Not everyone is in love with their birthmarks, and there are some people who have been teased about their appearance. In some cases, birthmarks can cause major health problems.

Factors such as type and location play a role in whether a serious medical disorder develops. Port wine stains are a common type of birthmark that may or may not lead to a health issue. Kids and adults who have them may be self-conscious or have low self-confidence.

Tonya was a guest on the tv show, The Doctors, and was there to discuss the port wine stains she’s had since birth. Though it’s rare for them to occur on both sides of the body, they affect both of her legs, extending from her buttocks all the way down to her feet. For years she’s endured taunts, stares, and humiliation, and it’s even trickled into her marriage.

Her husband speaks about how insecure she is, and she mentions that she doesn’t like showing him her body. Concerned about the long term emotional and physical effects that her appearance is having on her health, Tonya wants help.

She explains to the doctor that she’s worried about paralysis, and that when’s she cold, the marks turn to a darker purple color. Port wine stains – also referred to as capillary malformations – can grow larger and darken over time. They are the result of malformed blood vessels under the skin, and do not disappear on their own.

As a person gets older, it is normal for the stains to get darker, thicker, and raised. Complications from port wine stains are linked to conditions like glaucoma or Sturge Weber syndrome and require treatment. Other problems involve bleeding, overgrown extremities, or neurological conditions.

For Tonya, a small examination reveals that the severity of her birthmarks are affecting her nerves. Dr. Rodriguez explains how Tonya’s blood vessels are sort of entangled with one another, causing the darker tone of her marks along with the numbing sensations.

Image of woman with port wine stains on legs.The Doctors

In some, these malformations and blockages can lead to seizures, learning disabilities, or blindness. However, Tonya is informed that her case is treatable! She’s referred to a dermatologist who wants to try laser therapy on her skin.
Laser therapy is the standard in terms of lightening port wine stains on the body, and is used for both adults and children. It typically requires multiple rounds to have a lasting effect. Dr. Lee zaps away on Tonya’s legs, targeting the redness that is close to her skin’s surface. She tells her that she’ll have to return for additional treatments, but the show’s doctors have a surprise in store for her.
To hear what other solution they’re offering to Tonya to help with her birthmarks, click on the video below. After hearing her talk about her self-esteem, her sadness, and her marriage, she is all smiles by the end of this video. We’re rooting for you, Tonya!
Do you know anyone who has struggled with their port wine stain or other birthmark? What do you think of Tonya’s case and treatment plan?

American Academy of Dermatology