What Are the Symptoms of Grover's Disease?

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  • Written By: Stephany Seipel
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2016
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Grover's disease or transient acantholytic dermatosis is a skin disorder that most often affects Caucasian men over 40 years of age. Patients develop itchy red spots on their chests and backs. In 2011 dermatologists did not know what caused Grover's disease, but they suspected that it could be related to blocked sweat ducts. They treat the disorder with antibiotics, antifungal medication and topical steroids.

This condition rarely affects women, young individuals or children. It occurs more often during hot weather, and is more likely to affect men who are unhealthy. Some men develop the disorder while hospitalized.

Bumpy red spots appear on the upper part of the chest as well as on the back. The spots are intensely itchy and might bleed a little, blister or crust over. Some patients with the disease also develop dermatitis. Dry, itchy patches of skin develop in the affected area. The dermatitis rash sometimes spreads to other parts of the body.

Outbreaks usually last between six and 12 months, but some individuals relapse regularly over a period of years, often in cyclical seasonal patterns. Other people suffer from occasional flareups if they are exposed to factors that trigger the condition. Many patients who develop Grover's disease in the hospital recover as soon as they regain their mobility.


Men who spend a great deal of time outdoors in the heat or who sweat a lot might exacerbate the symptoms of Grover's disease. Other triggers include excessive exposure to bright sunlight and sun-damaged skin. Dry skin might also be a factor.

A dermatologist can often diagnose Grover's disease by looking at the rash, but some clinicians might want to perform a skin biopsy to be sure about the diagnosis. The disorder has a distinct appearance beneath the microscope. The skin cells are sometimes unusually rounded and are usually separated.

There was no cure for Grover's disease as of 2011. Dermatologists treat the rash with cortisone pills, topical creams or injections, but this only provides temporary relief. The rash usually returns as soon as the patient stops using the medication.

Doctors might also recommend antifungal medications or antibiotics such as tetracycline. Diphemanil methlysulfate powder reduces the itching in some patients. Calcipotriol cream, anti-itch lotions and moisturizing creams might also help. Some physicians might also recommend oral retinoids or phototherapy depending on the severity of the condition. Men with this disease can reduce outbreaks by staying out of the heat.


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