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Your QuestionCan a mother pass morphea on to her child if it is active during the pregnancy?
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Morphea (mor-FEE-ah) refers to localized patches of scleroderma. The first signs of the disease are reddish patches of skin that thicken into firm, oval-shaped areas. The center of each patch becomes ivory colored with violet borders. These patches sweat very little and have little hair growth. Patches appear most often on the chest, stomach, and back. Sometimes they appear on the face, arms, and legs. In most cases, morphea improves spontaneously over time (typically 3 to 5 years); however, affected people are often left with patches of darkened or discolored skin and, in rare cases, muscle damage. The cause of this condition is unknown. Management is based on the signs and symptoms present in each person and includes the use of corticosteroids.
Last updated: 2/10/2016
The exact cause of morphea is unknown. It is not infectious. It is not hereditary, though, similar problems may present in other family members. It's believed that a reaction of the immune system plays a role in the development of this rare condition. Experts have explored a possible connection between morphea and infection, such as measles or chickenpox, but recent research doesn't support this theory. Other factors that may be associated with the onset of morphea include radiation therapy or repeated trauma to the affected area.
Last updated: 1/28/2010
Although scientists don't know exactly what causes morphea, they are certain that people cannot catch it from or transmit it to others. In addition, although genes seem to put certain people at risk for morphea (and other forms of scleroderma) and play a role in its course, the disease is not passed from parent to child like some genetic diseases.
Last updated: 1/28/2010
- Scleroderma. National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). 2006; http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed 1/28/2010.
- What is Scleroderma?. Scleroderma Research Foundation. 2006; http://www.srfcure.org/for-patients/what-is-scleroderma. Accessed 1/28/2010.
- Morphea. MayoClinic.com. 2008; http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/morphea/DS00718/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print. Accessed 1/28/2010.
- Localized morphea. Orphanet. 2010; http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/Disease_Search.php?lng=EN&data_id=12000.
- Localized Scleroderma. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/DocServer/Localized.pdf?docID=317. Accessed 6/23/2011.
- Morphea. MayoClinic.com. May 6, 2010; http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/morphea/DS00718/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print. Accessed 6/23/2011.