Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of mucous membrane and skin conditions that are generally inherited, albeit random gene mutations can be a cause as well. Epidermolysis bullosa simplex is the most common and typically mildest form.
Based on the type of epidermolysis bullosa you have, blistering can range from a few to many to lethal. Even minor blisters can create a serious health issue due to secondary skin infections.
For many, EB fragile skin condition starts at or soon after birth. However, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, a non-inherited autoimmune type, usually doesn’t appear until over age 50. This form is associated with Crohn’s disease, and possibly lupus.
The primary symptom of fragile skin EB are skin blisters. How widespread and severe your blistering is varies with type.
Other epidermolysis bullosa symptoms may include:
- tooth decay
- nail loss, deformity
- excessive sweating
- respiratory difficulties
- mouth & throat blisters
- blister around eyes & nose
- minor trauma, temperature change blistering
- internal blistering ~ esophagus, upper airway, stomach, intestines, urinary tract
Mouth and esophagus blistering causes chewing and swallowing problems, which may lead to malnutrition. Other possible complications of fragile skin epidermolysis bullosa are:
- failure to thrive
- periodontal disease
- severe skin scarring
- esophageal stricture
- MRSA, staph infection
- eye disorders, blindness
- loss of hands & feet use
- squamous cell carcinoma
Your epidermolysis bullosa blister situation may improve with age or cause fatal complications.
Main treatment is prevention. Since skin trauma and hot environments are primary causes for EB skin blistering. Taking measure to avoid these causes prevents your fragile skin from erupting into a blister.
When skin blisters do form, judicious skin care is important to prevent infection. Your health care provider might recommend:
- whirlpool therapy
- applying antibiotic ointment
- safe blister drainage technique
- petroleum jelly, other moisturizing substance before applying a non stick bandage
Depending on your type of epidermolysis bullosa and individual symptom or complication status, additional blistering treatment may be required beyond your skin.