Behcets Disease

What is Behcet's disease?

Behcet's disease, is a rare and poorly understood condition that results in inflammation of the blood vessels and tissues. We see it in sexual health as ulcers appear on the genital region.

The actual cause is unknown although it is likely to be an auto immune condition. It is more common in people from certain countries in the world and there are certain genes that have been linked to the condition too.

Ulcers in the mouth and genital area with other symptoms

There may be a family history.

Steroid creams or tablets can be very helpful

Patients are often managed by other teams

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of Behcet's disease include:

  • genital and mouth ulcers
  • red, painful eyes and blurred vision
  • acne-like spots
  • headaches
  • painful, stiff and swollen joints.

How is it diagnosed?

We may do a skin biopsy to determine the diagnosis and some special blood tests to look for inflammation markers.

Other tests may be necessary to check for signs of the condition, or to help rule out other causes, including:

urine tests, scans, such as X-rays, a computerised tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, eye review.

The blood test has a second important diagnostic finding in some people – this is known as the pathergy test –a particular red spot appears within the next day or two; people with Behçet's disease often have particularly sensitive skin.

What is the treatment?

Corticosteroids – maybe topical in ointments or tablet form.

Immunosuppressants and biological therapies – these are often given of there are other symptoms outside of the genital region.

Useful information

For more information visit the NHS website.