Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Different types of Vitiligo

There are different types of vitiligo, and what is not commonly understood is that the prognosis and treatment outcomes for each are different. 
The two main types are segmental and non-segmental, and they may be two quite different disease processes. Segmental vitiligo can appear anywhere on the body, usually in a clearly defined patch or segment; whereas non-segmental vitiligo has symmetry, appearing on both hands and both feet, and around both eyes, for example. 
I have non-segmental vitiligo, which seems to be unfortunately much harder to cure than segmental vitiligo, in most cases. I know several people who have had the segmental form and had full re-pigmentation after treatment with UV light and creams. 
Not realising that non-segmental vitiligo is a different condition, and very difficult to cure, they seemed to think I was not doing enough to treat the problem. This, of course, does nothing for one's self-esteem.

Another form of vitiligo affects the mucous membranes. It's possible to have more than one type of vitiligo at the same time, so diagnosis can be very complicated. 

It's important to understand the differences between the types of vitiligo so that expectations for treatment are realistic. My skin specialist told me bluntly that vitiligo is incurable and I would just have to put up with it. He did not tell me which type I had or that segmental vitiligo has a better prognosis.

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