Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Baffled by Behçet's Disease?

I have a good friend who suffers from Behçet's disease.  Are there any alternative medicines that would help?

Answer (Published 1/24/2007)

Behçet's (pronounced Bay-sets) is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes symptoms in various parts of the body, most commonly sores in the mouth and on the genital organs. More serious symptoms can include inflammation in the eyes and tissues inside the body. Because Behçet's is a multi-system disease that can involve all organs, it can even affect the central nervous system, causing memory loss and impaired speech, balance, and movement. The disease is rare in the United States (it's most common in the Middle East and Asia ), but Randy Horwitz, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine here at the University of Arizona, tells me that doctors at the clinic have seen several cases recently.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor - If you are interested in supplementing your diet but don't know where to start, take Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. It is free, and provides a personalized vitamin & supplement recommendation based on your health history. Visit today!

The cause of Behçet's is unknown but is likely to be a manifestation of autoimmunity, with blood vessels being the targets of an abnormal immune reaction. Treatment should be managed by a rheumatologist - a medical specialist who treats autoimmune diseases – to monitor the course of the disease and watch for signs of organ involvement.

Although there's no cure, symptoms can be controlled. Dr. Horwitz tells me that conventional anti-inflammatory drugs are the mainstay of treatment but that the patients treated at our clinic have done very well when they follow the anti-inflammatory diet. Also, include foods prepared with turmeric and ginger, both of which have anti-inflammatory effects. He also recommends acupuncture to deal with any joint pain and arthritis symptoms and a mind/body approach such as hypnosis or biofeedback to reduce stress and promote healing. Because a recent medical study associated the use of dairy products with worsening autoimmune symptoms in, I would advise anyone with the condition to try to eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and all food products made with milk or milk solids or casein (the protein in cow's milk). Decreasing animal protein and replacing it with vegetarian sources like soy is also a good idea. Dr. Horwitz also recommends avoiding wheat, because some reports have noted that celiac disease (sensitivity to gluten, a protein in wheat) tends to accompany Behçet's.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here