What is pemphigus vulgaris?


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Know the basics

What is pemphigus vulgaris?

Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune disorder. This disease causes blisters on the skin or the mouth. The blister grows gradually, bursts and make scars.

How common is pemphigus vulgaris?

This disease usually occurs in middle-aged people, both men and women. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of pemphigus vulgaris?

50% of patients will have first symptoms, including blisters or ulcers in their mouth. Many people cannot eat because of mouth blisters, become weak and tired, and lost weight. As a consequence, it causes dehydration and malnutrition. Then blisters start to spread out of the skin. Blisters and ulcers have some features such as easily weeping or crust, and then leave scars.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have blisters in your mouth or skin. If you diagnosed to have pemphigus vulgaris, contact your doctor if you have any following symptoms:

  • New blisters or ulceration;
  • Ulcers spread rapidly;
  • Fever;
  • Chilly;
  • Pain in muscle or joints.

Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes pemphigus vulgaris?

Pemphigus vulgaris is likely an autoimmune illness, the immune system will discharge antibody to break the linking between skin cells. The exact cause is unidentified. Moreover, some drugs such penicillamine or anti-ACE can cause pemphigus vulgaris.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for pemphigus vulgaris?

There are many risk factors for this disease such as:

  • Age: middle-aged people are prone to have this disease.
  • Other disease: pemphigus vulgaris can occur at the same time with other autoimmune disease (such as muscle weakness).

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is pemphigus vulgaris diagnosed?

Treatment to reduce the symptoms include:

  • Take antibiotic or antifungal to control or prevent infection.
  • Transmit water or electrolyte through veins.
  • Use anesthetic to reduce pain in the mouth.
  • Use anti-inflammatory.
  • Use immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, or rituximab.
  • Use antibiotics such as minocycline and doxycycline or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).
  • Plasma filter: the progress that filters all antibody causes pemphigus vulgaris. The filtered blood will be returned to the body.
  • Use medical cream for treatment.

In addition, you need to keep the wound cleaned and wash your skin regularly to prevent infection.

How is pemphigus vulgaris treated?

Your doctor will make a diagnosis from your symptoms. Additionally, the doctor will diagnose if you have pemphigus vulgaris by following methods:

  • Exam peeled skin to define if nikolsky sign exists.
  • Blood test: to define if desmoglein antibody exists.
  • Skin biopsy.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pemphigus vulgaris?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with this disease:

  • Keep follow-up doctor appointments to observe the progress of symptoms as well as your health condition.
  • Take medicines as prescribed, don’t stop your medicines or change the dose unless your doctor says you can.
  • Tell your doctor about all medicine you are taking.
  • Create a well-balanced diet. Follow a liquid or soft diet if needed.
  • Follow doctor’s direction to clean the wound.
  • Call your doctor if you have infection signs such as  redness, pus, pain or swelling.
  • Use cleaned towels, dressings and clothes.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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