Pemphigus Vulgaris (PV)

An Overview of Pemphigus Vulgaris

Pemphigus Vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, causing painful blisters and rash-like lesions. It is a serious condition that requires medical treatment. PV is thought to be relatively rare, with approximately 1-2 cases per million people each year, and most common in people of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean descent. Though there is currently no cure, the condition can be managed effectively with medication and lifestyle changes.

The main symptom of PV is blistering of the skin. These blisters may be small and shallow, or they can become very large and deep. The blisters usually form on mucous membranes such as inside the mouth, on the throat, or on the genitals. They can also form on the scalp, chest, and back. The blisters are usually very painful and itchy, and can cause severe discomfort. They often rupture easily, leaving the affected area of skin raw and vulnerable to infection.

Causes of Pemphigus Vulgaris

The exact cause of PV is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells, in this case, the cells of the skin. In PV, the immune system “attacks” proteins in the skin, causing them to break down. This breakdown leads to the formation of the blisters and lesions.

In some cases, PV is a result of a medication or other environmental cause. Some medications, such as ACE inhibitors, can cause the body to attack its own skin proteins. People with a history of certain illnesses, such as lupus, are at an increased risk for developing PV.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pemphigus Vulgaris

PV is usually diagnosed through a physical exam and laboratory tests. In some cases, a biopsy of the lesions will be done to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment typically consists of medications to suppress the immune system, as well as topical or systemic steroids to reduce inflammation and itching. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent skin infections.

In addition to medical treatment, healthy lifestyle habits can help to reduce flare-ups and improve overall well-being. These include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding stressful situations, and getting plenty of rest. Patients should also avoid using any harsh or irritating skin care products, as they can worsen lesions.


Pemphigus Vulgaris (PV) is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects the skin. It is a rare condition, most common in people of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean descent. Symptoms of PV involve painful blisters and rash-like lesions that are vulnerable to infection. Treatment typically consists of immune-suppressing medications, topical or systemic steroids, and antibiotics, as well as healthy lifestyle habits.