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Pyoderma gangrenosum


Disease: Pyoderma gangrenosum Pyoderma gangrenosum
Category: Dermatological diseases
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Disease Definition:

When large, painful sores (ulcers) grow on the skin, most frequently on the legs a seldom occurring condition known as pyoderma gangrenosum that might be associated with disorder of the immune system takes place, it isn’t known what causes the condition. Almost 50% of the people suffering from pyoderma gangrenosum experience an underlying chronic health condition.
Pyoderma gangrenosum might be effectively treated, though occasionally the ulcers might leave scars behind. The risk of scarring might be decreased with early diagnosis and therapy, and pyoderma gangrenosum might sometimes return.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


The followings are pyoderma gangrenosum signs and symptoms:

  • Painful, open sores (ulcers) with reddish-purple borders
  • Tiredness
  • Primarily, one or more small, red bumps on the skin similar to spider bites
  • Achy joints or pain in the bones

The ulcers usually appear on the legs but might grow anywhere on the body. In the case of having many ulcers they might grow and merge into one larger ulcer.


Pyoderma gangrenosum is not known why to be taking place. Yet, skin trauma like puncture wound or cut could cause new ulcers forming in people suffering from this skin disorder.

Pyoderma gangrenosum is more likely to take place in people in their 40s and 50s, though it could still affect people in any age. This disorder might be related to the following conditions as well:

  • Ulcerative colitis. This disease of the large intestine results in chronic inflammation of the large intestine.
  • Crohn's disease. Chron’s disease could result in long-term inflammation in the intestine as is the case with ulcerative colitis but could take place anywhere along the digestive tract.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. The irritation and inflammation of the thin membranes surrounding the joints is known as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Hepatitis. This condition results in the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis might result from a virus or a disorder of the immune system.



Pyoderma gangrenosum results in ulcers that are often raw and tender. One might feel as if they should lessen their activities until their sores heal. Most frequently the ulcers leave scars. A class of medications used to treat pyoderma gangrenosum known as immunosuppressants subdue the immune system. Long-term use of immunosuppressants might raise the risk of growing some cancers and infections.


In the presence of an underlying disease related to pyodrema gangrenosum, ulcers might be managed through the treatment of this underlying disease. Yet, other treatments might be essential to heal wounds. Such as:

  • Wound care. The application of antibacterial ointments to the ulcers might be recommended to help keep infection from taking place or wrap the skin in a protective layer of gauze.
  • Corticosteroids. Inflammation might be relieved through corticosteroids. Pyoderma gangrenosum often is treated with oral corticosteroids. Topical steroid which is a medication applied to the skin could additionally be used in certain milder conditions.
  • Immunosuppressants. These medications help calm the autoimmune reaction in the skin which decreases inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Dapsone, a mdedication from the sulfone family is frequently used. Minocycline use, an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication, might be involved in milder conditions.
  • Surgery. Since trauma to the skin might make present ulcers worse, or new ones might be stimulated to grow due to the surgery, for these reasons doctors might not typically use surgery as a treatment alternative. Pathergy is this tendency to worsen with surgery. In case ulcers on the skin are large and require help with healing, a piece of real or artificial skin (skin grafting) might be attached over the open sores, surgically. Surgery is done only when the inflammation gets better.

Immunosuppressants or corticosteroids will taper off as the skin heals, after starting therapy the skin will heal in many months. The ulcers might widen, stay the same or slowly heal with no treatment.


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