Pemphigus vulgaris

Pemphigus vulgaris

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Abbreviation: PV.

Usually when the body is in normal operation, immune systems will attack any foreign body or the invaders for instances bacteria or viruses. With pemphigus, immune system produces antibodies that attack the cells of the skin or mucous membranes.

The exact causes of PV is unknown, it is believed that with PV, immune system produces antibodies that attack the cells of the skin or mucous membranes, especially IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies target desmosomal proteins to produce intraepithelial, mucocutaneous blistering. Desmoglein 1 (Dsg1) and desmoglein (Dsg3) is the major antigen. Dsg1 is found throughout all layers of the skin, whereas Dsg3 is found only in two or three layers of the deep epidermis.

Sometimes pemphigus is also caused by certain medications, although this is rare. Medications that may cause this condition include some blood pressure medications and chelating agents.

PV particularly affects woman more than man. The average age of onset is 40 to 60 years. Children may also get affected, but it is rare.

PV affects the mucosa and the skin, resulting in superficial blisters and chronic ulceration. Various mucosal surfaces may be involved, including ocular, nasal, oropharyngeal, laryngeal, upper respiratory, and anogenital mucous membranes


The major symptom of pemphigus vulgaris is the development of clear, soft, itchy, usually painless blisters of various sizes. The blisters often first appear in the mouth and soon rupture, forming painful ulcers or sores.

Skin lesions may come and go. The skin lesions may be described as draining, oozing, crusting, peeling, or easily detached.


PV is very difficult to diagnose as there are other causes of mouth ulcers and skin blisters. Tests are usually done to confirm the diagnosis.

Skin biopsy: Doctors can diagnose pemphigus vulgaris by examining skin samples under a microscope.

Blood tests: Blood test is usually needed to test for antibodies. This uses methods called immunofluorescence or ELISA to measure the level of the antibody that causes PV in your bloodstream.


Most treatments have a goal to reduce the symptoms and signs and also to prevent complications. Treatment is most effective when it starts as soon as possible. Is less widespread in this condition, the easier it can be to manage or control. Treatments that are specific depend on the severity of the condition.

Treatment options include:


  • Immunosuppressive.

  • Antiviral and antifungal drugs and antibodies.

No dietary restrictions exist, but patients with oral disease may benefit from avoiding foods, such as spicy foods, tomatoes, orange juice, and hard foods that may traumatize the oral epithelium mechanically, such as nuts, chips, and hard vegetables and fruit.

Preventive measures include:

    Take care to avoid any trauma to the skin.

  • Avoid exposure to the sun as this could trigger the symptoms.

  • Avoid acidic foods or spicy as well as garlic, onions and leeks can trigger or irritate blisters.

Note:The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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