Dry Skin

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What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin (xerosis) is a quite common issue, and it can be caused by a wide range of factors including climate, skincare routine, age, and genetics. It most commonly affects specific parts of the body such as the elbows, arms, and legs. Dry skin is not a major medical issue in most cases, but it can cause itching and discomfort, as well as cracked or scaly skin.

What Are The Causes of Dry Skin?

Dry skin is most common in the wintertime due to cold, arid weather, but may also occur year-round for a number of other reasons. A common factor of dry skin is age, as your skin will naturally become thinner, lose collagen deposits, and produce less oil and sweat as you get older. Dry skin can also be connected to skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or ichthyosis, as well as other medical issues such as diabetes, HIV, or thyroid or kidney disease. Your skin may dry out as a side effect of certain medications including statins and diuretics. Finally, lifestyle factors such as poor diet and smoking cigarettes may contribute to dry skin as well.

Other typical causes of pain in the abdominal area include:

  • Ulcers
  • Gallstones
  • Diverticulitis, an inflammation of the small intestine
  • Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas
  • Kidney stones
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease, characterized by heartburn and acid reflux

These and other general causes of abdominal pain can affect both sexes, but some kinds of pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area are unique to men or women.

Abdominal Pain for Women

In addition to general abdominal issues, women can also experience abdominal pain related to conditions affecting the reproductive system, such as menstrual cramps, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, or cancer of the uterus or ovaries. These conditions can cause pain in the lower abdomen, as well as “referred pain” felt elsewhere in the abdominal area.

Abdominal Pain in Men

Men can also experience abdominal pain from conditions unique to their reproductive organs. Testicular problems such as torsion of testicular cancer can make pain felt in the abdominal area, and hernias can also pose a risk. An enlarged prostate can also contribute to abdominal pain when it causes urinary tract obstruction.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Dry Skin?

If your skin is unusually dry, there may be rough or itchy patches. You may also notice the emergence of fine lines, flaking, and peeling on the upper layer of the skin. There may be gray, ashy skin. Dryness that is caused by eczema may be marked by red, inflamed skin. When skin becomes extremely dry, it may begin to crack and bleed.

What Are The Risk Factors of Dry Skin?

Anyone may experience dry skin, but you are at a higher risk if you live in a dry climate, are above the age of 40, or come in contact with chemicals such as bleach or chlorine which dry out the skin.

How is Dry Skin Diagnosed?

A dermatologist can typically diagnose dry skin through a basic physical examination of the affected area. They may ask about your medical history, as well as diet and other lifestyle factors, to help determine the specific nature of the issue.

What Are Possible Treatments For Dry Skin?

The best treatment depends on the root cause of your dry skin. Topically applied over-the-counter moisturizers or anti-itch creams are often effective in alleviating the issue, but your dermatologist may also recommend lifestyle interventions such as dietary changes, drinking more water, or quitting smoking. In severe cases, medications may be used to reduce counter redness and inflammation.

What Are The Risks If Dry Skin Is Left Untreated?

While dry skin is often merely uncomfortable or unsightly, if it is not dealt with cracks may develop which cause bleeding and risk of infection. This is a particularly acute risk if you have diabetes or an autoimmune condition that causes your body to have a harder time fighting off infection.

Are There Other Related Conditions To Dry Skin?

Dry skin can be related to a variety of other conditions, including ichthyosis, eczema, psoriasis, or diabetes.

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