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#196528 - 02/02/11 07:39 AM side effect of long term heating pad use
JenInCincy Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 05/19/08
Posts: 13279
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
FYI to all who are addicted to their heating pad as I am, this was mentioned to me today at a doctor's appointment. For those who did not already know, apparently chronic use of a heating pad can result in permanent discoloration of the skin in that area. It doesn't cause any other problems, it's just cosmetic, but wanted to share this in case others like myself weren't aware of this possibility. The condition is called "erythema ab igne", literally "redness from fire" as it was previously seen in people who would stay very close to a fire to stay warm. More info here for the curious:

http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/content/80/11/1500.full.pdf+html

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/474872

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071178/

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1087535-overview
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Jen, 42, happy partner of James and Moma to Evan, 14, & Lucy, 12.5 (Crohn's dx @ age 3; on Remicade since April 2010.) I take piroxicam, Flexeril, & Nucynta ER nightly. 3 anti-TNFs didn't pan out for me.

"Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance." -- Hippocrates

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#196568 - 02/02/11 08:30 AM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: JenInCincy]
terryo Offline
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Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 116
Loc: florida
I read a study the other day about "men" who used laptops a lot , in their laps, to suffer reduced sperm counts and impotence from the heat..not sure if it's applicable to women as well , but if you get baked in the "front", wouldn't it stand to reason that it could also "cook you" from the bottom? Not that it personally matters to me anymore...
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51 year old,currently undiagnosed ,neck fusion,CHRONIC low back pain, heels , shoulder, eye,knees, hips,migraines from Uveitis,fatigued constantly, yet horrible insomnia,total body aches.Had to quit my job 2 1/2 years ago due to pain.Recently denied SSI benefits for the 3rd time, yet,I have been in pain for 26 years, with countless Drs, and no DX, until my own research into my symptoms led me here ! Thanks for the site, Spenser !

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#196569 - 02/02/11 08:39 AM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: terryo]
Ken1 Offline
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Registered: 01/13/11
Posts: 122
Loc: ny
wow did not know that, I use my heat pad basically whenever I'm sitting at home; if I could wear it all day where ever I am, I would. This is good to know
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Im 20 years old, I go to culinary school. DX with AS in July 2010. Currently on Tramadol and Flexoril. Starting Humira, or at least trying to get my insurance to improve it first.

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#196571 - 02/02/11 09:03 AM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: Ken1]
JenInCincy Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 05/19/08
Posts: 13279
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
I'm with you Ken. I have one for my chair at work and a really good one on the sofa at home. I have tried to figure out ways to strap them to me so I can be mobile with them, have tried strap-on heatable gel and ceramic packs, you name it! I have searched to the end of the internet for such a product too smile To be honest if it causes some discoloration of my skin I probably wouldn't care one bit, for the relief it provides.

Terry, since women's reproductive organs - ovaries in particular - are more deeply buried and protected, I don't think the laptops are the issue. I doubt the heat from a heating pad could penetrate far enough to damage eggs in the ovaries but who knows. Luckily I am past the point in my life where I am worried if something might impede my fertility!
_________________________
Jen, 42, happy partner of James and Moma to Evan, 14, & Lucy, 12.5 (Crohn's dx @ age 3; on Remicade since April 2010.) I take piroxicam, Flexeril, & Nucynta ER nightly. 3 anti-TNFs didn't pan out for me.

"Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance." -- Hippocrates

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#196591 - 02/02/11 02:08 PM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: JenInCincy]
cemc Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 2924
Loc: UK
not just discolouration but increased incidence of various sorts of skin cancers. Guess thats only when it gets past the obvious skin discolouration though. I don't think this research is going to change my use of heat pads just yet.
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Cauda equina type neurogenic bladder problems. Coeliac disease. Sicca syndrome. Ataxic gait and use crutches. Non-specific gut problems. Current treatment: Low dose naltrexone, low starch diet (Guts shredded by NSAIDs. Previously diclofenac worked well, not eligible for anti-tnfs, hypersensitivity to SSZ). Also short bursts of pred for bad flares

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#196593 - 02/02/11 02:17 PM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: cemc]
Beth Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 708
Loc: Northern CA
Hmmm....I love those Heatwraps - I use my heating pad at home but the wraps at work. I wonder if they would have the same effect long term?
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Beth

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#196595 - 02/02/11 02:26 PM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: Beth]
avonldy Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 2466
Loc: N. Sacramento Valley
I am always using my heating pad or heatwrap on my back and a hot rice bag around my neck. I don't care about discoloration. Maybe if I was younger... I don't worry about any eggs that might be left over, either.

I think the reason that men have a problem with heat is that the "family jewels" are supposed to be kept cooler, thats why they are where they are. Anything that raises the temp in that area can affect fertility.
_________________________
Donna
Suffering since a teenager.Dx with AS Dec 2009. Dx with ulcerative colitis 1998, both knees replaced 2006. GP said I had "some kind of inflammatory arthritis" 25 years ago. It has taken 50 years to get a Dx.

Mobic, Nexium, Naproxin, Lipitor, 6-MP, Nexium, Miacalcam, MSContin and 2 Norco for break through pain

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#196608 - 02/02/11 05:31 PM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: avonldy]
JenInCincy Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 05/19/08
Posts: 13279
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
The cancers have to do with people exposed to actual fires ... and probably over a lot of years. I don't think those concerns translate convincingly to chronic heating pad use.

Beth, if the heatwraps are hot enough then yeah, they would have the same effect. The source of the heat doesn't seem to matter.
_________________________
Jen, 42, happy partner of James and Moma to Evan, 14, & Lucy, 12.5 (Crohn's dx @ age 3; on Remicade since April 2010.) I take piroxicam, Flexeril, & Nucynta ER nightly. 3 anti-TNFs didn't pan out for me.

"Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance." -- Hippocrates

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#196620 - 02/02/11 08:29 PM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: JenInCincy]
asgirl Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 397
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: JenInCincy
I have tried to figure out ways to strap them to me so I can be mobile with them, have tried strap-on heatable gel and ceramic packs, you name it! I have searched to the end of the internet for such a product too smile



Jenn, have you tried the therma care packs?, I put them straight on my skin, and cover them with a tight cami to help pull them closer in, and keep the warmth from escaping. I am like you if I could permanatly adhere my heating pad to my body I would.
_________________________
AS Dx'd Feb'11 symptoms for 2-3 years
GERD & IBSD 10+ years
Asthma 25+ years
Spondylolisthesis 2+ years
Hypersomnia

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#196627 - 02/02/11 10:36 PM Re: side effect of long term heating pad use [Re: asgirl]
LisaNR Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 932
Loc: Houston, TX
I went to see the derm after getting mottled skin on my back. He said the same thing. He stated if I quit now it may go back to normal. I decided the relief I get far outweighs the look of the red skin. It is mostly on my lower back and no one but the hubby sees it. If he doesn't like it, too bad, so sad! I too am addicted to my heating pad.

He said there was NOT an increased risk of skin cancer as mentioned in a real old thread here a long time ago. Which was why I went in the first place!!!
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LisaNR

Undiff. Spondylitis, Possible Fibromyalgia, IBS, GERD,
Chronic Gastritis, Auto Immune Hashimoto's (Thyroid)
Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Insulin Resistance
High Cholesterol, Gallbladder removed, Hidradinitis Suportiva
B-12 Deficient, Migraines, TMJ, Rhinitis, Vitamin D Deficient
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Spondy is stressful!)

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