Morphea: An Uncommon Skin Disorder

Morphea is a skin disorder which causes painless discoloured patches of the hardened skin with no internal organ affected. It is also known as localized scleroderma or circumscribed scleroderma. It is a progressive and connective tissue disorder and you can have wide variety of symptoms associated with it.

As per the study, Morphea is more common in women as compared to men. It was found that Morphea cases as many as 3 times in women than in men. An early diagnosis is very important to create chances for most successful results of the treatment. Only if the symptoms are closely speculated can you track the onset of Morphea.

morphea an uncommon skin disorder

Symptoms and Causes

The exact cause of Morphea is still unknown. However it is believed that both human immune system reactions and environmental effects play a vital role in its occurrence. Morphoea is associated with increased collagen and extracellular matrix in the dermis but it is not clear how this occurs.

Some dermatologists believe that it seems to happen when a child’s immune system is hyperactive. In this case, the body makes too much collagen, and the skin and underlying tissues become inflamed. It is important to note that Morphea is not contagious.

Morphea can sometimes be seen after –

  • Suffering injury, including injections and radiotherapy
  • Developing measles or other viral infections on skin
  • Repeated trauma to an affected area

Tests and Diagnosis

The diagnosis for possible Morphea case is done in 2 parts –

  • Doctor examines the affected area and identify if it is a possible true case of Morphea. Ideally discoloration and skin firmness is a good indicator to identify this skin disorder.
  • Tissue sample is taken from affected area for laboratory examination. It usually considered for CBC count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and auto-antibodies.

Available Treatments

Morphea does not have any known cure and in most of the cases goes away without any treatment but it is important to check and try methods to control the spread of Morphea. The earlier treatment is started, the effective it becomes usually. The type of treatment depends on the severity and extent of the disease you have. Here are some of the tried and effectively proven treatments –

Light Therapy

A special treatment which uses ultraviolet light (phototherapy) to improve skin appearance soon after the skin changes starts to appear.

Drugs that Fights Inflammation

Your doctor may prescribe you some drugs to prevent inflammation and prevent thickening of collagen. Similarly some drugs are also prescribed to control the immune system.

A form of Vitamin D

This may help in softening the skin patches caused by Morphea.

Physical Therapy

This form of treatment is used to strengthen and improve mobility of your joints. 

Morphea is an uncommon skin disease and thus adequate studies and experiment has not been performed as yet. It may also be under reported as many physicians may not be aware of it due to lack of prominent symptoms. When you observe any signs of discoloration or skin firmness or any of above symptoms, it is advised to consult your derma-specialist and get it diagnosed at the earliest.