What Is Grover's Disease?

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on December 20, 2022
2 min read

Grover’s disease is a rare, temporary skin condition. It causes sudden red, raised, blistery, and sometimes very itchy spots that form around the middle of the body. The rash is most often seen in middle-aged men.

Another name for this condition is transient acantholytic dermatosis (TAD).

Grover’s disease usually happens in men over 50. However, women sometimes get it, too.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes Grover’s disease. It may appear for no reason. Some doctors think that sun-damaged skin or extreme swings in temperature play a role. One popular, but unproven, theory is that it may be linked to sweating. Many cases have occurred in men who use hot tubs, steam rooms, electric blankets, and other warming items. It can also be caused by certain medications, organ transplants, kidney disease, Dialysis, or exposure to x rays.

The main symptoms of Grover’s disease are:

  • Sudden rash on the chest, back, and sometimes arms and legs
  • Blisters containing a thin, watery liquid with a hair follicle in the center
  • Blisters clumped together, surrounded by a red swollen ring
  • Itching, which may be intense

Symptoms usually last about 6 to 12 months, but may go away sooner or take longer to disappear.

Your doctor will examine you and the rash. Sometimes it can be tough to tell the difference between Grover’s disease and other skin disorders. A shaved skin biopsy can confirm the diagnosis.

If you have a mild rash, the first treatments may include:

  • Antihistamines, taken by mouth
  • Prescription cortisone cream, applied to the rash
  • Other anti-itch lotions that contain menthol or camphor

If your symptoms are very bad, your doctor may suggest retinoids or an antibiotic taken by mouth. But, these medicines can cause side effects (some may be severe). Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the medications you are prescribed.

Severe, stubborn symptoms can be hard to treat and may keep coming back. This could mean you need long-term treatment. Your doctor may prescribe light therapy combined with medications if this happens.

Other treatments that may be used for severe symptoms are:

  • Antifungal pills
  • Antifungal lotions such as selenium sulfide
  • Cortisone shots, 
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Systemic retinoid 

Your doctor may also suggest you reduce activities that can cause a lot of sweating (like heavy-duty workouts), since sweating can worsen the rash.

Your doctor might also recommend that you take fewer baths and showers, and that you don’t spend a lot of time in the sun.