Major Diagnostic Symptoms
Nearly everyone, about 95% ( remember the other 5% are the exception
to the rule ) with Behcet's suffer from these. Mouth sores (known
as oral aphthosis and aphthous stomatitis) affect almost all patients
with BehÁetís disease. They are often the first symptom that a person
notices and may occur long before any other symptoms appear. The
sores usually have a red border and several may appear at the same
time. They can be painful and make eating difficult. Mouth sores
go away in 10 to 14 days but often come back. Small sores usually
heal without scarring, but larger ones may scar. These sores can
also be present in the throat and digestive tract.
Affecting more that half of all people with BehÁetís disease, most
genital sores appear on the scrotum in men and vulva in women (cervical,
vaginal and labial ulcers may be painful in some women and may cause
discharge). Men can have swollen or tender testicles, and can have
swelling inside the scrotum sac (epidydimitis). The sores look similar
to mouth sores and may be painful. After several outbreaks, they
may cause scarring.
BehÁetís disease causes various skin sores that look like red bumps
on a black-and-blue mark. The sores are red, raised, and typically
appear on the legs and upper torso. In some people, sores or lesions
may appear when the skin is scratched or pricked. When doctors suspect
that a person may have BehÁetís disease, they may perform a test
called pathergy (see below) in which they prick the skin with a
small needle: 1 to 2 days after the test, people with BehÁetís disease
may develop a bump where the doctor pricked the skin. Doctors disagree
about the usefulness of a pathergy test because BehÁetís patients
in the United States rarely have a skin reaction. However, more
than half of the patients in Middle Eastern countries and Japan
do have a reaction.
Inflammation of the middle part of the eye (the uvea), including
the iris, occurs in more than half of all people with BehÁetís disease.
This symptom is more common among men than women and typically begins
within 2 years of the first symptoms. Eye inflammation can cause
blurred vision and, rarely, pain and redness. Because partial loss
of vision or blindness can result if the eye frequently becomes
inflamed, patients should report these symptoms to their doctor
Prompt treatment is vital if you experience 'ANY' change
in your vision. Some changes are not physically noticeable, and
a quick and painless examination by an eye specialist can determine
what, if any, activity is going on inside your eyes.
The two main symptoms are called Iritis (inflammation on the outside
of the eye), or Uveitis (inflammation on the inside of the eye).
One other thing to monitor is the eye pressure, (glaucoma) as the
drops which may be prescribed can cause the eye pressure to increase.
A positive pathergy test
- Whereby pricking the skin with a
sterile needle or injecting a sterile saline solution under the
skin will develop a small papule or pustule at the site of the
prick or injection. This test is not always positive even when
Behcets Disease and inflammation are active, but may be considered
a positive sign or symptom when a positive reaction does occur.
Other symptoms helpful in diagnosis:
Inflammation of the joints occurs in more than half of all patients
with BehÁetís disease. Arthritis causes pain, swelling, and
stiffness in the joints, especially the knees, ankles, wrists,
and elbows. Arthritis that results from BehÁetís disease usually
lasts a few weeks and may not cause permanent damage to the
BehÁetís disease can cause inflammation and ulceration (sores)
in the digestive tract and lead to stomach pain, diarrhoea,
constipation, and vomiting. Because these symptoms are very
similar to symptoms of other diseases of the digestive tract,
such as a peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, and especially Crohnís
disease, careful evaluation is essential.
Depression and tiredness
As is the case with most chronic diseases, the effects can make
you feel depressed. Lethargy and exhaustion are also common
symptoms. However, in my experience and contact with other sufferers,
this does usually pass in time. I think it is caused by your
body trying to fight the disease, and over the month the body
becomes used to having the condition, and so your energy levels
started to increase. Tiredness, is another of the bodies mechanisms,
and in this case it is where the body is trying to repair itself.
Sleep is the time when this process is carried out!
Central Nervous system problems. (CNS)
BehÁetís disease affects the central nervous system in about
10 percent of all patients with the disease. The central nervous
system includes the brain and spinal cord and helps the body
to co-ordinate movements and process information. BehÁetís disease
can cause meningoencephalitisó inflammation of the brain and
the thin membrane that covers and protects it. People with meningoencephalitis
may have fever, headache, stiff neck, and difficulty co-ordinating
movement, and should report any of these symptoms to their doctor
immediately. If this condition is left untreated, a stroke can
Should you notice any/or all of the following symptoms associated
with CNS involvement, the symptoms should be reported to your
physician/s immediately, no matter how recent or minor they
may appear, as they can develop into something more serious
and should be investigated as soon as possible, so that the
effects can be reduced to a minimum.
The CNS involvement in Behcet's can mimic Multiple Sclerosis
- Central Nervous system.
- Headaches. Can be in addition to having a stiff neck.
- The sensation of feeling light-headed and of experiencing
- Periods of blurred vision and difficulty in focusing.
- Unexplained paralysis, numbness, disability of limbs, impairments
and gross fatigue.
- Experience problems with your sense of balance and movement..
Thrombosis (Blood clots)
A blood clot in the surface vein is called phlebitis. This is
characterised by hot patches and areas in the infected limb.
You may noticed the area looking red and it may be hot to the
touch. It can also feel like a hot rod of iron is being passed
through your vein.
In the deeper veins the clot or clots are called Deep Vein Thrombosis
(DVT'S). These are usually characterised by a deep throbbing
pain alongside swelling of the limb involved. The swelling occurs
because the circulation is being hindered. However in my case
on two occasions, I did not experience any deep throbbing or
pain, just the swelling of the limb.
Both types of clots can appear anywhere where there is a blood
supply, including the lungs, eyes and brain.
For a more detailed list of symptoms click
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