Behcet’s Disease 

Behcet’s Disease  –  Know It All!


Behcet’s Disease — Know It All!

All you need to know about the Silk Road Disease.

Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!

Here we come with Behcet’s Disease today!

What is Behcet’s disease?

Behcet’s Disease
Behcet’s Disease

Behcet’s Disease is also known as Silk Road Disease.

Behcet’s disease is a chronic condition that causes mouth or genital sores, and parts of the eye are inflamed. In some people, the disease also results in arthritis (swollen, painful, stiff joints), skin problems, and digestive tract, brain, or spinal cord inflammation.

The disease is named after Dr Hulusi Behçet, the doctor who first described it.


Doctors can use multiple medications for pain relief, symptoms recovery, and complications prevention. You would possibly reach a period of remission (a symptom-disappearance). Treatment does not relieve symptoms in some patients and there may be progressively more severe effects, such as eye disease. Some months or years after the first signs of Behçet ‘s disease, severe symptoms will occur.

Who Develops Back Pain?

Anyone can develop Behcet’s disease, but it is more common among:

  • People in the Middle East, Asia, and Japan, as compared with the United States.
  • Women than men in the United States.
  • Men than women in Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
  • Behcet’s disease tends to develop in people in their twenties or thirties, but people of all ages can develop this disease.

What causes Behcet’s / Silk Road disease?

No one knows what causes the disease of Behcet, and that is not contagious. Researchers think that one or more genes in the immune system produce an abnormality which makes you more at risk for the disease. This abnormality can mistakenly cause your body’s immune system to attack its own blood vessels, rather than attacking foreign substances such as germs. Scientists do not know what causes this attack, but it could be anything like bacteria or a virus in the atmosphere. The blood vessels get inflamed, causing disease symptoms.

Interesting Statistics:

Genetic factors are thought to play a role in susceptibility to Behcet’s disease, with the human leukocyte antigen HLA B51 gene region of the genome, accounting for about 20 percent of genetic risk for the disease.

What are the symptoms of Behcet’s / Silk Road disease?

Behcet’s Disease
Behcet’s Disease

Behçet ‘s disease has a different impact on every person. You can only have mild symptoms, such as mouth sores or genital sores. Fever, stiff neck, and headaches could be signs of a more serious problem: meningitis (membrane inflammation that covers the brain and spinal cord). Typically these more severe symptoms occur months or years after the first signs of Behçet ‘s disease.

Symptoms may last forever, or can come and go in a couple of weeks. Symptoms usually appear, vanish, and then reappear again. When you have signs you are going through a “flare.” Each flare may have different symptoms. You should keep a record of when and when symptoms do occur. It will help your doctor identify and monitor your illness, particularly because many diseases look like the disease of Behçet.

Common symptoms of the Silk Road Disease are as follows:

  • Behcet’s disease affects almost all people with mouth sores. They are probably the first symptom you noticed, and may occur long before there are any other symptoms. Usually the sores have a red border, and several may appear simultaneously. They can be painful, and difficult to eat. In 10 to 14 days the mouth sores go away but often come back. Small sores usually heal without scarring, but may scar out larger sores.
  • Over half of all people with Behçet ‘s disease suffer from genital sores. They usually appear on men’s scrotum, and in women’s vulva. The sores are similar to the sores of the mouth, and can be painful. They can cause scarring following multiple outbreaks.
  • Problems with the skin are a typical symptom of the Behçet disease. The sores are red and swollen, and may appear like a lump or bruise filled with pus. Typically they appear on the legs and on the upper torso.
  • Inflammation of the middle or back of the eye (the uvea) and the iris occurs in over half of all persons with Behçet ‘s disease. This is more common among men than women, and typically starts from the first symptoms within 2 years. Blurred vision can be caused by eye inflammation. In rare cases it causes redness and discomfort. If you have these symptoms, you should tell your doctor right away, since continued eye inflammation can cause loss of vision.
  • Sometimes, some people with Behçet ‘s disease form blood clots in inflamed veins, usually on the legs. The area affected is potentially painful, swollen, and warm. Blood clots can be responsible for severe health problems. So be sure to tell your doctor about all of these signs immediately. Some people may have problems with the arteries, such as aneurysms (balloon-like artery wall swelling).
  • Sometimes, some people with Behçet ‘s disease form blood clots in inflamed veins, usually on the legs. The area affected is potentially painful, swollen, and warm. Blood clots can be responsible for severe health problems. So be sure to tell your doctor about all of these signs immediately. Some people may have problems with the arteries, such as aneurysms (balloon-like artery wall swelling).
  • For some cases the inflammation and sores of the digestive tract occur. Symptoms can include pain in the stomach, diarrhoea and/or bleeding. Your doctor will have to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn‘s illness.

How is Behcet’s disease diagnosed?

  • There is no specific test for Behcet’s disease, which makes it hard to diagnose. Symptoms that help your doctor diagnose the disease include:
  • Mouth sores at least three times in 12 months.

Behcet’s Disease
Behcet’s Disease

Any two of the following symptoms:

  • Genital sores that keep coming back.
  • Skin sores, or sores that develop after your doctor pricks your skin with a needle. Only up to half of people with the disease will see a bump appear about 1 to 2 days later.
  • Eye inflammation with loss of vision.

Your doctor would need to rule out other disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and reactive arthritis, that have similar symptoms. Diagnosis can take some time, as it can take years for such signs to appear.

Once you get treated you may see various physicians. An eye doctor will be helping to determine eye inflammation-related health problems. A dermatologist may be examining your mouth, genital sores, or skin sores to help rule out other conditions.

What is the treatment for Behcet’s disease / Silk Road disease?

While Behçet ‘s disease does not get healed, you can manage symptoms with proper medication, rest, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Treatments make you feel more comfortable and prevent serious health effects like arthritis disabling and blindness. For your specific symptoms, you may need a variety of treatments. Make sure you tell all your doctors about the medicines you are taking so that your doctors can coordinate your treatment.


One or more medicines may help treat the various symptoms of Behcet’s disease:

  • Rinses, gels, ointments, or creams are applied directly to sores to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Corticosteroids are prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation from skin sores or of the joints, eye, or brain and spinal cord. It is important to see your doctor on a regular basis to watch for any side effects from these drugs.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs help control an overactive immune system, reduce inflammation, and lessen the number of disease flares. These medicines are very strong and can have serious side effects, so it’s important to see your doctor regularly if you take these drugs.

Behcet’s Disease
Behcet’s Disease

Rest And Exercise:

Rest during which you have symptoms of Behçet ‘s disease is necessary. When the symptoms have changed or vanished, moderate exercise, such as swimming or walking, is recommended. This may help maintain strong and flexible joints.


“Pharmacotherapy for Behcet’s syndrome”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD001084. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd001084. ISSN 1465–1858. PMC 7032645. PMID 10796413.

“Behcet Disease: Overview — eMedicine Dermatology”. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2009.


Gopala Krishna Varshith,

Content Developer & Editor,