Posts tagged ‘leucoderma’


Vitiligo, also known as leucoderma (leuco=white, derma=skin), is a disorder manifesting on the skin which can cause extreme distress to sufferers because of its unusual appearance. There is loss of skin pigmentation in patches due to destruction of the pigment manufacturing cells, the melanocytes. It is usually progressive and over time the white patches may spread to other areas of the body.

In India, it is often called ‘safed kor/kod’. It affects at least one in every hundred people in countries throughout the world. It affects people of both sexes equally, and it affects all races. It can begin at any age, though about fifty percent of people with vitiligo develop it before the age of twenty.

Vitiligo is usually not harmful medically, but it often takes a toll on the psychological well-being and self esteem of the individual. People have to be aware that it is NOT infectious or contagious and cannot be spread to other people by contact. The social stigma attached with this condition needs to be removed.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS — Small areas of different skin colour or patches with the following characteristics:
· They are flat, white and can’t be felt with fingers.
· They spread to form very large, irregularly-shaped areas without pigmentation.
· They are usually on both sides of the body in approximately the same place.
· Their size varies from 2mm or 3mm to several centimeters in diameter.
· They don’t hurt or itch.
· The hair growing on skin affected by vitiligo sometimes turns white.

The exact cause is not yet well understood. It is believed to be the result of autoimmune, genetic and environmental factors. An autoimmune origin implies that the body’s own defence mechanism does not recognize the pigment cells as the body’s own; considers them to be ‘foreign’, and destroys them. As we know, stress often play a major role in adversely affecting the immune system and creating an autoimmune condition. Family history of the condition is found in about 10-30% of the affected patients. Some studies suggest that people with vitiligo inherit a group of three genes that make them susceptible to developing it. Vitiligo may be precipitated by injury or sunburn.

· Family history of vitiligo.
· Thyroid or adrenal disease.
· Diabetes mellitus.
· Injury.
· It may be associated with some other auto-immune diseases.

PROBABLE OUTCOME AND TREATMENT — It is important to realise that inheriting a vitiligo trait from your parents does not necessarily mean that you will develop the condition. If the body’s immune system remains healthy, functioning to its best capacity, latent predispositions do not become active. To keep your immune defences high, it is important to have a healthy, well-balanced nutritious diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; avoid junk food and processed food as far as possible. Get adequate sleep and exercise in fresh air. Learn to handle stress effectively.

Treatment is prolonged but there can be no guarantees for complete and permanent re-pigmentation. It is impossible to predict how much improvement will occur with treatment. Younger individuals (under 30) and those who obtain treatment early usually respond best. Allow one year to evaluate results. Spontaneous re-pigmentation is noted in about 10-20% of patients. Factors indicating good prognosis for regimentation are: recent onset within the past 6 months, in a young individual on the facial area. Conversely, factors which indicate an unfavorable prognosis are: late onset in life, long-standing persistent lesions, located on the extremities and on the lips.

HOMOEOPATHY has a holistic approach and treats a patient with vitiligo as an individual, mind and body together. The physician will inquire into all aspects of the patient’s life; mental, emotional and physical characteristics of the patient, personal and family history. The aim is to set right the immune functioning of the patient and remove the tendencies to illness. Once the body’s immune system is functioning well, there are good chances that re-pigmentation will set in. In this way, homoeopathy offers a safe and gentle approach in the treatment of vitiligo.