Pityriasis Rosea Misdiagnosed twice by Doctors

“I got married 7 weeks ago and on my wedding day had what I now know is the herald patch on my thigh. (luckily not visible in my wedding dress!)

I went off on honeymoon to sunny Thailand and whilst out there I self diagnosed ringworm. I bought fungiderm cream over the counter which has a strong steroid and anti fungal. The steroid and the sun cleared up my herald patch until it was barely visible. Obviously as it had responded to a fungal cream I thought it must have been fungal!

Towards the end of my 2 week break a couple of spots started appearing under my arms and on my butt (sorry for the detail!) Again I thought this must be fungal as it was in sweaty places and I was in a hot environment. Looking back it was in places that weren’t seeing the sunlight which I think was delaying the outbreak on the rest of my body.

So when I get home to the UK, I feel awful, headache and fever. I go to doctor about this And the “ringworm”. At this point I would have hoped the doctor could have seen my herald patch and linked it with fever and diagnosed me with PR. But no! like most other patients I was told it was definitely ringworm, given cream and given antibiotics for my “sinus infection”.

over the next couple of weeks the rash really came out over my entire torso, and thighs and upper arms. I returned to the doctor and saw a different GP to the first who asked me to show him the largest area. I kept trying to say it was everywhere but he didn’t even ask me to undress. If he had he might have noticed the Christmas tree pattern of the rash, or maybe not. For such a common complaint and with such obvious symptoms it’s surprising GPs don’t recognise it. I really wish he had! Because he was still sure it was ringworm and when I asked if he was sure it couldn’t be anything else he said no definitely fungal 🙁 so I was given horribly strong anti fungal tablets. I had an upset stomach and felt awful.

I took these horrible tablets for 9 days and the rash didn’t clear up at all (obviously!). Then it suddenly spread massively (2 weeks after first massive outbreak). It was now on my collar bone, shoulders and neck.

I didn’t understand how fungal infection could spread so fast. I was stressing out changing bedding and towels everyday whilst working long hours in a stressful job. Commuting in sweaty London during Olympics and constantly fearing I could pass this horrible fungus to my brand new husband and everyone I’d ever come in contact with! If it was spreading this fast on me how could I not be infecting my other half sleeping in the same bed?!

Im not sure if it was the stress, the heat or the strong antifungal tablets that brought on this Second wave of rash but it forced me back to the doctor.

So the 3rd GP I saw this week (7 weeks into the rash!) finally diagnosed me with PR. she said it straight after seeing me and I felt instantly relieved I wasn’t being eaten alive by fungus! I then went to the pharmacy to pick up the steroid cream I had been prescribed. As it had taken so long to be diagnosed I still wasn’t certain so showed it to the pharmacist who diagnosed PR and had said she’d had it herself.

Phew! Diagnoses confirmed and I can go about dealing with it.

I have a couple of questions. When the first round of rash came out I had a fever but felt better after wards (even though at this point the rash looked horrendous). Then with this second onslaught I’ve felt terrible fatigue and fever again. I’ve had to take a couple of days off work and obviously now I know what the rash is I can tell my employers. But if they are to google it pr is described as mild and mentions initial low grade fever but potentially not 7 weeks in? Not sure if it’s the stress of it all and the actual appearance and itchy sleepless nights that are making me feel so low or If it’s this virus causing the fatigue???

I’m getting fed up with the whole thing and looking forward to kicking it once and for all.”

-Pityriasis Rosea Honeymooner – United Kingdom

4 Responses to “Pityriasis Rosea Misdiagnosed twice by Doctors”

  1. Anon says:

    Interesting your PR showed up on your honeymoon…mine did too. Before you went on your honeymoon did you get the Hepatitis A and B vaccine (Twinrix)? I imagine you would have as it is recommended for your travel to Thailand. I know this was in 2012, so not sure if you remember or even follow this anymore, but I would be curious to hear your response. Thank you!!

  2. Anon says:

    Interesting your PR showed up on your honeymoon…mine did too. Before you went on your honeymoon did you get the Hepatitis A and B vaccine (Twinrix)? I know this was in 2012, so not sure if you remember or even follow this anymore, but I would be curious to hear your response. Thank you!!

  3. Lianne says:

    i currently have pr and im finding that i am so tired im only two weeks into it..hope it hurry ups and clears ..cant take much more if it. I diagnosed it myself and went to doctors and had it confirmed…got to love google!

  4. PityriasisRoseaPictures.net says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s unfortunate that you were misdiagnosed twice, but not at all uncommon. A good dermatologist should have caught it right away. Unfortunately, a GP might not have as well a trained eye to spot it early.
    Yes, fatigue and fever are common symptoms of Pityriasis Rosea, but not everyone experiences the exact same things. This rash tends to vary greatly once it surfaces. Some have a really bad outbreak (rash) that only lasts a few weeks while others can have a mild outbreak that lasts months and varying degrees in between. The internal symptoms vary as well.
    Stress plays a huge factor in PR as it’s directly linked to the health of your immune system. The more weak your immune system, the more sever the outbreak and symptoms tend to be. This is why it’s essential to take a comprehensive approach to fighting Pityriasis Rosea once it’s been diagnosed. Clean up your diet (if it’s poor), start taking the essential vitamins and anti inflammatory supplements I recommend on the PR Treatments page, and above all…get good rest and do what you can to mitigate stress. All these factors will boost your immune system and help fight the virus. Hang in there…it WILL pass.