Eczema on the stomach can cause a great deal of discomfort, such as itching and burning. Learn what triggers this condition and how you can manage it.

right mark

Copied to Clipboard

wrong mark

Eczema On The Stomach: Symptoms, Triggers, And Treatment

11/04/20228 min read

Dry, itchy eczema patches can show up anywhere on your body, but one of the most common places is the stomach. If you're dealing with eczema on your stomach, you know how uncomfortable it can be.

To help you find relief, we've put together this guide on eczema on the stomach. First, we’ll cover what eczema is. Then, we’ll look at the common triggers of this condition and how to treat it so your belly can feel comfortable again.

Table Of Contents

What Is Eczema?

Child scratching eczema on arm

Eczema is a general term for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. For example, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis are all types of eczema.

Millions of people of all skin colors, races, and genders deal with eczema. According to the National Eczema Association, this condition affects about 10.1% of Americans.

It can occur at any age but is most common in infants and young children. In fact, about 80% of people who have eczema notice symptoms before they turn six.

Body Parts Commonly Affected By Eczema

Baby with eczema on the ankle and foot

Eczema can show up anywhere on the body, but certain areas are more prone to developing this condition. These areas include:

  • Face
  • Back of the knees
  • Inside of the elbows
  • Hands and feet
  • Stomach

Keep in mind that you may notice eczema on just one part of your body at first, but it can spread to other places over time.

Symptoms Of Eczema On The Stomach

No matter where eczema appears on your body, it typically causes similar symptoms. You may notice:

Your symptoms may come and go as you deal with eczema flare-ups. Just when you think your eczema is gone, it may return with a vengeance.

Eczema Triggers

While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, certain things can trigger flare-ups. Here are a few of the most common.

Stress

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, there's a strong connection between stress and eczema flare-ups. If you're stressed, your body's natural defense mechanisms may not work well, leading to skin inflammation.

Inflammation is your body's way of responding to an irritant or injury. While it's a natural and important response, chronic inflammation can lead to several problems, including eczema.

Diet

There's no definitive proof that diet plays a role in eczema, but some people find that certain foods trigger their flare-ups. Common culprits include:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

While tracking down a dietary trigger can be challenging, eliminating potential foods one at a time may help you pinpoint which ones are causing your eczema to flare.

It can also be helpful to seek allergen testing from a doctor or allergist. Allergies and eczema go hand-in-hand for some patients.

Certain Clothing Material

If you have eczema on your stomach, your clothing may be to blame. Certain fabrics, like wool and polyester, can irritate your skin and worsen eczema.

To help keep your eczema under control, opt for clothes made from soft, organic fabrics, like cotton. And since tight-fitting clothes can rub and irritate your skin, stick with looser, more comfortable styles.

The Weather

Woman trying to stay warm in the snow

Your skin is your largest organ, and it's also one of the most sensitive. As a result, it can be easily affected by changes in the weather, which is one reason eczema tends to flare up in winter.

Cold, dry air sucks the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dry, cracked, and irritated. If you have eczema on your stomach, this can make your symptoms worse.

But it's not just the frigid winter air that can cause problems. Hot, humid weather can also trigger eczema flare-ups for some people.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones regulate many body processes, including the skin's oil production. When hormone levels fluctuate, it can lead to changes in your skin, which may trigger eczema symptoms.

This is one reason pregnant women and teenage girls are more prone to eczema flare-ups. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and puberty can disrupt their skin's natural balance, leading to eczema.

Treating Eczema On The Stomach

Woman with eczema on her stomach

While there's no cure for eczema, some treatments can help relieve your symptoms and keep the condition under control. Your treatment plan will likely depend on the severity of your eczema and how well you respond to various skincare regimens.

To give you a better idea of what to expect, here are some of the most common courses of treatment for eczema on the stomach.

Topical Steroids

Topical steroids are often considered the first line of defense against eczema. These medicated creams and ointments can help relieve itching, redness, and swelling.

This type of medication comes in various potencies, from mild to strong. Your doctor will likely prescribe a moderate- or low-potency steroid at first. But if you don't see improvement after two to three weeks, they may switch you to a medication with higher potency.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are drugs that block the action of histamines, chemicals that your body releases in response to an injury or allergy. Histamines can cause many symptoms, including itchiness, redness, and swelling.

While antihistamines don't directly treat eczema, they can help relieve the itchiness that often comes with the condition. This can help prevent you from scratching and further irritating your skin.

Systemic Therapy

Woman treating her eczema with an injection

If topical treatments aren't enough to control your eczema, your doctor may recommend systemic therapy. These oral or injectable medications work throughout the body to help control eczema from the inside out.

Immunosuppressants, biologics, and oral corticosteroids are all examples of systemic therapy. Studies have shown promising results for these treatments, but some may risk serious side effects.

Before starting systemic therapy, discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.

Phototherapy

UV light can help improve the appearance of your skin. It can also help stimulate the production of vitamin D, which is important for healthy skin.

Unfortunately, direct sunlight can also worsen eczema. To help patients reap the benefits of UV light without the risks, doctors may recommend phototherapy. This treatment involves exposure to controlled amounts of UV light under the supervision of a medical professional.

Lifestyle Changes

If you prefer non-pharmaceutical treatments for eczema, here are a few lifestyle changes to consider.

Avoid Your Triggers

Once you know what sets off your eczema symptoms, you can take steps to avoid those triggers as much as possible.

Use Gentle Skincare Products

Not all skincare products are the same. With eczema-prone skin, you need to be extra careful about the products you use. Look for body washes and shampoos that won't irritate your skin.

Our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash gently cleans your skin while locking in moisture.

Moisturize Regularly

Woman holding Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream

Dry skin can worsen eczema symptoms, so it’s important to keep your skin hydrated. Moisturize at least once a day and after bathing. Try our Eczema Daily Calming Cream to experience deep hydration without the greasy feeling.

Practice Good Shower Hygiene

Scalding hot showers might feel good, but they can actually make eczema worse by stripping the natural oils from your skin. So keep your showers short and lukewarm instead. That way, you get clean without drying out your skin.

Reduce Your Stress

As mentioned above, stress can trigger eczema flare-ups. If you’re struggling with stress, you can do several things to manage it. Consider yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy. Or simply take time out each day to relax and unwind.

If you're chronically stressed, it might be time to bring in reinforcements. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress, such as therapy or medication.

Don't Pick At Your Skin

If you have eczema on your stomach, one of the worst things you can do is pick at the patches of dry, irritated skin. It might be tempting, but all you'll end up doing is making your symptoms worse. You can even trigger an infection by breaking the skin.

If you can't stop picking, talk to a therapist or your doctor about ways to control the urge.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. If you aren't getting your daily recommended water intake, now's the time to start.

Reclaim Your Skin

Man touching eczema his stomach

Eczema on the stomach (or anywhere else) can be frustrating, but you don’t have to suffer in silence. With the right treatment plan and lifestyle changes, you can get your eczema symptoms under control.

With Bodewell, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for results. Our products are designed to soothe and protect your eczema-prone skin while being gentle enough for everyday use.

You’ll be back to better skin days in no time!

References

American Academy of Dermatology Association
American College of Allergies, Asthma, & Immunology
National Eczema Association

Shop Bodewell