It isn’t easy to live with vitiligo (white patches or discolouration of the skin due to loss of pigmentation), owing to social stigma. No need to despair - homeopathy is clinically effective in treating this visual nightmare, without side-effects.
Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder. It causes depigmentation in patches of skin. It presents in the form of white patches. The disorder emerges when melanocytes, the cells responsible for our skin pigmentation, or colour, die or are unable to function. About one per cent of the world’s population suffers from vitiligo, also called leucoderma. Clinically speaking it does not impair us in any way but because it disfigures most people it has a marked psychological impact that is both upsetting and demoralising.
The disorder is not dangerous in any way; it causes no bodily harm, yet it is unpleasant, owing to its awkward presence, which ‘offends’ the victim and the onlooker.
This is because most people fear that somehow it’s some kind of contagious disease that they may contract by being physically proximate with you. Also, because it does not uniformly affect any part of the body it makes them feel weird and ostracised.
A Question Of Genetics
About 1 in 200 individuals are at risk of being afflicted with vitiligo. In families, this is said to increase up to about 5 per cent for children, or parents, and about 2-3 per cent for grandparents. This indicates the likelihood of genetic factors playing a role in individual susceptibilities to vitiligo. Vitiligo is sometimes passed on from one generation to another.
A study of twins showed that identical twins are more likely to develop the disorder than non-identical twins.
Some vitiligo patients may, at times, have an increased risk of developing certain autoimmune diseases - e.g., kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, diabetes and alopecia areata (patchy hair loss).
Cause of Vitiligo
The exact cause of vitiligo is not known. Some experts suggest that vitiligo may be caused by a combination of autoimmune, or genetic, and environmental factors.
Psychological stress may also be one of the most likely triggers in some individuals. In addition, the disorder is usually associated with low haemoglobin levels (anaemia), diabetes and thyroid disorders.
Nearly half of the affected individuals present with white patches before age 20; about 70–80 per cent before age 30.
Vitiligo affects adults and children of both sexes equally. It may also be observed that a larger number of women consult their doctor, more often owing to the larger psychosocial ‘stigma,’ or emotional impact of the disorder.
1. People who develop vitiligo first observe white patches (depigmentation) on their skin. Question: “Did you observe such a symptom?” If so, you should see your doctor immediately. It’s much easier to deal with vitiligo in the early stages than letting it fester and grow and then wait for slow reversal.
2. Patches appear to be more obvious on ‘sun-exposed’ areas of the body - hands, feet, arms, face and lips. Question: “Do you think you have them too?” Other areas affected by white patches may include armpits, groin, around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, navel, genitals and the rectum. Question: “Do you have them too?”
Speak to your doctor promptly.
Vitiligo patches are easy to recognise on dark skin. However, depigmentation is sometimes not easy to identify in patients with extremely fair skin.
Wood’s Lamp examination is often helpful to distinguish areas involved in light-coloured and dark-complexioned individuals and also to evaluate the remaining ‘pool’ of melanocytes. Besides, the examination can help to detect the earliest signs of repigmentation at the border of the lesion, or in other areas. Robert Wood, an American physicist, invented the Wood’s Lamp. It uses UV (ultra-violet) light, which is imperceptible to the eye. The device is used for inspection and detection (diagnosis) of vitiligo spots, other skin and scalp disorders. It does not, however, have any therapeutic, or treatment connotations.
Healing With Homeopathy
Homeopathy views skin disorders as outer expressions of an underlying, latent problem in the body’s built-in regulatory mechanism, or defence system. The early, pioneering homeopaths called this the ‘vital force.’ Today, this is called immunity.
Picture this. When a skin problem is suppressed unnaturally with conventional drugs, creams and ointments, a problem that is unrelated to the skin may occur with rapid intensity and vice versa. It is a vicious cycle, which we all know - but, don’t often give enough thought to. Homeopathy does not suppress skin complaints, or illness. It heals the distress from deep within.
It is for this reason that professional homeopaths have always advocated a practical plan of treatment - the basis on which homeopathic medicines work.
Homeopathy uses remedies made from natural substances that actually cause symptoms of the health problem, or illness. In micro-doses they stimulate the body’s own defences, or our immune forces, to throw, or ward, off the malady, from the inside out. Put simply, homeopathy treats the external problem - in this case, white patches - with an internal remedy. This is quite unlike conventional medicine, where an external problem is treated merely as a surface problem. In other words, the focus of homeopathy is aimed at helping the body heal itself. This provides the necessary force to combat the challenge. Since the body is adaptive such strengthening helps to provide defence at all times, whereas conventional medicine tends to be like a carpet bomb going into your body and killing all in its path - the disease and the body’s immune fighters who were waging war against the invaders. As a result conventional (allopathic) medicine shows up over time with a weakened immune resistance.
Homeopathic remedies help to control the spread of white patches, they also facilitate repigmentation by enhancing the natural formation of melanocytes - without side-effects.
Homeopathy helps to control certain underlying hormonal imbalances that may exist deep within too; in so doing, it helps the body to cope better at both the emotional and physical levels. More importantly, homeopathy reduces the chances of recurrence - the possibility of white patches reappearing again.