One of my vitiligo contacts sent me this chart and gave me permission to share it (thanks, R.S.). It is the result of a lot of painstaking research on his part and backs up much of the knowledge I too have gleaned over the years from reading up on the subject and from my own health-related experiences. This flow chart is a great way of making a complex picture much easier to grasp.
Basically, it illustrates what R.S. and I - and many others too - believe to be the truth behind the familiar set of vitiligo "facts" that most conventional doctors and websites trot out in isolation. Modern western medicine is notorious for not taking a holistic approach. It treats vitiligo as a skin disease and tries to treat the white patches externally. This chart backs up my own conviction that vitiligo is in fact a symptom (often accompanied by many others, like chronic fatigue, IBS, arthritis, etc.) of an underlying systemic problem - namely, a digestive disorder.
If asked to draw their own chart, most practitioners of conventional western medicine would probably include most of the same items as on the chart above, but without the arrows! In my opinion, vitiligo treatment has suffered more than most other areas of medicine from a lack of joined-up thinking. It has long been linked with certain other conditions, like thyroid disease and diabetes and it is often described as an auto-immune disease. But few doctors seem to consider the possibility that even these conditions are not the root cause, but rather the result of a faulty digestive system - a link in a chain of events that starts with malabsorption of food and ends in vitiligo and other symptoms of poor health.
If you have vitiligo, I recommend you use this chart to hunt down both the root and the route to your loss of pigment. The more knowledgeable you can become about this, the better chance you have of treating yourself successfully, as I have done.
My name is Caroline.