Pyoderma gangrenosum is a skin condition in which a person suffers from large and painful sores. These sores predominantly form on the legs although they may appear on other parts of the body as well. Experts have not managed to establish the actual cause of pyoderma gangrenosum yet. Still, it is believed that the condition is somehow connected to improper functioning of the immune system. In approximately half of all patients suffering from pyoderma doctors confirm the presence of another chronic underlying condition.
Clinical Characteristics of Pyoderma Gangrenosum
The diseases affects the skin only. It develops in a form of sores (ulcers) which start as small, red bumps. Initially, there are many such bumps which create a specific pattern that resembles spider bites. Eventually, bumps open and sores completely form. These skin lesions are rather painful and patients additionally report achy joints as well as pain is different bones. The diseases is quite exhausting causing malaise. It is not unusual for ulcers to grow in size and they may even merge into a large open sore. If any of the mentioned occurs on one's skin, he/she is due to report it to the doctor.
Pyoderma Gangrenosum and Other Conditions
Pyoderma gangrenosum generally affects people who are already suffering from certain medical conditions. For example, it is common among patients with inflammatory conditions (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease).
Furthermore, in such individuals the skin is highly susceptible to any kind of trauma so even a slight puncture or a cut may initiate formation of an ulcer. This drives to conclusion that any kind of manipulation with the skin (for example surgery) which leads to loss of skin's integrity may trigger ulcer formation.
Pyoderma Gangrenosum - Treatment
Unfortunately, since the doctors do not known the actual cause of pyoderma gangrenosum they are not able to offer a cure for the disease. However, this skin condition can be treated and eventually brought under control.
In individuals who are suffering from some chronic illnesses the overall appearance of the skin can be improved while formation of ulcers and sores can be reduced and limited once the condition is properly treated and controlled.
Some doctors suggest gentle local wound care and dressings and applications of superpotent topical corticosteroids. Other topical preparations that may be applied include cromolyn sodium 2% solution, nitrogen mustard and 5-aminosalicylic acid. Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are relatively new topical immunomodulating drugs which have been proven to be successful in some patients.
Apart from local treatment, patients may undergo systemic administration of drugs such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine and several more immunomodulating agents. And finally one more treatment option includes hyperbaric oxygen.