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Nutrition Considerations for PLEVA Patients

By Bonnie Singleton ; Updated July 18, 2017

PLEVA is a rare skin disorder that can be unsightly and embarrassing, as well as causing burning and itchiness. Although there’s no known cure, a diet that supports your immune system may be able to reduce symptoms and help prevent potentially serious complications.

Identification

Pityriasis lichenoides is the basic form of the skin disease, with pityriasis lichenoides chronica, the mild chronic form, and pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta, or PLEVA, the acute form. If you have PLEVA, you may experience an abrupt outbreak of small round bumps that develop into blisters and crusty reddish-brown spots. The cause of this disease is unknown, although the major theories all relate back to an immune system disorder. In rare instances, PLEVA can develop further into Mucha-Habermann disease, with larger, infected lesions accompanied by fever and a host of other body-wide symptoms.

Treatments

Various therapies are used to treat PLEVA, including sun exposure, topical steroids and immunomodulators, and oral antibiotics. The oral antibiotics most frequently used include tetracycline and erythromycin. Even so, PLEVA may persist for several years before it clears up.

Nutritional Therapies

Although there is no known cure for PLEVA and to date there have been no studies linking a special diet with either its cause or treatment, it is considered an autoimmune disease. For other such immune-based disease, the Mayo Clinic Online recommends eating healthy, well-balanced meals, being sure to include fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. You should also limit foods with saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. Family physician and bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman suggests getting tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance, eliminating inflammatory foods like dairy, eggs, corn or animal fats and supplementing with vitamin C, vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics.

Tetracycline Use and Nutrition

Long-term use of tetracycline, one of the most common treatments for PLEVA, can cause gastrointestinal problems and interfere with the absorption of several nutrients. These include folic acid, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. The Care Group Healthcare System of New England notes that this doesn’t necessarily mean you should take a multivitamin, since some of the nutrients they contain may have adverse reactions with tetracycline. If you have PLEVA and are on tetracycline, you should check with your health care provider about any supplements you may need.

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