What is Pemphigus?

It is a rare autoimmune disease, like psoriasis and eczema, which is characterized by peeling and superficial injuries on the skin and mucous membranes. It is mostly on the skin and in the mouth, but can sometimes be found in the nose, throat, eyes, and genitals. It starts as fluid-filled blisters resembling a burn. It is an important skin disease that progresses with wounds that crust over with the bursting and opening of these blisters.

What causes pemphigus?

In autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and eczema, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy tissues. In pemphigus, the immune system perceives the person’s own skin as foreign. Then it gives an exaggerated immune response against the skin. This immune response, also called autoantibody, breaks the bonds that hold the cells in the top layer of the skin together. As a result of the breaking of the bonds, the cells are separated from each other and splits and cracks occur in the skin. As a result of the filling of tissue fluid from these slits, vesicles filled with clear fluid, called bullae, occur. Since the wall of these vesicles is thin, they easily burst open and turn into painful, superficial wounds.

Are there different types of pemphigus?

Although there are many clinical types of pemphigus, the most common type is deep pemphigus (pemphigus vulgaris), where watery sores on the skin are usually accompanied by mouth sores. The other is superficial pemphigus (pemphigus foliaceus), which is a milder type with only very superficial skin sores, crusting and scaling.

What are the symptoms of pemphigus?

The disease usually begins as mouth sores that do not heal for a long time. Non-healing wounds can also be seen on the genitals. After the wounds that do not heal in this way, new wounds begin to form on the scalp, face and trunk. These wounds are similar to the wounds we call BUL, which is filled with fluid after a burn. While the liquids in these sacs appear as transparent water at first, they acquire a purulent appearance over time. The bullae burst open over time and turn into wet sores. They may dry out and crust over time, but if not treated, the disease will continue with new wounds in other areas.

How does the disease occur?

Certain drugs and chemicals are known to trigger pemphigus. But the exact triggers are not yet known. Some patients also reported that their complaints increased after eating foods such as onions and garlic.

Who is it seen in?

Pemphigus is a rare disease. This disease develops in 2-3 people per million. It occurs with equal frequency in men and women. It occurs most often in middle-aged people. However, it can be seen in all age groups. However, it has been reported that it is more common in the following groups.

  • people of Mediterranean descent

  • people living in the Brazilian rainforest

  • Middle and senior adults

Is it hereditary?

Although the disease can be seen in more than one person in the same family, it is not hereditary. Pemphigus in the mother or father is not passed directly to the children.

Is it contagious?

No, the disease is not contagious. It is not possible for people to come into contact with pemphigus patients.

What should pemphigus patients pay attention to in wound care and treatment?

People diagnosed with pemphigus do not need to be alarmed. Just like in psoriasis and eczema, worsening of wounds and formation of new scars can be prevented with good treatment and regular follow-up. In addition, patients should take good care of their existing wounds. Patients with pemphigus may face serious health problems if they do not pay attention to wound care.

  • skin infections

  • sepsis

  • such as dehydration (intensive water loss)

How should patients with pemphigus live and what should they pay attention to?

  • Patients with pemphigus should pay attention to general body cleaning, especially oral care. Teeth should be brushed regularly. The toothbrush to be used should be soft (preferably children’s toothbrushes should be used) and brushing should be done gently so as not to irritate the gums.

  • Scrubbing should be avoided in the bathrooms and baths should be made in the form of a shower. However, the shower should not be strong enough to hit the skin with excessive pressure.

  • In the active periods of the disease, especially if there are wounds around the breech, toilet cleaning should be done carefully. Toilet paper used should be soft.

  • Female patients with wounds in the genital area can use cleaning fluids produced for women with soft clean gauze to be wiped from front to back. In the presence of genital discharges (in the form of milk cuts or especially bloody-purulent discharges), the doctor should be informed.

  • During the active period of the disease, both male and female patients should avoid sexual intercourse. Female patients of childbearing age who are in recovery period should be protected from pregnancy with a method recommended by their doctor.

  • Apart from these, patients can continue their work after they enter the recovery period and are under control.

  • They can continue their normal lives without disrupting their follow-up and controls related to the disease.

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