Pyoderma Gangrenosum

What is Pyoderma Gangrenosum?

Pyoderma Gangrenosum is a rare condition that causes inflammation and sores on the skin.

There are two types of Pyoderma gangrenosum: Classic/typical occurs on the lower body and sores are deeper, while atypical is lighter and sores are often on the hands and arms, and sometimes the face.

About one person in 100,000 have pyoderma gangrenosum. About 50 percent of people with the disease also have inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, or another autoimmune condition. If you are over age 40, you’re more likely than a younger person to develop pyoderma gangrenosum.

Cuts or wounds to the skin can trigger an outbreak of pyoderma gangrenosum.

What are the Symptoms of Pyoderma Gangrenosum?

Pyoderma gangrenosum usually begins with small, red bumps that look like bug bites. These smaller sores can grow and merge into larger sores that may be painful. You may have joint pain and body weakness if you also suffer from pyoderma gangrenosum.

The sores may last for weeks, become infected and could leave scars on the skin. Patients with the sores may be miserable and feel unable to maintain regular social activity.

How is Pyoderma Gangrenosum Treated?

Corticosteriods may help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with pyoderma gangrenosum. Because the condition is connected to some autoimmune disorders, medications that suppress immune system functions may be prescribed. Pain medication can help with discomfort.

You should take steps to carefully treat and dress the wounds to prevent scarring. Moistened bandages and elasticized wrap can keep the wounds from growing and getting deeper.

Even after successful treatment, patients may get additional sores, and they may occur at any time.

Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
August 24, 2017