Pemphigus: a disease stamped in the skin



Introduction: Pemphigus are autoimmune blistering diseases that affect the skin and mucous membranes. The blisters characteristics of pemphigus tend to break, causing painful erosions that easily bleed. This study aimed to identify the experiences involved in the triggering of pemphigus and how patients face the illness and treatment.
Material and Methods: The study included 31 patients diagnosed with pemphigus foliaceus and vulgaris, under a standardized pulsetherapy treatment. Data collection was through semi-structured interviews, which were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using a qualitative approach.
Results: During the journey in search of the phenomenon, were defined two thematic categories, subdivided into eleven subcategories. Months before the triggering of the illness, patients experienced feelings of losses, familiar conflicts and concerns; also showed an experience permeated by heartache and disappointments. After the first signs of pemphigus, patients experienced a long journey until the correct diagnose; worsening of the lesions after the communication of the diagnosis; feelings of isolation, shame and prejudgment; interruptions of the future plans; lack of information about the disease and treatment; difficult adherence to the pulsetherapy and the appearance of new lesions or worse by stressful events.
Discussion: It might be observed that the disease is not just a biological deviation, but also a social deviance, which explicit the need to adapt to the new reality of the disease and face the isolation, prejudgment and shame of living with a stigmatizing disease.

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