Melissa and I met on Instagram, and have had some nice email exchanges about skin. Turns out Melissa, like many others with dermatographia, thinks her condition is related to medication she was taking for another condition. In her case, it was hypothyroidism. This is pretty interesting because many people have told me they believe their hypothyroidism and dermatographia are linked. I’d like to know more about this link! She’s also curious about giving birth, and if the stress from that event would be problematic for those of us with dermatographia. If anyone has insights into this, please comment below. Thanks!
Here’s what Melissa and I discussed over email:
Ariana Page Russell (APR): How long have you had dermatographia?
Melissa Hayes (MH): I’ve had the skin condition since late 2012.
(APR): Do you remember anything seeming to be the cause of the dermatographia? For instance, some people develop it after taking certain medications.
(MH): It’s funny you ask about the medications because, Yes! I did not have the condition until I started taking Levoxyl for hypothyroidism. I have since stopped taking it because I wanted an official diagnosis from an Endocrinologist. It is my family physician who had the idea to treat me for hypothyroidism, due to other symptoms I was experiencing at the time. My sister was diagnosed with milder symptoms prior to me, and wasn’t prescribed anything. However, both of our numbers, related to the indication of the condition, were both “borderline”. She later on sought care with an Endocrinologist and he stated there wasn’t even a possibility it could be hypothyroidism. This is another reason why I have stopped taking the medication. So, yes, I believe my dermatographia’s onset is related to medication.
(APR): How did you find out you have dermatographia?
(MH): I found out I have dermatographia, noticing little marks here and there, while doing daily activities. Upon documenting the “marks”, due to concern, my physician knew immediately what the skin condition was when I presented my pictures to him.
(APR): What are your symptoms? Are they bothersome?
(MH): My symptoms include itchiness, slight redness, & warmth in the area. The itching, at times, can be bothersome. After workout sessions, I’ve noticed my skin is a bit sensitive. If I stratch my skin during that time, the itchiness escalates to a point where I find it hard to cease from scratching. I literally have to hold myself back from the urge to do so.
(APR): Oh yes, that itch can get so bad sometimes! How do you treat the symptoms? Do you take antihistamines?
(MH): I am currently not treating my symptoms at all. At the time of diagnosis I was notified that an antihistamine such as zyrtec could be taken.
(APR): What types of foods do you eat, and do you have any allergies?
(MH): The only allergies I know of are just the typical seasonal allergies around spring time. I eat healthy most times. I grew up eating full course meals which included lots of veggies. My Mom wouldn’t have it any other way lol.
(APR): My mom is the same way! Do most people know you have dermatographia, or do you keep it to yourself? What do others think of it?
(MH): Most people I know are aware that I have dermatographia. I am absolutely not ashamed of it. However initially, before diagnosis, I was very concerned as to what it could possibly be. Other people think the condition it cool. They often times wonder if they too can “draw” on themselves.
(APR): Are you embarrassed by it, proud of it, or indifferent to it?
(MH): I am not embarrassed by my dermatographia. I have a better understanding of the condition and I am proud of it. I like the idea of be a little different from the rest.
(APR): Me too! It’s cool to be unique ;’) Is there anything else you’d like to know about dermatographia?
(MH): I would like to know if the condition can suddenly go away? Do most people have it for the remaining of their lives. Does it present to be a problem during stressful situations such as giving birth?
(APR): I have heard that the condition can suddenly go away, especially in our 40’s or 50’s. But this doesn’t always happen–everyone’s condition manifests at different times in their lives and for different periods of time. As far as I know it does not present a problem when giving birth. I know stress can exacerbate the condition, but the histamine response gets exhausted after a certain period of time/stimulation, so I don’t think it would last long enough to cause any issued during birth.
Has anyone with dermatographia given birth? Please comment below. Also, I’d love to hear from more people with hypothyroidism and dermatographia!
All photos courtesy of Melissa Hayes.