For years—years years years—I’ve had problems with a rash of acne underneath my breasts, and sometimes around the groin area. Oh yeah, VERY attractive! I’ve discussed it with several different doctors, and each time the result is “It’s caused by being overweight. You sweat more than normal people. If you weighed less, you would sweat less*, and this problem will go away.” You know, the typical “lose 50 pounds and call me in the morning” advice. And I would sometimes be given a topical acne treatment, either prescription or OTC, and it never did any good, because you know my problem was caused by THE FAT.
(*And of course this is hilarious, because now that I actually DO weigh less than before, I sweat MUCH more, because I exercise much more. You can’t freakin’ win with doctors.)
So a few months ago, I stumbled across something on the Internet about elastic dermatitis. Allergic reaction or sensitivity to the latex in elastic. Which is the reason why some doctors can’t wear latex gloves. And in a related concept, when elastic is bleached, it is even more irritating. Hmm. And here I have this RASH in the areas of my body—and ONLY in those areas of my body—where I consistently wear ELASTIC. Elastic which has frequently been bleached (thank you, menstruation!)
After reading about this, it suddenly dawned on me, “This isn’t acne.” The articles I read suggested treatment with a simple OTC hydrocortisone cream. So I went to my local drugstore, bought a store-brand cream for $5, and within TWO DAYS I could see improvement. Within six days the rash was GONE.
Gone. Just like that. Now seriously, how fucking hard is it for a doctor to misdiagnose this??? It’s nothing exotic, it’s not some kind of obscure tropical disease, it’s a very very very common condition! BABIES get it! Medical professionals get it! And those very same medical professionals could not recognize it in ME, because they were blinded by my fat dripping into their eyes. And they wonder why people consult Dr. Internet instead of wasting their money on a “real” doctor…
This isn’t one of those life-or-death stories, but it’s a damned good example of the blindness. And it was a big deal to me! those rashes were very disfiguring, and my skin has been permanently affected by them. Fortunately not in areas generally available for public viewing, but it’s not a healthy thing mentally to know you’ve got a hideous secret going on in your underwear, either.