Vitiligo and Homeopathy
Vitiligo is a condition that causes depigmentation of sections of skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. Homoeopathy is able to give wonderful and miraculous cures in many cases of vitiligo. This is due to the fact that homoeopathic treatment enhances the natural production of pigments. According to homoeopathic philosophy, vitiligo is not a disease in itself but an expression of an inner disturbed state of the body.
Vitiligo is a condition that causes depigmentation of sections of skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. In the case of vitiligo, we believe that the immune system probably sees the person’s own pigment cells as foreign bodies, and attacks them, destroying them or weakening them. There is increasing evidence to support the view that vitiligo is an autoimmune disease and that it shows a familial trait in about 18% of cases. Vitiligo is a benign skin disorder due to loss of pigment. Estimated 1.2% of American and world population, about 8% of Indian and Mexican population suffer with this disorder.
Association Of Vitiligo With Autoimmune Disease
Vitiligo is more common in people with certain autoimmune diseases (diseases in which a person’s immune system reacts against the body’s own organs or tissues). Autoimmune diseases that are associated with vitiligo include: hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland), adrenocortical insufficiency (the adrenal gland does not produce enough of the hormone corticosteroid), alopecia areata (patches of baldness), and pernicious anemia (a low level of red blood cells caused by the failure of the body to absorb vitamin B12).
The basis for the association between vitiligo and these autoimmune diseases is not well understood. Moreover, the connection between them seems optional. Most people with vitiligo, fortunately, have no autoimmune disease such as hyperthyroidism, adrenocortical insufficiency, alopecia areata or pernicious anemia.
Vitiligo and Hereditary
The cause of vitiligo is not fully known, but there are several theories. One theory of some substance is that people with vitiligo develop antibodies that, instead of protecting them, turn upon them and destroy their own melanocytes, the special cells that produce the pigment melanin that colors their skin. Another theory is that the melanocytes somehow attack and destroy themselves. Finally, some people with vitiligo have reported that a single event such as a severe sunburn or an episode of emotional distress seem to have triggered their vitiligo. Events of this nature, however, have not been scientifically proven to cause vitiligo and may simply be coincidences.
Vitiligo may be hereditary and run in families. Children whose parents have the disorder are more likely to develop vitiligo. However, most children will not get vitiligo even if a parent has it, and most people with vitiligo do not have a family history of the disorder.
Psychological Effect of Vitiligo
An important aspect of vitiligo is the psychological effect of the disease. Vitiligo is often immediately visible to others and those with the condition may suffer social and emotional consequences including low self-esteem, social anxiety, depression, stigmatization and, in extreme cases, rejection by those around them. In people with a pale white skin colour, vitiligo may cause little concern.
Physical Appearance of Vitiligo
People with Vitiligo develop white patches on their skin of irregular shapes and sizes. Vitiligo is more common on the exposed areas for example hands face, neck and arms. It also occurs on covered areas too: – like genitals, breast and legs. In some patients the hair may also turn grey early and in the inside of the mouth, white discoloration may also occur.
The spread of Vitiligo cannot be determined. It may stop completely after the first patch but often these patches do spread. For some patients further development may takes years and for others the large areas can be covered in months. In some patients mental stress has been seen to increase the growth of these white patches.
The three main diseases that can be mistaken for vitiligo are tinea (pityriasis) versicolor, piebaldism and guttate hypomelanosis.
Vitiligo and Leucoderma
Vitiligo is also known as leucoderma , which is technically not correct. Leucoderma simply means white (leuco) skin (derma), i.e. a disorder where the skin loses its normal color. Leukoderma is a cutaneous condition, an acquired condition with localized loss of pigmentation of the skin that may occur after any number of inflammatory skin conditions, burns, intralesional steroid injections, postdermabrasion, etc In case of leucoderma, there is partial and superficial pigment loss; while in case of vitiligo there is deep and complete pigment loss.
General Management of Vitiligo
Foods that are excessively sour should be avoided. The ascorbic acid in sour foods tends to reduce melanin pigmentation. So the patients should restrict their intake of citrus foods. Non vegetarian foods are also to be avoided as they act as a foreign body to pigment cells. Flavoured drinks are to be avoided. Artificial colours used in various food preparations should also be avoided. There may not be enough scientific evidence to prove how these foods worsen vitiligo.
Homoeopathic Management for Vitiligo*
Homoeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homoeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. Homoeopathy is able to give wonderful and miraculous cures in many cases of Vitiligo. This is due to the fact that homoeopathic treatment enhances the natural production of pigments. According to homoeopathic philosophy Vitiligo is not a disease in itself but an expression of an inner disturbed state of the body. Thus, the cure should occur at a level where things have gone wrong.