Grover’s Disease, also known as transient acantholytic dermatosis, is a persistent and uncomfortable condition but it is not serious, and flare ups generally will subside on their own after some time. Unfortunately for those who suffer from this condition, there is not much known about it so treatment options remain limited.
The condition is one where clusters of small, red, itchy bumps appear suddenly and without warning. Most often the bumps appear on the chest and back, but they may also be seen elsewhere. The bumps are very small in size and can be blistered or crusted. They can be extremely itchy and this is the main symptom that requires treatment. In some cases, the condition can come and go repeatedly for a period of years.
What causes Grover’s Disease?
The cause of this condition is currently unknown.
It usually occurs in white men over 40 years of age.
Sometimes the rash is associated with sun exposure, heat and sweating. Because of the connection to heat and sweating, a defect of the sweat glands is sometimes thought to be the cause but that has never successfully been proven.
An adverse reaction to certain medications has also been targeted as a possible cause.
Several studies have been done to try and determine an exact cause but thus far they have had limited results. Some of the possible causes identified were viral infection, certain forms of cancer and other dermatological conditions including atopic and contact dermatitis.
Sometimes Grover’s Disease occurs in hospital patients who have been lying on their back for a prolonged period of time. In these cases, symptoms are usually relieved once the patient becomes mobile again.
The rash can last for weeks to months. It usually disappears within one to two years.
Is there treatment available?
Corticosteroid creams and ointments applied to the skin often control the rash and itching, but keep in mind the disease can only be controlled, not cured similar to many other skin conditions.
Avoidance of heat and heavy exercise can help control the rash. Applying baby powder to the areas several times a day will help prevent recurrences. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier will often help prevent flare-ups of Grover’s disease.
Because so little is known about the cause of this condition, little progress has been made toward identifying a specific treatment. Some individuals have found relief through phototherapy, where the skin is exposed to controlled doses of UV light. Since UV light can be dangerous to the skin, this type of therapy should only be administered by a licensed dermatologist.
Oral antifungal medications or tetracycline have proven helpful in some cases, as has the use of oral retinoids, though these medications should be used with caution as they can have serious side effects. As the rash can also sometimes be associated with dry skin, treating the skin to restore proper moisture levels can also be helpful.