About Behçet's Disease

Behçet's disease is a chronic condition in which problems with regulation of the body's immune system produce unpredictable outbreaks of unwanted and exaggerated inflammation. Symptoms include recurrent ulcers in the mouth and on the genitals and eye inflammation. Other organs may also be affected. Behçet's disease is reported to vary over time with periods of remission. Symptoms can be managed with a range of topical or systemic medications. 

While the cause of Behçet and what triggers its outbreak after remission is unknown, the following features are well-recognised with this disorder:

  • Behçet is an autoimmune disorder.
  • The four most common symptoms are mouth sores, genital sores, inflammation inside of the eye and skin problems.
  • Behçet's disease tends to develop in people in their 20s or 30s, but people of all ages can develop this disease.
  • Behçet’s occurs with equal frequency in men and women, but affects young men (age 20–25 yrs) with greater severity.
  • Inflammation inside of the eye (uveitis, retinitis and iritis) occurs in more that half of those with Behçet's disease and can cause blurred vision, pain and redness. Other symptoms may include arthritis, blood clots and inflammation in the big vessels of the body (i.e., pulmonary arteries), central nervous system and digestive organs.

That is what we know of clinically. But on a personal level, we know that it can be a difficult journey to obtain a diagnosis and adequately treat this condition. Here is our helpful advice – we hope it serves you well.

  • You are your own best advocate. Seek out supportive clinical staff and/or specialists that will help you meet your medical needs. 
  • Be proactive in keeping communication open between your specialists and keep your medical notes on hand during appointments.
  • Behçet’s is not well understood and you may have unique needs that haven’t been thoroughly considered in the clinic, so don’t be afraid to speak up. See our "Did You Know?" page – we will try to keep this updated with new information as we hear about it. (And if you learn something new that isn't posted here let us know so we can add it to the list.)