My Girlfriend has Vitiligo (Leucoderma). Should I marry her?
Many times, people ask me this question via email. So, I have decided to write a detailed answer here so that next time anyone ask me, I would simply share the link of this article with them.
Vitiligo, also known as Leucoderma, is a skin condition that refers to loss of skin color (skin de-pigmentation). Let me make it simple for you. All of us have specific skin cells in our body that gives natural color (pigment) to our skin. These skin cells are known as melanocytes. In case of vitiligo, these skin cells are damaged (destroyed) which results in skin de-pigmentation in the form of white patches on various parts of the skin.
Why these skin cells are destroyed?
It is basically due to an auto-immune reaction. The immune system in our body is responsible to protect against harmful bacteria, viruses and other disease causing threats. But, in case of vitiligo, it gets faulty, confused to go into the ‘auto’ mode and starts attacking body’s own skin cells which results in damage to melanocytes.
The exact cause of this autoimmune response is not defined yet. But, the various possible causes are:
- Poor gut health (indigestion, constipation, lack of healthy gut bacteria, low stomach acid)
- Poor liver health
- Genetic (hereditary)
- Skin injuries (and surgery)
- Overuse of antibiotics and steroids
- Infections such as strep throat
- Acute nutritional deficiencies
- Poor diet and lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol intake
As the exact cause is not known, hence, cure is also not available. Yes, you heard it right. Vitiligo doesn’t have a known cure as of now. A genuine, capable health expert can help you to manage (control) the further spreading of vitiligo lesions. In some cases, partial re-pigmentation also happens to bring back the lost color in some areas. But, complete cure is not possible.
A person can try alternative medicine systems (Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & others) for effective vitiligo management with minimal side effects. But, if someone is claiming ‘cure’, then it’s a blatant lie!
In most of the cases, the partial skin re-pigmentation happens temporarily for a few months and then, vitiligo patches appear again in the same areas. It doesn’t mean that you should stop trying for treatment, but, be realistic in your approach and don’t expect ‘miracles’.
Is Vitiligo Harmful?
Vitiligo is quite an innocent skin condition that just affects the physical appearance of a person without posing any serious health consequences. By nature, it is: –
- non-fatal. It doesn’t affect the life expectancy
- non-communicable. It doesn’t spread by living together, sharing personal items or having physical relationship. (1, 2, 3, 4)
In some cases, vitiligo affected areas of the person gets sensitive to sun rays or excessive heat and feel burning sensation if exposed to sunrays or excessive heat for longer duration of time.
Vitiligo has a weak genetic component
Due to lack of awareness, there is a ‘false’ belief in the general public that vitiligo is always passed on from parents to their kids. This is not correct!
The genetic component associated with vitiligo is quite weak. In around 15-20% cases only, a person develops vitiligo if any of the immediate family members (parents, siblings) or close relatives (grandparents, uncle-aunts, cousins) got vitiligo. (5, 6) Also, it is quite a random phenomenon and happens by chance.
But, to be on safer side, if you got vitiligo, then you can be cautious about your child’s health from the beginning. Ensure that your child follows a healthy diet, lifestyle habits and stays away from too much stress or anxiety. Suggest your child to maintain healthy body weight, stay away from smoking and alcohol and avoid highly stressful activities.
My Girlfriend has Vitiligo (Leucoderma). Should I marry her?
In the above paragraphs, I have given you a brief but comprehensive overview of vitiligo. If you do believe that real beauty is ‘skin-deep’ and those white patches on your girlfriend’s body doesn’t bother you, then go ahead and discuss about it with your parents.
Before discussing about this marriage proposal with your parents, please do understand the below long term consequences of vitiligo:
- Vitiligo may spread with time, especially childbirth. If it is a Cesarian section (child birth by surgery), then the chances are further high of vitiligo spreading. (7)
- Your future kid(s) may develop vitiligo. The chances are less (just 15-20%), but, still, it’s possible.
- Your wife may find it difficult to work in the kitchen for long hours as excessive heat can trouble her.
Take your parents into confidence
Marriage is not just between you and your girlfriend. But, it involves the two families also, particularly your family because after the marriage, your girlfriend will come to your house to live with your family. Hence, it is very important that your parents accept her along with her skin condition.
Adjusting in a new home can be very stressful and stress is not good for vitiligo. Hence, a supportive family, particularly the mother-in-law, can play a crucial role in helping her to settle down easily.
Marriage is not a joke. Take the call wisely
Having explained all this, I would leave this decision up to you whether to marry your girlfriend or not. If you are ready to spend the rest of your life with her after understanding all the long term consequences, then go ahead and convince your parents. But, if you have some doubts or something, then discuss your concerns with your girlfriend and take a wise decision by mutual consent. Marriage is not a Joke. It’s the matter of your whole life. Don’t experiment with it!
There are many documented evidences where vitiligo has become the ground for divorce or separation. Remember that an early breakup is far better than post marriage separation.
If you both marry with some doubts in mind and after marriage, these doubts create trouble in your lives, then it may prove disastrous because stress is the number enemy of vitiligo.
That’s why I support Derma Matrimony
DermaMatrimony.com is an online matrimonial marriage platform for people with chronic skin conditions, including vitiligo (leucoderma), psoriasis, albinism, dermatitis, burn, scar, & other skin conditions. On this platform, prospective brides and grooms with various skin conditions can find their life-partners with similar life experiences so that they can spend their lives happily without any feeling of insecurity or fear of judgement. Their families will also be supportive and accept them wholeheartedly.