Does eczema make you tired?

Quick Answer

Yes, eczema can make you feel tired or fatigued. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchy, red, and irritated skin. Dealing with these symptoms can disrupt sleep and lead to fatigue. In addition, the immune system response and inflammation associated with eczema increases cytokine production, which can induce fatigue. Managing eczema through medication, moisturizers, anti-itch creams, wet wraps, phototherapy, and avoiding triggers can help improve sleep and energy levels.

What is Eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common inflammatory skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and irritated skin. Eczema causes the skin to become very dry and scaly, leading to rashes on different parts of the body. Eczema is associated with immune system dysfunction and overactivity.

The most common symptoms of eczema are:

– Itchy, red, inflamed skin
– Rashes that cause skin dryness, cracking, oozing, and scaling
– Rashes in flexural areas like inside elbows, back of knees, wrists, and ankles
– Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
– Raw, sensitive skin from scratching
– Small, raised bumps that can leak fluid and crust over when scratched

Eczema symptoms can range from mild to severe. Flare ups can occur periodically, and different triggers like stress, sweat, soap, perfumes, and environmental allergens can exacerbate symptoms.

Does Eczema Affect Sleep?

Yes, eczema can significantly impact sleep. The intense itching and discomfort of eczema makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Scratching the rash also further disrupts sleep.

According to a systemic review published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, over 50% of eczema patients experience sleep disturbances. The more severe the eczema, the more sleep is impacted.

Here’s how eczema affects sleep:

– Itching and skin irritation makes it hard to fall asleep.
– Scratching the itchy rash wakes people up frequently throughout the night.
– Pain and stinging from eczema flares disrupts sleep.
– Cracked, weeping skin causes discomfort when laying down.
– Stress and frustration from dealing with eczema symptoms causes insomnia.
– Healing skin from scratching can disrupt sleep and cause nighttime itching.

Poor sleep decreases the skin’s ability to heal itself, so the eczema becomes worse, resulting in a vicious cycle of worsening eczema and sleep deprivation.

Does Disrupted Sleep From Eczema Cause Fatigue?

Yes, the sleep disturbances caused by eczema can lead to significant fatigue and tiredness. Lack of uninterrupted, high quality sleep impairs your daily functioning and causes daytime fatigue.

According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, around 50% of eczema patients feel their sleep disturbances affect their daytime energy levels and ability to function.

Here’s how poor sleep from eczema causes fatigue:

– Interrupted sleep fails to get you enough deep, restorative REM sleep needed to feel refreshed. This causes mental and physical exhaustion.
– Tossing and turning all night makes you feel unrested in the morning, even if you got enough total hours of sleep.
– Constant itching and scratching causes some adrenaline release that inhibits restful sleep.
– Fighting the urge to scratch all night requires cognitive effort which disrupts sleep.
– Waking up frequently due to discomfort is very disruptive to sleep cycles and architecture.
– Daytime drowsiness results from lack of sleep, making you feel sluggish, tired, and rundown.

Research shows that addressing eczema and the associated sleep problems improves fatigue and daytime sleepiness. So treating your eczema is key to boosting your energy levels.

Do Eczema Flare Ups Increase Fatigue?

Yes, eczema flares can worsen fatigue. When your eczema symptoms suddenly get worse, the intensified itching, pain, and discomfort make it even more difficult to fall and stay asleep.

According to a 2013 study, fatigue increases significantly during an eczema flare compared to when eczema is under control. The more severe the flare, the worse the fatigue.

Here’s why eczema flares increase fatigue:

– More redness, inflammation, and itching means more disrupted sleep.
– Body’s heightened inflammatory response triggers immune reactions that increase fatigue.
– The stinging and oozing of severe flares make it very difficult to sleep and get comfortable.
– Stress of dealing with the flare worsens sleep.
– Scratching from flare ups further impair sleep.
– Healing from flare related skin damage causes nighttime itching.
– Flare ups can trigger anxiety and depression, exacerbating fatigue.

Getting eczema flares under control is key to reducing fatigue levels. Seeing your doctor promptly at the onset of a flare can help minimize its severity, discomfort, and sleep disruptions.

Does Inflammation From Eczema Cause Fatigue?

