Vitiligo is a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches (large irregular patches). The extent and rate of color loss from vitiligo are unpredictable. It can affect the skin on any part of your body. It may also affect the hair and the inside of the mouth. Normally, the color of hair and skin is determined by Melanin (Skin Pigment).
Vitiligo also called ‘leucoderma’ is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system of the body attacks the healthy cells and, in turn, starts affecting the body. The condition is characterized by white patches on the skin that develops as a result of melanocytes within the skin.
Note -according to the modern system of medicine (allopathy), there is no cure, and it is usually a lifelong condition. The exact cause is unknown, but it may be due to an autoimmune disorder or a virus. Treatment options may include exposure to UVA or UVB light and Depigmentation of the skin in severe cases.
Vitiligo or leucoderma is a fairly common pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) in the skin are destroyed which is affecting nearly 2% of the population of the world, white patches appear on the skin in different parts of the body. Similar patches also appear on both the mucous membranes (tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose) and the retina (inner layer of the eyeball).
The hair that grows in areas affected by vitiligo sometimes turns white. The most widely accepted view is that depigmentation occurs because vitiligo is an autoimmune disease (a disease in which a person’s immune system reacts against the body’s organs or tissues).
Etiology of Vitiligo/Leucoderma
As mentioned above, there is no exact cause for this disease. It is an auto-immune disorder but some possible causes may be of neurological or auto cytotoxic origin.
Vitiligo is said to be associated with certain auto-immune disorders and inflammatory diseases such as Thyroid, Diabetes, Psoriasis, and Pernicious Anaemia.
In some cases, it may be hereditary. Children whose parents have the disorder are more likely to develop Vitiligo. A trigger event, such as sunburn, stress, or exposure to industrial chemicals. Sometimes, vitiligo is associated with chronic gastritis disease, intralesional steroid injections, the use of a sticker, or a tattoo on the skin.
Sign & Symptoms
- White patches (de-pigmentation) on the skin
- Premature greying of scalp hair, eyelashes
- Loss of color inside the Mouth.
Types of Vitiligo/Leucoderma
- Generalized Vitiligo: Most common type of vitiligo consists of discoloured patches on many parts of the body.
- Segmental Vitiligo: Affects only one side of the body, generally occurs young age, 1 or 2 years after progress stop
- Focal or Localised Vitiligo: especially focused on a part of the body.
Ayurvedic Concept with Management
In Ayurveda literature, Vitiligo or Leucoderma is co-related with ‘Shweta Kushtha’ or ‘Kilasa’ or ‘Switra’ and classified as ‘Kustha Roga’. Sweta Kustha- ‘Sweta’ means white, ‘Kustha’ means Skin disease.
- According to Ayurveda, Vitiligo or ‘Shweta Kustha’ is caused due to aggravation of ‘Pitta’ in the body. ‘Pitta’ is an ‘Ayurvedic’ humor that symbolizes fire and is manifested in the skin, along with other organs. ‘Pitta’ is of five types. One of them is ‘Bhrajak Pitta’, which gives coloration to the skin.
- In the case of Vitiligo, ‘Bhrajak Pitta’ gets imbalanced, leading to the formation of ‘Ama’(Toxin), which consequently impairs deeper body tissues such as ‘Rasa Dhatu’ (Nutrient Plasma), ‘Rakta’ (Blood), ‘Mamsa’ (Muscles) and ‘Lasika’ (Lymph). This ultimately causes depigmentation of the skin.
Ayurveda classified ‘Sweta Kustha’ in 3 category
- Daruna- ‘Dosha’ vitiated the ‘Rakta Dhatu’ (Blood), patches will be Red
- Aruna – ‘Dosha’ vitiated the ‘Mamsa Dhatu’ (Muscle Tissue), Patches will be copper colored in color.
- Kilasa – ‘Dosha’ vitiated the ‘Medho Dhatu’ (Fat Tissue), Patches will be in white, this clinical presentation of ‘Switra’ hence Leucoderma is often called ‘Kilasa’
- The disease is deep-rooted and needs specific treatment that includes the right diet plan and specialized herbal combinations to pacify ‘pitta’ and cleanse ‘ama’ from the body.
Vitiligo treatment in Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic consists of pacifying imbalanced body energies, cleansing the blood, and administrating herbs that restore skin color. Poor digestion is the root cause of this disease, as it causes the build-up of toxins in the tissues. An essential part of treatment, therefore, is restoring digestion. The patient will also be advised on the correct diet and lifestyle adjustments to prevent the recurrence of the disorder.
Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic advocates the following line of treatment-
- ‘Shodhana Chikitsa’ – Strong detoxification Panchakarma procedures should be done. ‘Vamana’(Emesis), Virechana (Purgation Therapy), and Rakta Mokshana (Blood Letting Therapy) using leeches are recommended.
- ‘Shamana Chikitsa’– done through oral medications and external applications.
- ‘Pathya’ (Diet) – strict diet restrictions, lifestyle modifications, yoga, and meditation are advocated.
At Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic, we provide very effective therapy for leucoderma with the above-said guidelines and evidence-based medicines with a high treatment success rate. Early intervention of treatment (at least 1 year from onset) gives maximum results.
Note: Vitiligo has an unpredictable course and its prognosis may not always be encouraging. One must avoid physical, chemical, and emotional trauma as far as possible. 1 year crossed and the lesions appearing in the palm, sole, genitalia, and lips are difficult to cure.
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