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About Pemphigus Vulgaris- Health Guide

Updated on May 13, 2013

What Is Pemphigus Vulgaris

Pemphigus Vulgaris is a serious yet rare skin condition that can take its toll on the human body if proper treatment is not sought out to control it in an appropriate manner of time. This is an autoimmune disease that is synonymous with erosions and sores located on the skin, most commonly positioned inside of a person’s mouth. Although this is not a very common condition by any stretch of the imagination, it is however the most common form of the pemphigus subtypes, as there are two other forms know as pemphigus foliaceus, and paraneoplastic pemphigus. While pemphigus vulgaris is not a disease that a person may concern themselves with on a daily bases, it is one that does not discriminate as it can certainly effect anyone at any time, no matter what race that someone may be a part of. However this disease does seem to be more common among individuals who are in the age range of fifty to sixty years old, and is a condition that has been more popular among Jews and Indians, as researchers believe this may be due to a genetic link that could pre-expose these types of people to the condition. This criteria does not mean that this disease cannot reach other races and various parts throughout the world.

Understanding Pemphigus Vulgaris

Many people may be unaware of the exact causes of this skin disease, and can often either overlook obvious symptoms or simply ignore them and try and treat them on their own. However, this is not a great plan of attack in order to rid you of this condition, as it would be a much more precise decision to seek adequate treatment and allow medical professionals to handle the situation. Being able to understand what is happening to your body in the first place is the most important step in your road to recovery, as this will allow you to initiate an eventual return to your normal self. The most crucial element in being able to fight off this nasty and annoying disease is to first be fully armed with a wealth of knowledge that will allow you to fully understand what this disease is and what it is exactly doing to your body. Understanding this disease, causes of this disease, the diagnosis, the treatments, and what your body will experience on its path back to healthiness is a necessary movement and one that cannot be underestimated by anyone who may be affected.

Symptoms of Pemphigus Vulgaris

Many people develop skin blisters in different areas of their body, as there are a variety of causes for different types of sores on the skin. However, when pemphigus vulgaris has made its way into your body, there are sever specific symptoms that you should consider noteworthy. For example, while often these blisters are located in the mouth, there are other areas on the human body where they will show up, as they will have several distinctive traits. Some common areas of the body where one may recognize these blisters include the scalp, armpits, general pressure points, the face, as well as the buttocks. The traits of these blisters to be aware of include an overall amount of sensitivity, meaning these blisters will be different than most in that they are easily busted and are generally loose and tender. After they have been burst, the affected area will normally be left severely raw causing a good amount of pain and a sore like feeling. They can also be very large, sometimes reaching up to several centimeters across, although there is normally no scaring on the area. In other instances, the larynx may be effected which will cause hoarseness and make swallowing a very difficult task.

What Causes Pemphigus Vulgaris?

Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune disease which means that it occurs when the body tissues begin to attack their own immune system, thus forcing one’s body to produce antibodies against its own immune system. The antibodies that are produced in this scenario can damage the cells in the skin and mucous membrane located in the mouth, nose, throat, and genitals. They begin to attack the proteins in the body that holds cells together which causes the cells to fall apart. When the cells fall apart this will create a sore or blister on top of the skin. Though pemphigus vulgaris is generally found in only one member of the family, it has been suggested that the genes that are inherited from ones parents may make them more susceptible to the disease. In most cases PV is triggered from a bacterial or viral infection in the human body.


Pemphigus vulgaris is a very rare disease that is most commonly overlooked by many doctors. However, when a doctor suspects that their patient have PV they will be referred to a dermatologist who will then confirm the diagnosis. This is a condition that should be suspected in anyone who may have a sore that will not heal which is in most cases located in the mouth. To confirm the diagnosis, the dermatologist will perform a skin biopsy called immunofluorescence. This test uses a dye to detect any PV antibodies in the cells and will measure the amount of those antibodies that are in the blood.


Being told that you have a rare disease can be overwhelming and frightening, however there are several treatment options to choose from. In most cases treatment will involve taking a combination of two medications – steroid medication, immunosuppressant’s, rituximab, dapsone, colchicine, and tetracycline. These medications will prevent the immune system from damaging any more healthy tissue. While taking the medicine your body will begin to heal the blisters and prevent new ones from forming. Although both medicines can have several side effects such as weight gain, acne, mood changes, headaches, fever, fatigue, muscle pain, etc. Although pemphigus vulgaris is an extremely rare chronic disease, it can be treated with simple medication and love and support from your friends and loved ones.


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    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this informative hub. Had never heard of this.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 5 years ago

      Writercentro, I had never heard of this autoimmune disease, but neither had I heard of Henoch-Schonlein purpura until my son came down with it three years ago. Apparently my family (father’s side) carry the gene. These sound like very similar diseases. You didn’t say whether PV was potentially fatal, although the treatment was very similar to HSP. HSP is usually triggered by a bacterial infection and can be fatal. I guess I’m wondering if these two autoimmune diseases are connected. I found this hub very interesting and informative. Voted you up ++

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Interesting article, very informative. Thank you..

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting. I am now forearmed, thank you.


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