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Pemphigus Symptoms

Pemphigus refers to a group of skin conditions that result in blisters on the skin. These disorders are quite rare and also affect the mucus membranes. Pemphigus is known to occur in individuals of any age, but is more commonly seen in middle aged or older individuals. Pemphigus vulgaris is the most common type of pemphigus. The other types of pemphigus include pemphigus foliaceus and pemphigus erythematosus.
Pemphigus tends to be a chronic disorder that can be managed through early diagnosis and proper treatment. The treatments used for pemphigus may be similar to the ones used in case of severe burns. Pemphigus is much easier to manage when it is not widespread.

The most prominent sign of pemphigus is blistering of the skin and mucus membranes. The blisters break easily and this leads to open and oozing sores. Infection of the sores is also likely. Pemphigus symptoms vary according to the type. In pemphigus vulgaris, the blisters usually start developing in the mouth and then appear on the skin. The mucus membranes of the genitals may also break out in blisters. These blisters can cause pain, but without any itching. Discomfort may be experienced while swallowing because of the blisters on the mouth. Pemphigus foliaceus does not cause blisters on the mucus membranes. The face, scalp, back and chest are affected and the blisters may cause itching. Pemphigus erythematosus is actually a more localized type of pemphigus foliaceus. Another type of pemphigus is paraneoplastic pemphigus which may be linked with certain cancers. It results in sores in the mouth, lips and esophagus. A more comprehensive pemphigus symptoms list may be sought from a doctor. It is important to consult a doctor when blisters are detected in the mouth or skin. Those who are already on treatment for pemphigus should see a doctor when there are new blisters, increase in number of blisters and other symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, fever and chills. Pemphigus causes in children and adults are generally the same.

Pemphigus Causes

The exact pemphigus medical causes are unknown. It is however known to be an autoimmune disorder. In normal circumstances, the immune system targets harmful foreign agents that enter the body. But in autoimmune disorders such as pemphigus, the immune system attacks the body’s own mucus membranes and cells. Usually, in individuals with pemphigus, the immune system releases antibodies which attack desmogleins. These are proteins which cause skin cells to bind. When these proteins are attacked, the skin cells of the epidermis separate. In some cases pemphigus is caused by drugs. The intake of certain medications can trigger of pemphigus symptoms. The condition usually subsides when the medication is discontinued. Pemphigus vulgaris causes also include certain food triggers. Tannins which are present in many food and beverages may be one of the triggers of pemphigus. Foods that contain tannins include bananas, apples, mangoes, avocados, eggplant, garlic, coriander and rosemary. Beverages such as coffee, soft drinks and wine also contain tannins. Foods that contain Isothiocyanates can also trigger pemphigus. These are found in various vegetables such as radish, broccoli, turnip and cabbage. Other food triggers for pemphigus include foods which contain thiols such as shallots and those which contain phenols such as potatoes and tomatoes. Paraneoplastic pemphigus occurs due to the effects of certain other antibodies. It is seen to occur in individuals with cancer. Pemphigus is not contagious and can affect anyone.

Pemphigus Treatment

Pemphigus treatment is more effective when it is administered early. Once the condition spreads, it becomes difficult to manage. Pemphigus treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition. In cases of mild pemphigus, the individual can undergo treatment at home. Certain medications are provided for treatment of mild pemphigus and these may be used either alone or in various combinations. Some of the drugs commonly used to treat the condition include corticosteroids, immunosupressants and antibiotics. In severe cases, pemphigus treatment guidelines may be different. Those with widespread pemphigus may have to receive treatment in the hospital. In such cases, the risk of infection entering the bloodstream is high because of the open sores. Medications along with certain other treatments are administered in order to treat severe cases. Due to the oozing of the sores, there may be loss of bodily fluids and hence the individual may have to give fluids and electrolytes intravenously. If the sores in the mouth make eating difficult, intravenous feeding may also be done. For pain relief, anesthetic lozenges may be given. There is also a treatment known as therapeutic plasmapheresis wherein the plasma is removed from the blood with the help of a cell separator. This is done in order to remove the antibodies which are targeting the skin. Following this, donated plasma is used to replace the extracted plasma.  In some cases, the blisters and sores go away completely after treatment. But in other cases, treatment has to continue in small doses even after recovery because the symptoms may return. There are some pemphigus vulgaris natural remedies which help to manage symptoms. The UV light of the sun can cause new blisters to appear and hence sun exposure should be minimized. One should also avoid any contact sports or other situations where friction to the skin can occur. The oozing sores can cause sheets to stick to the skin and this can be avoided by dusting some talcum powder on the sheets. Pain and discomfort may be eased by applying lotions. Good dental health and hygiene is important when there are blisters in the mouth. A beneficial pemphigus vulgaris cure is application of essential oils such as tea tree, lavender and thyme. Homeopathy is also used as a pemphigus remedy.

Pemphigus Diagnosis

Pemphigus diagnostic testing involves evaluation of the individual’s medical history and an examination of the mouth and skin. In diagnosing pemphigus, the doctor may also perform a skin biopsy in which a sample of tissue from a blister is obtained and analyzed further. Blood tests may also be carried out in order to detect and determine which antibodies are present in the blood.
Submitted on January 16, 2014