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Pemphigus Signs and Symptoms

Pemphigus is an extremely rare and incurable autoimmune disorder that affects the skin and mucous membranes.  The immune system attacks the skin, causing burn-like blisters.  The condition is most often diagnosed in adulthood.  Its prevalence is not known, but it is frequently diagnosed in seniors.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of pemphigus below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Pemphigus include:

  • Painful sores and blisters in the mouth
  • Mouth pain
  • Clear, soft fluid-filled blisters of various sizes
  • Itchy crusty sores on the face and scalp
  • Itchy crusty sores on the back and chest
  • In advanced cases, and usually in someone diagnosed with cancer, skin lesions as well as painful sores in the mouth, lips and esophagus

In extremely rare cases, pemphigus can cover large areas of the body.  Pemphigus vulgaris is the most common type, and frequently starts with small blisters in the mouth.  Pemphigus foliaceus is the second most common type, and consists of small crusted blisters covering the face, scalp, chest and back.  Paraneoplastic pemphigus is the rarest type, and occurs only in someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Diagnosis of Pemphigus

Since pemphigus is so rare, many practitioners do not recognize the signs and symptoms of pemphigus.  If pemphigus is suspected, a skin biopsy can be done to test for specific autoantibodies to confirm the presence of the disorder.

Books for People With Signs and Symptoms of Pemphigus

Pemphigus Vulgaris – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
ICON Health Publications
Pemphigus – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
ICON Health Publications

Pemphigus: Webster’s Timeline History, 1791 – 2007
Icon Group International
Living Well with Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know
Mary J. Shomon

Pemphigus Resources

General Patient Resources

  • IPPF

Support and information from the International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation.

  • MD Junction

Support forums, discussions, questions and answers and friends dealing with Pemphigus.

  • Canadian Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation

Information about Pemphigus and Pemphigoid for patients and caregivers. Has a support forum.

  • Daily Strength

Pemphigus support group – Discuss Pemphigus with others who understand what you’re going through.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this serious skin or mucous membrane disorder.

  • Web MD

Information from the Brain and Nervous System Health Center.

  • Medscape Reference

Article for health care practitioners by medical professionals.