There are many other health concerns related to the skin that can be diagnosed or treated by your dermatologist at Ascension Seton. We specialize in a full spectrum of skin treatments and can address the issues you are having with your skin.
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is a very common problem, especially in teens and young adults. It can affect the underarms, hands, feet or even the entire body. While generally a “harmless” condition, hyperhidrosis can be a frustrating problem that greatly affects your quality of life.
Excessive sweating is often diagnosed just from taking a personal history. However, there are sweat tests that can be done as well. Sometimes, your dermatologist may run blood tests to make sure that heavy sweating isn’t the result of another issue.
There are many treatments that can help improve heavy sweating. These include special antiperspirants, oral medications, iontophoresis (applying electrical current) and botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) injections. Some treatments may need continued use to be effective (like daily antiperspirants, for example) while others may mean permanent improvement.
Autoimmune Skin Disorders
The immune system and skin are closely related, and a number of autoimmune conditions (also known as “connective tissue disorders”) can cause rashes and other skin problems. These include lupus, dermatomyositis and morphea, among others. There are also skin conditions that are autoimmune disorders themselves, like psoriasis. All of these are complex medical conditions that need treatment by a board-certified dermatologist.
Taking general steps for good health can keep your immune system stronger. Some autoimmune disorders are made worse by certain triggers. Avoiding triggers can help minimize flare-ups. Your dermatologist may take a skin biopsy to form a diagnosis. Antibody tests and inflammation tests may also be needed. Depending on the cause, there are many treatments (topical, oral and sometimes intravenous) for these conditions.
Autoimmune skin disorders are considered chronic health issues, which means you will need to manage the symptoms for the rest of your life. It’s important to work closely with your dermatologist at Ascension Seton for the best care.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Many sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) can infect the skin. One example is genital warts/HPV, but herpes, syphilis and even conditions like HIV and gonorrhea can also affect the skin. Depending on what type of STI is diagnosed, there may be rashes, bumps or sores. While common on the genitals, these can also show up on the buttocks, back, groin, or even as full-body rashes.
Some STI’s can be diagnosed just by an exam. In other cases, your doctor may take skin cultures, perform a biopsy or order lab tests. All STI’s have treatment options and many can be cured for good. The type of treatment depends on the type of infection. Genital warts, for instance, can often be frozen off, while the best treatment for herpes is oral antivirals.
Other Skin Infections
Bacteria, fungal or yeast infections, viruses and parasites are all common causes of skin infection. These can range from athlete’s foot (a fungal infection) to impetigo (a bacterial infection, usually seen in kids). Many of these skin infections can be prevented by limiting contact with others who have the infections. Making sure conditions are not conducive to a skin condition is helpful as well. For example, athlete’s foot thrives in damp environments, so keeping feet clean and dry can help prevent athlete’s foot from developing.
Your dermatologist at Ascension Seton can confirm a diagnosis by looking at skin scrapings or sending cultures to the lab. As with any infection, these conditions are usually contagious until treated. That’s why getting an accurate diagnosis and starting on treatment quickly is important.
Most skin infections can be easily cured with oral medication or topical medication, depending on the particular organism causing the infection. Sometimes a combination of treatments may be used.
There are a number of causes for abnormal-appearing nails. Most people are familiar with fungal infections of the nails, as they are quite common. Less well-known are a number of other causes of abnormal nails. These range from psoriasis and lichen planus to nail changes caused by medications or metabolic problems.
Nail disorders are often diagnosed on sight. Your Ascension Seton dermatologist may take a scraping from under the affected nail to send to the lab. Other symptoms, like a rash seen on the skin or mouth at the same time, can also give a clue as to the cause.
Many nail disorders can be effectively treated with oral or topical therapies. Successful treatment often takes many months. Some nail disorders may need more than one treatment before symptoms improve. Others may continue coming back, or take a long time to respond to treatment.
Our dermatologists also treat disorders of the mouth. Many conditions can affect the lips, gums, and other areas inside the mouth. These include benign growths as well as inflammatory and infectious conditions such as cold sores, fever blisters, cancers or rarer conditions. Conditions affecting the mouth can cause severe discomfort and may impair swallowing or eating, so early diagnosis and treatment is key.
Your dermatologist may be able to diagnose your issue on sight. Other conditions could need cultures, allergy tests or a biopsy to establish a diagnosis. Some oral disorders improve on their own without treatment. Others may be treated with medication, or by using special mouthwashes.