Behcet’s syndrome has been around for quite a long time. It was mentioned as far back as the 5th century. In fact, Hippocrates who is known as the father of medicine was the first to describe Behcet’s syndrome. Can you imagine that in all these years, the exact cause of Behcet’s syndrome is still yet unknown? No one has been able to find out the reason for those repetitive sores, ulcers and eye inflammation that characterize Behcet’s syndrome. It is even more shocking that there is still no official cure for Behcet’s syndrome. However, the symptoms can be managed by following the Behcet syndrome diet.
Behcet’s syndrome usually affects a wide range of organs and tissues. It affects both the eyes and the mouth; the lungs as well as the genitals; all the joints and the gastrointestinal tract. Even the brain is not left out. More so, Behcet’s syndrome does not resolve easily. The symptoms may go for some time, then flare up suddenly again. The symptoms may wax and wane over a period of weeks or even longer. It is such a bewildering disease. The conventional and natural approach to managing Behcet’s syndrome is making dietary changes.
Signs and Symptoms of Behcet’s Disease
Behcet’s syndrome has some strange characteristics. Firstly, its signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. Secondly, it may go away and then later recur on its own. That’s why it has been difficult to establish a clear pattern on its symptoms.
This notwithstanding, there are some main symptoms to watch out for if you have Behcet’s syndrome. These symptoms may occur largely because your blood vessels are inflamed. Doctors call this vasculitis.
The five major symptoms to watch out for are as follows:
- Painful mouth sores that keep coming back: This is the most common sign that you may have Behcet’s syndrome. The sores usually start as a swelling in the mouth. But with time, they become painful wounds that look like canker sores. Within one to three weeks, the sore would heal but it usually would come back again.
- Painful genital sores that keep coming back: Red, open sores on your genitals are another pointer that you may have Behcet’s syndrome. For men, these sores occur most commonly on the scrotum. For women, the most common location is on the vulva.
- Inflammation of the eye: This is a symptom that also comes and goes. Doctors call it uveitis. It means that your eye is red, swollen, and painful. This symptom is usually accompanied by blurred vision. It can affect either one eye or both eyes.
- General body pain, particularly joint pain: The knee joint is usually the most affected in people with Behcet’s syndrome. Other joints like the elbows, ankles, and wrists may also be affected. The painful joint is most of the time also swollen. This also resolves within one to three weeks.
- Skin problems: This is very common. In fact, it is one of the hallmarks of Behcet’s syndrome. However, skin symptoms usually vary from person to person.
Some people may develop skin sores that look like acne. Some, on the other hand, complain of skin nodules. These nodules look like boils, but they are usually red and tender. They occur mostly on the lower legs.
Other less common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding. Inflammation in the brain may also lead to fever and headache. In some severe cases, brain inflammation may even lead to a stroke.
How Behcet Syndrome Diet Can Help Your Symptoms
There is no known cure for Behcet’s syndrome. However, the symptoms can be managed by natural remedies, mostly food. Sometimes though, your doctor may recommend medications to relief you of pain when your inflammation flares up.
Some of the natural remedies that can help you control your symptoms are as follows:
1. Major on an anti-inflammatory diet
Since symptoms sometimes vary from person to person, dietary changes must be tailored for each individual. However, pretty much everyone would need anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is the main problem with Behcet’s syndrome.
If you have Behcet’s syndrome, then you must eat to beat inflammation. Eat a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. They are good for controlling inflammation.
Healthy fats also help to control inflammation. So, you should include them in your diet. Avocados, walnuts, olives, and olive oil are a few examples of healthy fats.
Refined sugars can flare up inflammation. So you should avoid refined sugars, as well as all other refined sources of carbohydrates. Whole grains like barley, bulgur, quinoa, steel cut oats, and amaranth are good alternatives.
2. Get rid of unhealthy foods
Certain foods generally compromise your health. You must avoid these kinds of food. The goal for doing this is to optimize your health and boost your immune system.
Examples of unhealthy food you must avoid are:
- Processed foods
- Dairy products
- Gluten and excess sugar
- Raw and undercooked meats and fish
Limit your drinks to water and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Alcohol, caffeine, and sweetened beverages can trigger inflammation. They can also worsen digestive problems.
A Few Other Tips for Managing Behcet’s Syndrome
Diet alone might not be enough to give full relief from your symptoms. There are a few other things that you must pay attention to. They are as follows:
1. Take care of your oral health
Behcet’s syndrome makes you more vulnerable to mouth sores. For that reason, you must pay special attention to your oral health. Make sure you maintain good oral health.
To start with, make sure you brush and floss regularly. It would be better if you use a probiotic toothpaste. This kind of toothpaste helps to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the mouth.
Your oral hygiene will be further enhanced if you use oil pulling for your flossing. Avoid anything that can irritate your mouth. This will include all spicy, salty, or crusty nutrients. Acid nutrients and alcoholic beverages also belong to this category.
2. Stay physically active
Physical exercise is like an all-rounder. It helps in managing many health conditions, and Behcet’s syndrome is not left out. Physical activities would help you in managing joint pains. So, make sure you stay physically active. You should, in fact, try to do exercise routines daily.
3. Avoid stress
Stress and fatigue can worsen your symptoms. When you’re stressed up, your immune system becomes weaker. This can lead to a flare-up of your symptoms.
Try your possible best to avoid stress and make sure you rest well. Make sure you sleep for not less than 6 hours every night. A good night’s sleep is actually 8 hours of sleep. It will be better if you can get 8 hours of sleep every day.
4. See an eye doctor
You should see an eye doctor if you have eye inflammation. When eye inflammation is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Possible complications of eye inflammation include decreased vision and blindness.
Although there is no known cure for Behcet’s syndrome, you can manage the symptoms and live a normal life. You can do this by combining the Behcet syndrome diet with the tips given above.