What is Pemphigus?

pemphigus

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One of the most enduring mysteries about fibromyalgia is how closely it seems to be linked to autoimmune diseases. People with fibromyalgia seem to suffer from autoimmune conditions at a much higher rate than the average person. For a long time, we thought this must mean that fibromyalgia itself was an autoimmune condition. But research has shown that it isn’t.

We haven’t yet learned what this link is, but if you need more evidence that there definitely is one, just look at pemphigus. Pemphigus is yet another painful, autoimmune condition like psoriasis that seems to affect people with fibromyalgia. So let’s talk about what it is, what the link to fibromyalgia is, and what you can do about it.

What Is Pemphigus?

Pemphigus is an autoimmune condition that causes large, scaly rashes to erupt all over your body. Basically, an autoimmune condition is one where your body’s immune system begins to attack your healthy tissue. In the case of pemphigus, the immune system attacks the skin. As a response, the skin begins to produce more cells to replace the ones that were destroyed. This leads to painful blistering and rashes.

There are two main types of pemphigus, vulgaris and foliaceous. With the vulgaris type, the disease attacks the mouth and mucous membranes. That leads to painful sores in your mouth and throat, though it can also affect your eyes, lungs, and even genitals.

With the foliaceous variety, however, patients usually have large rashes that erupt all over their skin. It can affect the scalp, back, hands, arms, or again, even genitals. This rash is usually severe and accompanied by painful blisters. The appearance has even been compared to severe burns.

How Is It Linked To Fibromyalgia?

We know that people with fibromyalgia suffer autoimmune conditions like this one frequently. There’s no clear explanation for why this is. But some have proposed that autoimmune conditions might lead to fibromyalgia, rather than the other way around.

Autoimmune conditions like pemphigus cause a great deal of stress and psychological issues like depression. They are, after all, often extremely painful and even debilitating. This might explain why how they could lead to fibromyalgia.

There’s also a clear link between fibromyalgia and psychological distress. People who have suffered significant trauma seem to develop fibromyalgia more frequently than people who don’t. And it’s possible that the psychological distress of autoimmune conditions like pemphigus can lead to fibromyalgia.

Regardless of what the exact nature of the link is, if you’re suffering from pemphigus, you probably want a good way to treat the symptoms. Luckily, there are things you can do.

How Is It Treated?

The treatments for this condition are very similar to the treatments for other forms of autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases frequently lead to inflammation, such as the kind that causes a rash. And in some cases, this inflammation can be deadly. So the first step is to control it.

Corticosteroids are one of the most common medications that doctors prescribe to treat inflammation. These are a type of hormone that your body produces naturally in response to inflammation, but your doctor can also give you a synthetic form to help your body’s natural response. They often come in pills, but in the case of a rash, you may want to use a topical corticosteroid cream instead.

And there’s also something to be said for simple, over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. These medications are part of a class of drug called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of proteins in the body that lead to inflammation. But in addition, they’re great for reducing the pain that often accompanies blisters or rashes.

Finally, if neither of these drugs are effective or they wish to supplement them, your doctor may prescribe immunosuppressant drugs. Immunosuppressants decrease the activity of your immune system. This means that your white blood cells don’t produce as many antibodies. As a result, they cause less damage to your body’s healthy tissue. But, these drugs also carry some risks.

They weaken the immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections. Your doctor will be able to help you assess these risks and make the right choices for you.

And you might want to consider seeing a therapist to discuss some of the psychological issues of having an autoimmune disease. This extra help will go a long way toward managing your condition.

So, what do you think? Do you have fibromyalgia and another autoimmune condition? What do you think the link is between the two conditions? Tell us in the comments.

 

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