What is pyoderma gangrenosum?
"Pyoderma" means a skin inflammation (swelling). "Gangrenosum" means skin ulcers with the death of tissue.
Pyoderma gangrenosum is a skin disease in which you get large sores on your skin, usually on your legs.
It happens most often in people ages 25 to 55
Doctors don't know what causes it, but it often happens in people who have another health problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease Overview of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) In inflammatory bowel diseases, the intestine (bowel) becomes inflamed, often causing recurring abdominal pain and diarrhea. The two primary types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are Crohn... read more
Sometimes it happens to skin that's recently been injured
You get small bumps or blisters that become open sores
Treatments include dressings, creams, and medicines
What causes pyoderma gangrenosum?
Doctors don't know exactly what causes pyoderma gangrenosum, but they think it involves a problem with your immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more . Pyoderma gangrenosum is more common in people who have certain other health problems, such as:
What are the symptoms of pyoderma gangrenosum?
Symptoms of pyoderma gangrenosum include:
A red bump or blister that becomes an open, painful sore that grows quickly
Raised area around the sore that is dark or purple
General feeling of illness
Sores from pyoderma gangrenosum can get worse from:
Biopsy (taking out part of the tissue to look at under a microscope)
Cleaning dead skin from the wound (called debridement)—although debridement usually helps wounds heal, debriding the sores of pyoderma gangrenosum makes them worse instead of better
Symptoms can sometimes spread to other areas, such as your belly area, bones, lungs, or muscles.
How can doctors tell if I have pyoderma gangrenosum?
Doctors can usually tell if you have pyoderma gangrenosum by looking at the sores.
How do doctors treat pyoderma gangrenosum?
Doctors treat pyoderma gangrenosum using:
Dressings to protect your skin
Sometimes medicine to calm down your immune system
Doctors don't usually do surgery because it makes the sores worse.