What are the symptoms of lupus in women?
Lupus is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people globally, despite gender or age. Many symptoms of lupus in women are similar to the ones in men, however, since the condition affects mostly women, there are also distinctive symptoms. Lupus symptoms in women include facial rash, photo-sensitivity, poor circulation, inflammation, and other distinguishing factors, which we will discuss in this article.
Part of the autoimmune diseases category, lupus begins its destructive existence by making the human body unable to distinguish its own cells from foreign objects. Under constant attacks from the immune system, various internal organs suffer excessive inflammation.
Lupus Symptoms in Women
It is important to understand that lupus symptoms in women do not differ much from the ones in men. However, the condition seems to manifest more aggressively in men, especially in the internal organs.
According to doctors, fatigue, swollen joints, and the facial butterfly rash are the three distinctive signs and symptoms of lupus in women. Although the first two also characterize different types of arthritis, the butterfly-shaped rash is a clear indication of the presence of lupus.
Because of the fact that the symptoms of lupus disease are both various and numerous, the condition is often misleading. In fact, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) claims that a certain diagnosis of this condition can be made only if at least four of the eleven lupus symptoms exist in the patient. These eleven criteria are:
- the lupus butterfly rash,
- kidney disease,
- ulcers or sore mouth,
- scaly rashes on different body areas,
- seizures or other neurological disorders,
- poor circulation or a reduced number of blood cells,
- additional positive blood tests,
- inflammation of the lungs or heart,
- swollen joints
- the confirmation of a positive antinuclear antibody test.
Joint pain and photo-sensitivity are probably the most common symptoms of lupus in women. If join pain might lead affected women to the conclusion that they suffer from arthritis, the increased sensitivity experienced when exposed to sunlight is a conclusive lupus characteristic. A direct consequence of sun exposure is the appearance of a skin rash mainly on the face, hands, and chest.
Doctors call the manifestations of this condition lupus flares, due to its subtle behavior. In women, these flares manifest as weight gain, foamy urine, fever, oral ulcers, hair loss, depression, seizures, and even memory loss. Abnormal menstrual cycles are another typical lupus symptom in women. There have been reported cases when women suffering from lupus have been menstruating for 10 to 15 days. This aspect influenced many specialists in advising women who suffer from lupus to avoid becoming pregnant.
Medications to Suppress Lupus Symptoms in Women
Although there is no known cure for lupus at this time, many treatments that focus on its symptoms are available. Anti-inflammatory medication is frequently prescribed as a way to slow down the progression of the disease and various corticoid creams are used to ease the painful sensation of the skin rash and to make it less visible.
Lupus Natural Treatments
Along with these assisted treatments, which were developed to suppress lupus symptoms in women, doctors also recommend changes in diet, physical exercise and minimum exposure to sunlight as effective actions against lupus.