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Grover's Disease

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Transient acantholytic dermatosis, more commonly known as Grover’s disease, is a skin condition characterized by skin inflammation on the chest and back. The first indication of Grover’s disease is the development of red papules on the mid chest and central back, although these papules can appear elsewhere on the body. These papules can be itchy, but are generally harmless. Some can become crusted, blistered, or eroded, and may proceed to bleed. This is typically the only condition associated with Grover’s disease. However, the development of dermatitis can lead to more serious complications. The onset of Grover’s disease is often sudden, generally following heat stress or sweating. While the exact cause of Grover’s disease is not well known, it has been shown to be more common in the winter than the summer.

Grover’s disease can be easily treated, and should not be regarded as a serious condition. A small outbreak can be treated with the use of prescription topical cortisone. For more serious conditions, Tetracycline or Accutane pills should be taken for a one to three month period. To relieve itching (and prevent bleeding from aggravating papule) apply mild topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone. Calciportiol (a derivative of vitamin D) cream has been shown particularly effective for the treatment of Grover’s disease. Oral retinoids, such as isotretinoin and acitretin, can be useful in treating the symptoms. Certain patients have found oral antifungal medications or tetracycline helpful. Phototherapy can be effective, but should be avoided if possible because it can also aggravate symptoms.

As Grover’s disease is aggravated by heat, it is important to reduce heat exposure. Staying in a cool, non-moist space can help in the healing process. Wearing loose fitting clothing can help reduce aggravation from sweating. Use of moisturizers can help with the skin irritation and reduce bleeding. It is important to prevent further irritation from the skin, especially damage from the sun. If you notice the development of red papules on your chest or back, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. While Grover’s disease is not a serious condition, it can be an unpleasant disease.


Chris Gromisch is a Junior Chemistry major at Trinity College.

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EmpowHER Guest

Grover’s Disease
Some exciting news for anyone unfortunate enough to be suffering from Grover’s Disease.
I first noticed evidence of Grover’s disease in 2011 with spreading lesions on my torso both back and front. Visits to dermatologists in London and New York including biopsies confirmed that the lesions were caused by Grover’s Disease which I was told was incurable. However, I noticed that the symptoms were far less noticeable in the summer months and guessed that lack of Vitamin D may be part of the issue.
In 2012, I started to take 4 x Vitamin D3 (Potency 10ug = 10 micrograms equivalent to 400 IU = 400 International Units) per day. I immediately noticed an improvement to such an extent that after some months the symptoms and the scars had completely healed. I then experimented by coming off Vitamin D3 in the summer of 2012 but after some weeks the symptoms returned, so I took Vitamin D3 for six or seven months over the winter of 2012/2013 and once again the symptoms disappeared following which I stopped taking Vitamin D3 regularly.
As I write this in December 2014 the symptoms are completely under control and whenever the signs reoccur, a short spell on Vitamin D3 supresses them completely. So, my experience suggests that if not a cure, Vitamin D3 in the doses I use is a highly effective way of treating this unpleasant and irritating disease.
I hope it works for you.
Timothy – London, UK

December 18, 2014 - 4:41am

Sorry, but I think the author of these comments has some of his information wrong. Also I think it's a bit odd that a website clearly aimed at women would include information about Grover's disease as statistically it most often affects men of middle age with a history of overexposure to the sun. And as for the comment "not a serious condition" , I would challenge the author to better research his facts and more carefully temper his comments. I have been treating the condition myself for over a year now (it keeps coming back) am unable to remove my shirt in public, have lost sleep due to itching and am currently maintained on a fairly high dose of Accutane. How long does a condition need to last and how aggressive must the treatment be before the author considers it "serious"? Please better research your facts and make your subjective comments more compassionate. Thank you.

September 22, 2010 - 10:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Nashrunner)

As a 63-year-old female, I was recently diagnosed with Grover's Disease, which is most common in men. I also was prescribed Hydroxyzine and Triamcinolone cream, which does help to a degree. Apparently, GD can't be cured but symptoms can be controlled. I also have to be careful of how much I sweat, although I sweat very little even after a gym workout, because the GD acts up if I don't shower very soon afterwards. In addition, I also came down with a wicked case of hives on top of the GD...the pain/itch was so excruciating that it masked all the GD symptoms!...but the hives are being well-controlled with a gradually-tapering dose of prednisone along with Allegra and Zyrtec in place of the hydroxyzine. I can actually feel the Grover's symptoms now and keep that part under control. My skin is highly allergic to many triggers, and any lotions (moisturizing, with or without anti-itch properties) I can use in addition to the medications must be fragrance-free. The same for soap, deodorants and laundry detergents. I have to read labels on cleansing products, wash all new clothing immediately to remove sizing and excess dyes, and keeping allergies and Grover's under control is costly, but it's well worth it to be able to live as normal a life with GD as possible.

June 21, 2013 - 8:24am
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