Mucosal vitiligo / leukoderma
Do you ever ask yourself pointless questions, like whether fish drink water or why men have nipples? OK – it’s just me then!
I recently asked myself a vitiligo question that sounds equally silly, namely, do vitiligo sufferers develop #whitepatches inside their body as well as on the outside? You may reply, who cares if you can’t see them? But the question really isn’t as pointless as it sounds. In fact, it is known that vitiligo can – and frequently does - affect the mucous membranes.
The #mucosal areas most often referred to are the moist linings of the mouth, nose, genital, and rectal areas. In fact, I can find no information anywhere about mucosal vitiligo occurring deeper inside the body. I think the most likely reason for this is that virtually no one has ever studied this particular question. Why? Because vitiligo has always been considered to be a purely cosmetic problem. So, why would anyone be concerned about having white patches inside them where they can’t be seen?
Well, I do not believe that vitiligo is a purely cosmetic problem (with the possible exception of chemically induced leukoderma, which has an environmental cause).
My own experience of vitiligo, and the research I have done into the subject, points to associations between the skin condition and various other chronic health disorders, such as Diabetes, Thyroid disease, Pernicious Anaemia,
Addison’s disease, Liver disease and other autoimmune diseases.
Since it seems certain that there are a variety of causes of vitiligo, just as there are a variety of types, I realise that my experience of the condition may not apply to everyone. But I am utterly convinced that in my case – and in a great many others, I’m sure – systemic disorders are the root cause of #pigment loss. In other words, the white patches that develop on the outer skin (and in all probability on the inner lining of the body) are symptoms of other chronic health issues. (A larger image of the chart featured on this link can be found here.)
I have written previously about the realisation that my vitiligo was caused by a digestive problem and how I have been able to virtually #cure both using nutritional supplements. But something I have not mentioned before is the fact that I also have long-term sinus trouble, resulting in persistent rhinitis and a tendency to sore throats. Now, I know that I would be testing the patience of most medical doctors if I suggested that there could be a link between mucosal abnormalities of the #sinuses, stomach, bowel etc. and vitiligo (unless they have a more enlightened, holistic approach to disease). Whether or not there is a link between mucosal vitiligo and other conditions affecting the #mucousmembranes in the body I don't know. And, if there is a link, whether vitiligo is the cause or whether it is the effect of these other conditions is also a mystery. I rather doubt that anyone is researching into this possibility. But it is definitely food for thought…
A vitiligo blogger since 2011. My name is Caroline. I had vitiligo for nearly 50 years before finding an effective treatment. I created this blog to share my experiences with others affected by this skin condition.