Does HRT Cause or Cure Rosacea?

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Rosacea Rosacea is a common condition which causes excessive reddening of the skin on your face.

It occurs when the blood vessels in the face dilate and then become congested, causing persistent redness and flushing.

The condition can be quite embarrassing, and it can also be painful because it is frequently combined with episodes of severe inflammation and acne-like breakouts.

Rosacea primarily affects the cheeks and the nose, and if the breakouts are left untreated then they can be disfiguring. In some severe cases people also suffer breakouts on the chin and forehead and other parts of the face. In very rare cases, patches can appear on other parts of the body.

Around one percent of the population as a whole suffers from some degree of rosacea, and that figure increases to one in ten in middle-aged women. It affects adults and children, but it is most common in those who are middle aged. It is important to note that rosacea is not life-threatening and it is not usually a sign of any other underlying conditions.

It can be distressing, however, and it can have a serious adverse effect on the quality of life of the sufferer. A lot of people do not understand how rosacea works, or what causes it, and this means that people are often ostracised because of it. Many people do not realise that rosacea is not contagious, so you cannot catch it by spending time around someone who has it.

How Rosacea Develops

rosaceaSome people develop rosacea at an early age, with the condition just “appearing”. However, it is more common for it to be progressive – people in their 20s who are prone to rosacea may experience intense and prolonged bouts of flushing when their blush response is triggered.

The flushing may feel uncomfortable – almost like a burning sensation, and it may last for several hours however eventually the face will return to normal. As the person gets older, the flushing may last longer and longer, until eventually they look permanently flushed.

The next stage of the progression is that they will develop thread veins – thin red lines where the blood vessels have become incredibly pronounced. Later, they may notices swelling and bumps under the skin. If the nose becomes red and swollen, this is known as rhinopyhma. This is far more common in male sufferers than it is in female sufferers, and it is often the only symptoms of rosacea in men.

Hormones and Rosacea

rosacea Rosacea is more common in women than it is in men, and this does suggest that there is a hormonal element to the condition. Men can get rosacea, however, so it is likely that there are other causes too.

A lot of women find that their problems with rosacea get worse, or are triggered for the first time, by pregnancy or the onset of the menopause. Some women find that rosacea can be triggered by going on the contraceptive pill, too.

The link between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and rosacea is not fully understood. Some women do find that when they start HRT they get rosacea-like symptoms, but other find that HRT actually alleviates the symptoms of rosacea. This is why doctors are unable to give clear answers to questions like “Does HRT cause rosacea” – the truth is that it really does depend.

It is a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms and triggers, and pay attention to things like contraceptive pills, your menstrual cycle, or HRT, to see if you can identify your own triggers. You may think that HRT caused your condition, for example, but it could simply be a part of the menopause, and something that will pass when your hormonal balance returns to normal.

Managing Rosacea

alcoholThere are a lot of different rosacea triggers in men and women. Some find that they experience flare ups when they are stressed.

For others, it is exercise that is the trigger, or going from a hot area to a cold area (or vice-versa).

Another common trigger is alcohol – although it is important to note that some people who suffer from rosacea can tolerate alcohol well, and rosacea flare-ups are not necessarily a sign of alcoholism. Spicy food can also be a trigger.

Most doctors advise rosacea sufferers to keep a diary of their flare-ups. This diary should contain as much information as possible including eating habits, drinks consumed, weather, exercise, stress levels and anything else that was of note about the day.

Sometimes the trigger is exposure to an allergen, and sometimes it is stress, your menstrual cycle, or even potentially the air conditioning in your office. With some systematic logging it is possible to figure out your personal triggers and take control of the condition.

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