Morphea is considered as an autoimmune disease which is characterized by inflamed tissue due to deposition of collagen and hardening of the skin. The treatment plan will depend on the area affected and the type of morphea. Topical treatment can be effective in treating circumscribed morphea or linear morphea where only the skin is affected whereas generalized morphea is treated with phototherapy along with immune suppressant and corticosteroids.
What Is The Prognosis For Morphea?
The prognosis for morphea is good when proper treatment is taken. There is no absolute cure for the Morphea. The symptoms of Morphea subside on its own within 3 to 5 years of time. The treatment of Morphea includes only symptom management and itch control.
In severe cases of Morphea, there can be disfigurement of the affected body parts and in joints of hands and legs; it can result in impairment of mobility. This form of the disease is active and requires high-end treatment including
Corticosteroids (High-Dose Steroids). it can be used both oral and topical. It helps reducing inflammation and pain associated with Morphea in severe disease. Long-term use of corticosteroid results in thinning of the skin.
Methotrexate. It is an immune suppressant which reduces inflammation. The inflammation in the connective tissues results in thickening and hardening of the skin.
Physical Therapy. A regular exercise can help improve blood circulation. It is especially useful in patients with generalized Morphea which can be limiting the physical ability to move.
Phototherapy. Light therapy involves exposing the affected area to Ultraviolet light. It is used for the treatment of severe and widely spread Morphea. It may not be helpful in patients with deep Morphea due to limited penetrability.
Vitamin D. There are studies which support the use of Vitamin D for treating Morphea. Various brands are available in the market such as Calcipotriene, Dovonex and
Taclonex. It helps in softening of the hardened skin patches. The symptoms tend to improve in the first few months. The side effect of this meditation includes burning and rash.
After the symptoms subside, the area will not turn normal. At the end of completion of treatment, there will be a reduction of erythema, softening of the skin and regrowth of hair in the affected area. The improvement of symptoms can be monitored by taking photographs and analyzing them. While undergoing treatment people can expect prevention of further formation of lesions and its spread.
The scars of Morphea can affect your confidence. The Morphea will start as a small patch which gradually increases with time into an oval shape hardened skin. But you need not to worry as, after progression of the disease, the symptoms subside on its own. In case, the scars are disturbing and you are unable to cope with the situation consult a mental health professional for counseling. In case Morphea develops on head and neck, better to consult an ophthalmologist to avoid damage to the eyes.
The symptoms of Morphea can be reduced to an extent by applying moisturizers and sunscreen before going out. Avoid using soaps containing harsh chemicals. A rough dry skin worsens the symptoms of Morphea, use a dehumidifier to keep the surroundings moisturized especially in rough weather conditions. Try to keep the skin soft and moisturized all day long. Do not spend a long time in hot showers and sunny areas.
When Morphea is on a limited area and is not active, then phototherapy and Vitamin D cream can be optionally applied. For the active form of Morphea, doctors may prescribe methotrexate, an immune suppressant, and a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation or a combination of immune suppressant and corticosteroid depending upon the severity. Simple lifestyle changes such as the application of moisturizer and sunscreen, avoiding hot water baths and direct exposure to the sun can help in relieving symptoms. You have the option of leaving the area untreated as well, as the symptoms may subside on its own.