Diseases Home > Behcet's Disease

Behcet's disease is a condition that causes symptoms such as inflammation in the eye, ulcers on the genitals, and ulcers in the mouth. Skin problems, arthritis, and inflammation of the digestive tract and spinal cord are other possible complications of the disease. Although there is no cure, people can often control symptoms with proper medication, rest, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

What Is Behcet's Disease?

Behcet's disease is a chronic condition that causes canker sores or ulcers in the mouth and on the genitals, and inflammation in parts of the eye. In some people, Behcet's disease also results in:
  • Arthritis (swollen, painful, stiff joints)
  • Skin problems
  • Inflammation of the digestive tract, brain, and spinal cord.
Behcet's (BAY-sets) disease was first described in 1937 by Dr. Hulusi Behçet, a dermatologist in Turkey.

Who Does It Affect?

Behcet's disease is common in the Middle East, Asia, and Japan; it is rare in the United States. In Middle Eastern and Asian countries, the disease affects more men than women. In the United States, the opposite is true. Behcet's disease tends to develop in people in their 20s or 30s, but people of all ages can develop the condition.

Cause of Behcet's Disease

Research scientists are not sure of the causes of Behcet's disease. At this point, scientists think that genetics and some environmental factors may be possible factors in the development of the condition.
Scientists do know that nearly all of the symptoms of Behcet's disease are due to an inflammation of the blood vessels, but they aren't sure what causes this inflammation. These scientists also know that this disease is not contagious, meaning it is not spread from one person to another.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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