Behçet’s Disease

What is Behçet’s Disease?

Behçet’s disease is a rare chronic condition that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout the body. This inflammatory disorder affects multiple parts of the body with the most common symptom being recurrent mouth ulcers (or aphthous ulcers).

Behçet’s is believed to be partly genetic and often improves over time. Certain medications will reduce the symptoms to prevent serious complications such as blindness or a stroke.

What are the symptoms of Behçet’s Disease?

Symptoms of Behçet’s disease vary from person to person and will depend on which parts of the body are affected. Painful mouth sores will usually heal in one to three weeks but are prone to recurrence. Other signs of the disease include lesions to the skin (especially the lower leg), genital area, eye inflammation which causes redness, as well as pain and blurred vision. Also, symptoms may include joint swelling, swollen blood vessels (which may lead to aneurysms), abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches and fever.

Most people with Behçet’s will experience episodes where the symptoms flare-up, followed by periods where the symptoms go into remission. Over time, some of the indications can settle down and become less troublesome, although they may never completely go.

Causes and risk factors in Behçet’s Disease

There is no direct cause of Behçet’s. Some clinicians believe it could be an autoimmune disease as the immune system mistakenly attacks the blood vessels, although it is not clear what triggers this problem.

Behçet’s is more prevalent in certain ethnic groups where genes linked to the condition may be more common. Rates of Behçet’s disease are lower in people from an at-risk ethnic group who live outside their native country.

People of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian origin are thought to be most likely to develop the condition, although it can affect all ethnic groups.

Behçet’s disease will commonly affect men and women in their 20’s and 30’s, although it can develop in anyone. It is more severe in men and more likely to develop in those people with Behçet’s genes.

Is Behçet's Disease contagious?

Behçet’s disease is not contagious; it is not spread from one person to another and it is not associated with cancer. There is no known cure for Behçet’s disease, however it is possible to control the symptoms with medicines that reduce inflammation in the affected parts of the body.

Behçet's Disease and mouth ulcers

Ulcers associated with Behçet’s are different. They are painful clearly defined round or oval sores, usually surrounded by a ring of inflammation. They occur on the soft mucous membrane in the mouth, most commonly on the tongue, lips, gums and inside of the cheek. They are likely to present as a crop of ulcers that last between 2 to 3 weeks. It is estimated that everyone with Behçet’s Disease will suffer from mouth ulcers at some point.

Poor oral hygiene is associated with an increase in activity of Behçet’s disease in general. It also escalates the likelihood of dental problems including gum disease and bad breath. Brushing teeth should be delivered at least twice a day using a SLS free toothpaste (sodium lauryl sulfate) containing 1450ppm fluoride. Despite pain associated with flossing this should be attempted after brushing.

To provide relief of pain for oral ulceration and inflammation apply Gengigel Mouthrinse and Gengeigel Spray. Avoid using anything that contains alcohol as this may cause stinging and dry out the mouth. Gengigel coats the mouth and provides a barrier making simple actions such as yawning, swallowing and speaking less painful.

To relieve Behçet’s Disease

For Behçet’s disease the most appropriate Gengigel products to use are the Gengigel Mouthrinse for soothing the whole oral cavity applied throughout the day as well as after tooth brushing. The Gengigel Spray is useful for people on the go as it is portable, discreet and quick to apply. It can be used as frequently as required and will control oral discomfort and inflammation. Gengigel First Aid is more concentrated and will control soreness instantly without risk of further trauma and manage symptomatic pain for a longer period.