What Are Skin Disorders of the Esophagus?

Skin disorders of the esophagus, sometimes referred to as dermatologic-esophageal interactions, are rare complications of autoimmune conditions that affect skin elsewhere on the body. They include:

  • Bullous pemphigoid: This is a rare autoimmune skin condition that causes the formation of large, fluid-filled blisters on skin that flexes, such as at the joints and on the mucous membranes of the mouth and esophagus. It occurs most frequently in people over age 60. If the blisters rupture and become infected, it can lead to sepsis, a dangerous infection of the blood.
  • Cicatricial Pemphigoid: Also called mucous membrane pemphigoid, this is a rare autoimmune disease that creates blisters on the mucous membranes of the eye, respiratory system and upper gastrointestinal system. This condition usually causes scarring of the effected tissue.
  • Pemphigus vulgaris: This is a rare autoimmune disorder that results in superficial blisters on the lining of the esophagus that are easily ruptured.
  • Lichen planus: Lichen planus is a common skin condition that rarely causes inflammation on the lining of the esophagus. It is so rarely reported that correct diagnosis can be delayed. Lichen planus most often affects middle-aged or older women who have lichen planus of the mouth. In a small number of cases, it is associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus.

These conditions appear to be non-infectious and cannot be spread to another individual.