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Pemphigoid: expert derma explains the causes, symptoms and treatment options

Pemphigoid is a group of autoimmune, blistering skin disorders that can occur at any age. It can continue to persist till the appropriate treatment is not provided. It usually is persistent for months to years with periods of remission and exacerbation. Dr Madhuri Agarwal, Founder and Medical Director of Yavana Aesthetics Clinic, Mumbai enlighten us on the two predominant types of pemphigoid disorders — Bullous pemphigoid and Cicatricial pemphigoid. She further explains its causes, symptoms and treatment options.

Causes of pemphigoid: The reason for pemphigoid is basically a person own immunity wrongly attacking its own healthy skin tissue just below the outer layer of skin (subepidermal layer) by producing antibodies against it. Due to this the skin layers separate from each other and lead to formation of painful blisters. Pemphigoid can be primarily because of genetic tendency, it not hereditary. Certain other factors such as UV light, radiation light, trauma and medications such as diuretics, ibuprofen, antibiotics and at times after vaccination in children.

Symptoms of pemphigoid: The two types of pemphigoid have different presentations.
a) Bullous pemphigoid presents as clear, fluid filled blisters on arms, legs and abdomen. They can start as sudden appearance of blisters commonly over extremities or there maybe itching and red rashes followed by development of blisters on top of the rashes. The blisters are usually present over arms, legs and groins. This type rarely shows symptoms in the mucosal areas. Bullous pemphigoid resolves with negligible scarring. In children, bullous pemphigoid presents as blisters over palms and soles.
b) Cicatricial pemphigoid presents as blisters and erosions in mucosal cavity such as in the mouth, genital, eyes, nose and throat. This type of pemphigoid leads to scarring and is progressive.

Who is more likely to get pemphigoid? This disease is most likely seen in the elderly usually in the 50-60s. Both men and women can get this disease. Children also can have bullous pemphigoid but it is mostly self-limiting.

Treatment options for pemphigoid: The treatment options are targeted towards reliving the symptoms and keep the disease in control for long term. There is no cure for pemphigoid disorders. Dermatologists usually recommend oral corticosteroids or application of potent steroids to treat the active blisters. However, they can have side effects when used for long periods, so it must be strictly monitored by dermatologists and not self-administered. At times dermatologists also advise immune suppressants that suppress the disease activity. These medications again can have serious side effects and need to be supervised by a certified dermatologist.

Are there any home remedies for pemphigoid? No home remedies are advised in pemphigoid. Since trauma can cause blisters, it must be taken into consideration to prevent injuries. In case of oral pemphigoid, avoid hard, crunchy foods such as chips and fruits and choose a soft diet.

Image source: Shutterstock

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