Why Should Segmental Vitiligo be Detected Early?

signs of segmental vitiligo - Sriramakrishnahospital

Vitiligo is a long-term autoimmune condition leading to white patches on any body part. This condition usually develops when the skin cells called melanocytes are destroyed when attacked, eventually making the skin white and patchy.

 What is referred to as segmental vitiligo?

Segmental vitiligo, or isolated or unilateral vitiligo, is a condition in which the skin on one area of the body becomes depigmented or loses its colour, manifesting as white patches. In contrast to non-segmental vitiligo, segmental vitiligo is uncommon and usually develops asymmetrically on the body. 

 This disorder is more prevalent in youngsters, affecting three out of ten individuals with vitiligo. The skin of a person with vitiligo becomes photosensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, making it more prone to sunburn or discomfort.

What are the 8 significant signs of segmental vitiligo?

When a white patch or patches appear on one part of the body (such as the arm, leg, face, or hand), this is called segmental vitiligo. The patches will form rapidly and may persist for some time. Yet, they may grow in size with time. These patches may also appear in cycles where pigment is restored and stabilized but then reverts to the condition.

 Vitiligo usually affects the following parts of the body,

  • Hair and eyelids
  • Areas of the moles
  • Near the body openings
  • Genitals 
  • Groin
  • Foldings of the body, like armpits
  • Skin exposed to the sun
  • Insides of the mouth

 The signs of this illness differ from person to person. When people develop white patches, they may have hyperpigmentation (a brownish darkening of the skin), inflamed or red patches and smooth or uneven margins on the patches. If you are experiencing any of these signs visit a skincare hospital in Coimbatore, to avoid the skin patches from progressing.

How is segmental vitiligo different from other forms of vitiligo?

Segmental vitiligo is different from other types of vitiligo in several ways. Notable segmental vitiligo (SV) usually affects one side of the body. Other types of vitiligo, on the other hand, usually affect both sides.

Most forms of vitiligo spread slowly across the skin over a certain time. However, SV progresses rapidly (usually within six months to a year) and later abruptly stops. In approximately fifty per cent of segmental vitiligo cases, the condition affects more than just the epidermis. A person with SV may also experience depigmentation of their eyelashes, eyebrows, and nostril hairs, in addition to the rest of the facial and body hair.

The SV type of vitiligo differs from the other types because it is not usually linked to other autoimmune diseases. Also, the SV subtype doesn’t usually happen with other skin diseases. But SV can happen at the same time as other types of vitiligo. It’s called mixed vitiligo when this happens. 

What might be possible causes of segmental vitiligo?

Researchers and doctors don’t know the segmental vitiligo causes, but they think it could be caused by more than one thing. For one, autoimmunity seems to cause SV by making the immune system attack and kill melanocytes, cells that make pigment. 

Based on the SV patches look, the condition may be linked to unusual cell changes that may have happened as an embryo grows. SV may also come about because of the nervous system. Some nerve cells in the skin may give off chemicals that cause melanocytes to die.

Stress, damage to the skin, or certain chemicals can all cause vitiligo to start. 

Why should segmental vitiligo be detected early?

Segmental vitiligo is a type of vitiligo that requires early-stage segmental vitiligo treatment. Segmental vitiligo can begin abruptly and tends to spread uncontrollably for some time and then stops; after maybe a couple of months or years, it may start spreading again or may not. 

If segmental vitiligo is not identified early, it can spread rapidly all over the body and may affect the entire body. When detected early, the segmental vitiligo treatment can help in preventing the spread.

What are the various diagnosis procedures for segmental vitiligo?

To diagnose segmental vitiligo, the dermatologist will record your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and conduct tests to rule out other potential segmental vitiligo causes

Medical history:

Several aspects of the medical history can aid your dermatologist in making a diagnosis. For instance, a family history of vitiligo, a history of autoimmunity, and recent stress, illness, or skin injury (such as rashes or sunburns) may contribute to SV symptoms. 

Physical examination:

The way that SV loses its colour is clear. During a physical examination, the skin specialist will look at the size and location of the patches to help figure out what kind of vitiligo you have. 

Ultraviolet light examination:

The dermatologist may also utilize ultraviolet light to examine the skin and rule out the possibility of certain other diseases or conditions. Infections such as tinea versicolor, albinism, chemical exposure damage, and other skin conditions can resemble vitiligo when viewed under normal lighting conditions. Ultraviolet light is also useful for detecting depigmentation in individuals with fair skin.

Skin biopsy:

The doctor may also take a sample of your skin and recommend blood tests to help figure out if you have vitiligo and what kind it is.

What are the treatment options to manage segmental vitiligo?

Most people with vitiligo don’t need segmental vitiligo treatment unless the white patches bother them. In that case, there are different things you can try to make your vitiligo less noticeable.

Prescription medication:

The dermatologist may prescribe medications to control the spread of segmental vitiligo. The dosage of the medications is also important in controlling vitiligo. Certain medications can help in the restoration of pigmentation. 

Light therapy:

Narrowband UVB phototherapy and laser phototherapy are two types of light therapy vitiligo treatment that can help the skin pigment. 

Light therapy is usually combined with medications for a quicker recovery.

Surgical options to treat segmental vitiligo:

Surgery is an additional option for segmental vitiligo patients, including youngsters. This is partially related to the nature of SV. It does not spread endlessly. Due to its modest loss of melanocytes, SV typically responds favourably to transplantation. 

In certain instances, transplanting hair follicles from undamaged skin can restore melanocytes to depigmented areas. A person’s melanocytes and keratinocytes, essential for pigment production, can be collected and transplanted onto their segmental vitiligo white patches. 

Can segmental vitiligo go away on its own?

Another form of vitiligo is segmental vitiligo. Rapid discolouration of one side of the body is a common symptom of this kind. The loss of pigmentation associated with segmental vitiligo typically subsides after 6 to 12 months. Most persons with segmental vitiligo don’t get new patches or spots once the spread stops.

Is segmental vitiligo a stable condition?

Typically, segmental vitiligo becomes inactive after two years of disease stability. Even after long periods of stability, non-segmental vitiligo is vulnerable to reactivation.

Outlook of the condition:

Segmental vitiligo can spread rapidly if not detected early and affect major visible body parts. It is important to detect segmental vitiligo initially to avoid its spread. Segmental vitiligo can be treated with various treatments and helps prevent the condition from spreading further. Visit the  best dermatologist in Coimbatore to get treatment for segmental vitiligo.


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