Ms R (name hidden for privacy) has sought my opinion on an important decision of her life. Her boyfriend for 2 years has just told her that he has got vitiligo spots on some unexposed body parts. He apologized to her for hiding this ‘important’ fact for so long fearing breakup. Although she has given a lukewarm response to him as if its not a big deal to make him feel better, but, she is really upset and seriously seeking answers to the below questions:
- Is Vitiligo dangerous or contagious or both? Will she or her boyfriend’s life would be affected by vitiligo if they go along and get married in the future?
- Is Vitiligo going to affect their kids also as it is known to be a hereditary problem?
As I have already said, it is almost an act of ‘cruelty’ to hide about such a life-long skin challenge from someone you are planning to spend your whole life with. The trust is the foundation of a long-term relationship such as marriage and keeping such secrets from the partner can damage the trust badly and it may take a long time to rebuild it. There are numerous incidences where keeping the other party under dark about Vitiligo, Psoriasis, & other chronic skin problems have resulted in marriage failures in the form of divorce, annulment and legal separations.
Having said that, we must appreciate your boyfriend for coming up with the truth before entering into a formal matrimonial alliance.
Read more: Vitiligo and Marriage – An overview
Now, let me bring forward my thoughts on your genuine queries.
Vitiligo is a non-contagious and non-fatal skin condition
Vitiligo (also known as Leucoderma in some part of the world) is a painless skin condition which is neither contagious nor fatal in nature.
- It is completely non communicable skin condition that doesn’t transmit from one person to another by living together or having sexual relationship.
- It is not life-threatening in nature.
Thus, apart from affecting the skin color, vitiligo doesn’t pose any serious threat to a person’s health or the people around.
Vitiligo and Medical science
According to the medical science, Vitiligo is an autoimmune health problem, just like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Autoimmune ⇒ Auto + Immune
The immune system becomes faulty, confused and goes into the ‘auto’ mode. It starts attacking body’s own healthy tissues by mistake considering them foreign invaders.
In case of diabetes, the faulty immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
In case of vitiligo, the immune system attacks the skin and destroys the cells that gives natural color to the skin.
Here, you can observe that although the vitiligo symptoms are visible on your skin, the real cause lies within.
Is there a cure of Vitiligo?
No, the medical world hasn’t found a cure for any of the autoimmune health problems. There are many treatment options to control further spreading of vitiligo symptoms. A reasonable, experienced health expert can help with partial re-pigmentation of skin to some extent. But, once and for all cure is not available.
Interestingly, there is a long list of common health problems which don’t have a cure, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, arthritis, thyroid and various liver and kidney related ailments. But, these problems are skin-deep, not visible on the physical level, whereas vitiligo can be noticed easily on the skin. That’s why, vitiligo attracts more public attention.
The lack of public awareness about the non-dangerous nature of vitiligo adds more fuel to the social problems of people with vitiligo. The stigma linked with vitiligo affects the relationship and marriage prospects the most. Probably, this is the reason your boyfriend abstained from sharing about vitiligo with you earlier.
Does vitiligo spread with time?
Well, it proves true for majority of the people due to stress and poor lifestyle and diet habits. Chronic stress is the #1 enemy of vitiligo. In today’s hectic daily routine, it is quite obvious to get stressed due to numerous challenges in the personal and professional life. Chronic stress coupled with poor diet and lifestyle practices is the perfect recipe for vitiligo spreading. The stress management techniques, including jogging, exercise, physical workout, yoga, pranayam, meditation can help a lot. Ensure enough sleep, stay away from excessive use of alcohol and consume a healthy diet rich in nutrient-rich wholesome foods.
Does Vitiligo make the skin sun-sensitive?
The vitiligo affected skin area causes burning sensation if exposed to the sun or excessive heat for longer duration. The intensity of this problem may vary from person to person depending on various factors.
Is Vitiligo hereditary? From father to child
All autoimmune problems, including vitiligo have a genetic component. In 15-25% cases, a person can develop vitiligo if any of the family members or close relatives have the same skin condition. (3, 4) But, it is all about chance and there is no way to confirm if kids will inherit the genetic condition from parents or not.
My boyfriend has Vitiligo. Should I marry him?
I have tried my best to give a comprehensive overview of dark and bright (non-dark) sides of vitiligo. Now, the decision is yours. Being a partner for 2 years, I am sure you have positive feelings for your boyfriend not just for looks, but, for his overall personality and good heart also. So, consider all these things in mind and take a decision in the best interest of you and your boyfriend.
Do take your parents in confidence
Marriage is a once in a lifetime relationship that not only involves you, but your family also. Thus, don’t take a solo ride; don’t bypass your parents in this crucial decision. Once you make up your mind of going ahead with the relationship after understanding everything about vitiligo, discuss with your parents and convince them. It will ensure they stand by your side and support you.
An effort to solve marriage woes of people with Vitiligo
At last but not least, I would like to share about DermaMatrimony.com. It is a genuine effort to help people with chronic skin challenges- Vitiligo, psoriasis, albinism, birthmark, burn mark, scar, & other challenges to get married in a respectable manner without compromising on dignity and self-esteem. Having a life-partner with similar life experiences leaves no space for doubt and fear of judgement. DermaMatrimony.com has already helped many people with vitiligo and other skin challenges to find their soulmates.