Vitiligo in simple language means a loss of normal skin color. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder characterized by either defective formation of the skin pigment called melanin or destruction or complete loss of melanin pigment. It affects the skin by forming white patches that impart an unpleasant appearance to the affected individual.
Causes of Vitiligo:
The exact cause of Vitiligo is not yet known but the following factors are known to play a role in the development of vitiligo in an individual.
- Genetic tendency.
- Hormonal disorder.
- Occupational hazards.
Causes of Vitiligo in Children:
One of the most common causes of the development of vitiligo in children is genetic factors. Dr. Rajesh Shah, MD, Life Force has made an important observation through a study at Life Force that the patients of Vitiligo have a strong genetic trait where their close family members, such as parents, grandparents, uncle, aunt, or a sibling, suffer from one or more of the following diseases.
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Alopecia Areata
- Pernicious anemia
Symptoms of Vitiligo:
The development of white skin patches is the most common symptom of vitiligo. As the cells (melanocytes) which produce the skin pigment in these skin patches are destroyed, unpleasant white patches develop on the skin. Commonly, white patches due to vitiligo are found on the arms, hands, feet, lips, and faces of the children. Also, in some kids, white hair can be noticed. Besides these, vitiligo may also impact the mucous membranes, which include the tissues within the nose, mouth, and eyes.
Types of Vitiligo:
Vitiligo is divided into two types.
- Segmental Vitiligo: Segmental Vitiligo affects only one segment of the body which means vitiligo affects only one side of the face, leg, or arm. Segmental Vitiligo is most commonly observed in children. More than half of the patients with segmental vitiligo happen to have patches of white hair on the head, on an eyelash, or on an eyebrow.
- Nonsegmental Vitiligo: It affects both the sides of the body, such as the legs, arms, knees, etc.
Diagnosis of Vitiligo in Children:
Diagnosis of vitiligo is done by physical examination and considering the medical history and laboratory investigations. Generally, a thorough examination by an expert is sufficient to diagnose the cause of Vitiligo. In some cases, the following measures are taken.
Wood’s Lamp: Inspection of the skin with a Wood lamp by an expert can help diagnose the condition.
Laboratory tests, such as Thyroid Profile which includes finding out the levels of T3, T4, and TSH
In rare cases, a biopsy of the skin is recommended.
Is Every White Spot a Vitiligo?
The answer is a big “NO”. Some fungal infections, such as Tinea versicolor, Pityriasis Alba and Scleroderma, are also represented in the form of a white patch on the body. To know more about diseases that are mistaken as vitiligo visit the link.
How Should Parents Approach Vitiligo in Children?
When any child is diagnosed with Vitiligo, the parents feel an extreme sense of shock and rejection. No doubt, it is tough for any parent to accept easily that their child suffers from Vitiligo but they have to be Braveheart and instill confidence into their child suffering from Vitiligo. Following are the guidelines for the parents of children who are diagnosed having Vitiligo.
- Accept the situation: Once a parent you accept the disease, it will be easier for your child to face society with confidence.
- Do not try to hide the spots: Children are very sensitive and sharp. If you always insist on wearing clothes by which their vitiligo spots are covered, it may produce a sense of inferiority complex in their minds. Rather allow them to wear whatever they want to.
- Do not examine the spread of the disease often: This shows the restlessness and fear in the minds of parents about vitiligo. This will make the child more conscious of the disease. Rather, examine the spread of the disease strictly when the child is sleeping and only once a month.
Can Homeopathic Medicines Treat Vitiligo in Children?
Homeopathic medicines are found useful in treating vitiligo in children and adults. Dr. Rajesh Shah, MD. Life Force has treated and documented over 6000 cases of Vitiligo across the continents in the last 30 years of its practice. He observes that vitiligo in children can be treated very well with the help of homeopathic medicines.
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