Yes, there is a strong link between the inflammation caused by eczema and increased fatigue levels. Eczema is classified as an inflammatory skin disease. This inflammation triggers the immune system to release cytokines like interleukins and tumor necrosis factor. These inflammatory proteins induce symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, and sleepiness.

According to a 2012 study, eczema patients have higher levels of fatigue-inducing cytokines compared to people without eczema. The cytokine levels were highest during severe flares.

Here’s how eczema inflammation causes fatigue:

– Cytokines like IL-6, IL-1beta, and TNF-alpha increase feelings of tiredness and lack of energy.
– Inflammation causes the body’s immune cells to become overactive. This drains energy.
– Inflammation triggers mild fever-like symptoms and muscle weakness which increase fatigue.
– The skin barrier disruption of eczema allows more immune activating molecules to enter the body, inducing inflammation.
– Pro-inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins are produced, some of which promote fatigue and sleepiness.
– Inflammation increases metabolic rate and cellular stress, depleting energy.

Therefore, using topical steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce eczema-related fatigue by lowering inflammation.

Tips to Reduce Eczema Related Fatigue

Here are some tips to help improve eczema-related fatigue:

– **See your doctor** – Get appropriate eczema treatments to control inflammation and itch. Oral steroids may be prescribed for severe flares.

– **Use moisturizers** – Hydrate skin by applying thick, creamy moisturizers and emollients twice a day. This helps combat inflammation.

– **Take antihistamines** – Oral antihistamines like cetirizine can help control itching and let you sleep better.

– **Try topical creams** – Apply calamine lotion, menthol, or pramoxine-based creams to itchy skin for relief.

– **Take shorter, cooler showers** – Minimize moisture loss and skin irritation.

– **Use wet wraps** – Wrap damp bandages over medicated creams to hydrate and soothe skin.

– **Phototherapy** – Narrow band UVB phototherapy helps improve eczema and fatigue.

– **Get more sleep** – Take naps and go to bed earlier to prevent a sleep deficit.

– **Exercise** – Moderate activity increases energy and sleep quality.

– **Reduce stress** – Try relaxing techniques like yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi.

– **Avoid triggers** – Prevent flares by steering clear of eczema triggers like harsh soaps, dust, and temperature changes.

– **Eat anti-inflammatory foods** – Consume foods like fatty fish, colorful fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds.

Making lifestyle changes in addition to medical eczema treatments can help boost energy levels. But the root cause of fatigue is the eczema itself, so focusing on controlling symptoms is the ultimate solution.

The Link Between Eczema, Sleep, Inflammation and Fatigue

Eczema, disrupted sleep, inflammation and fatigue are closely interconnected:

– Eczema causes itchy, inflamed skin that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep at night.
– Poor, fragmented sleep from eczema results in daytime fatigue and low energy.
– Eczema increases inflammation by triggering the immune system and ramping up cytokine production.
– Inflammatory cytokines induce feelings of tiredness, sleepiness, muscle weakness, and fatigue.
– Fatigue and daytime sleepiness then further impact sleep at night, worsening the cycle.
– Lack of sleep also impairs the skin’s ability to heal from eczema, fueling more inflammation.

So eczema is directly linked to fatigue through its impacts on sleep and inflammation. The relationship creates a self-perpetuating cycle – eczema causes fatigue, and fatigue then worsens eczema.

The key is targeting the root issue: the eczema itself. By seeing a dermatologist and controlling eczema through medical treatments, moisturizing, avoiding triggers, and reducing inflammation, both sleep and energy levels can improve.

The Takeaway

In summary, eczema can certainly cause increased feelings of daytime tiredness and fatigue due to:

– Disrupted nighttime sleep from itching and discomfort
– Loss of restorative deep sleep
– Inflammation and cytokine activity tiring out the body
– Higher metabolic demand of activated immune responses
– Stress, anxiety and depression associated with eczema
– Healing skin causing nighttime itching

Controlling eczema through proper medication and reducing inflammation is crucial for improving the quality and quantity of sleep to boost energy levels. Other lifestyle measures like exercise, stress relief techniques, hydrating the skin, wet wraps, phototherapy and avoiding triggers can also help minimize fatigue. So while eczema may not be the only cause of fatigue, it is a significant contributing factor for many patients. Getting the correct diagnosis and treatment is key to overcoming the tiredness and exhaustion eczema can inflict.

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