Q:

What causes bullous pemphigoid?

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Quick Answer

The cause of bullous pemphigoid is unknown, but may be related to medication use, immune system disorders, or various other diseases, according to MedlinePlus. Bullous pemphigoid is a rare skin condition most commonly occurring in people age 60 years and older.

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Full Answer

Bullous pemphigoid occurs when the immune system attacks a layer of tissue beneath the outer layer of skin, according to WebMD. This abnormal immune response is sometimes triggered by the use of certain medications or treatments, though the reason is unknown. Medications that sometimes trigger bullous pemphigoid are penicillin, etanercept, furosemide, and sulfasalazine. Treatments that also may trigger this condition are ultraviolet light therapy and radiation therapy.

Symptoms of bullous pemphigoid are intermittent and may include skin irritation, mild redness, and itching in mild cases, according to MedlinePlus. Symptoms of major cases include multiple blisters, which can form ulcers. Additional symptoms possibly experienced are bleeding gums, mouth sores, and skin rashes. The condition generally resolves within five years.

Treatment for bullous pemphigoid usually includes drugs such as corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system, according to WebMD. Treatment is imperative, as this condition can be life-threatening. Home treatments include avoiding sun exposure, protecting blisters from infection with sterile dressing, avoiding injury, and eating food that cooperates safely with any mouth blisters.

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