Aaron F. Cohen, MD; Jeffrey D. Tiemstra, MD

Disclosures

J Am Board Fam Med. 2002;15(3) 

In This Article

Pathophysiology

Although the exact pathogenesis of rosacea is unknown, the pathologic process is well described. The erythema of rosacea is caused by dilation of the superficial vasculature of the face.[1] It is thought that atrophy of the papillary dermis provides for easier visualization of the dermal capillaries.[9] Edema can develop as a result of the increased blood flow in the superficial vasculature. This edema might contribute to the late-stage fibroplasia and rhinophyma.[1] It has been suggested that Helicobacter pylori infection is a cause of rosacea. H pylori, originally implicated as the cause of gastric ulcers, has more recently been associated with urticaria, Henoch-Schödonlein purpura, and Sjödogren syndrome. In a 1999 study, however, Bamford et al[10] found there was no benefit in the eradication of H pylori compared with placebo in the treatment of rosacea, although both subjects and controls experienced improvement in the rosacea symptoms. Thus the role of H pylori in rosacea remains uncertain, and the cause of rosacea remains elusive.

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