Both diseases cause mouth blisters that break easily, and then form painful sores (ulcers). In about half of all cases, blisters and ulcers develop later on the skin, too. Sores on the skin may come and go.
Pemphigus is a rare disease. It occurs mostly in middle-aged and older people, but may occur at any age. There are several types of pemphigus. The most common is pemphigus vulgaris, which makes up 80% of all pemphigus cases. It is seen most often in people of Mediterranean descent and in Eastern European Jews. However, it can affect people of all races and cultures.
There are also several types of pemphigoid. The oral form is known as mucus membrane pemphigoid. It is most common in women between ages 40 and 70. There are no other known risk factors for pemphigoid.
People with pemphigus often develop these sores first in the throat or mouth. The sores can occur anywhere in the mouth. People with pemphigoid tend to have sores only on their gums. Their sores are flat and red, and peel easily.
People with pemphigoid also may be given steroids. Other medicines can be given if steroids don't work. These include dapsone, tetracycline (sold under many brand names) and nicotinamide (a form of niacin).
If you have been diagnosed with pemphigus or pemphigoid in the past, call your doctor if your condition has changed.
However, complications can still occur because of the high doses of some medicines used to control the sores. It is very important that you inform all health care professionals of all the medicines you take. This should include over-the-counter medicines and "natural" medicines and vitamins. All of these can affect your health.