For many children, a skin disorder can result in complications of daily living, impairing not only the outward physical appearance but also the internal function of organs. When systemic, the skin disorder, in most cases, is not contagious but the complications can lead to overwhelming health issues including complications associated with low self esteem and impaired bodily self image.
One such skin disorder in children, known as mastocytosis is a complication involving reproduction of mast cells within the body. While mast cells normally provide a healthy immune response in the body, when the development of mastocytosis occurs, the proliferation of mast cells can lead to a skin disorder known as systemic mastocytosis.
Symptoms of systemic mastocytosis can be difficult to diagnose as the complications are not outwardly visible. In fact, with systemic mastocytosis, this tissue complication involves organs such as the spleen, bone marrow, intestines and even the liver. When these complications are persistent, systemic mastocytosis leads to extreme muscle pain, abdominal pain with diarrhea, and nausea and vomiting.
Believed to be the result of a genetic mutation, diagnosing systemic mastocytosis is rather complex in that a bone marrow test will be required. Upon review of the bone marrow test results, the findings of abnormally high levels of mast cells will indicate systemic mastocytosis is the confirmed diagnosis.
For children who suffer from systemic mastocytosis, the goal is to control the complications and pain associated with this skin disorder. Most commonly, antihistamines are used to control pain and inflammation while also controlling blood pressure which is a secondary complication of systemic mastocytosis. Systemic corticosteroids are commonly used, along with antihistamine products, to promote the absorption of nutrients which can be impaired from systemic mastocytosis.
As a rare complication, children who suffer from systemic mastocytosis may also develop complications associated with skin cancer, organ cancer and even blood disorders. For this reason, following the strict guidelines of the dermatologist is important to ensuring every possible protection against long term health complications is achieved. Consultation with an internal medicine specialist may also be necessary.
In addition to management of physical and systemic symptoms, children who suffer from systemic mastocytosis may also require the use of child psychotherapy to alleviate secondary complications such as low-self esteem and complicated body image. Because systemic mastocytosis can impair many activities of the child sufferer, some children may find great difficulty in hiding the condition from peers and, upon entering into school, may experience ridicule. For this reason, parents should utilize mental health services as an additional component of the child’s treatment plan.
As with any dermatological condition, the key to your child’s successful recovery and management of symptoms will lie in the early detection, diagnosis and intervention. When suffering from systemic mastocytosis, be sure to address not only the resolution of the tissue and organ complications but also the development of any potential complications such as cancer, blood disorders, and mental health disorders.