in order to improve my immune system. This cleared up all of my granuloma annulare spots within a couple of months!

You have to be careful with vitamin D supplements because they are fat soluble which can cause a toxic level to build up in your body. Although my dermatologist is not happy about it, I try to sit outside in the sun for a few minutes several times a week in order to get some natural vitamin D which does not have the toxicity issues of supplements.

I hope this info is helpful for others.

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I know one who suffered from  granuloma annulare  It is not curable but it can be controlled for sure. He just stopped taking wheat and it worked. However, you must be careful as this often associates thyroid disease. So be in touch with your doctor on a regular basis. 

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