In addition to genetic risks, environmental factors may trigger the development of signs and symptoms in some types of porphyria. When exposed to the trigger, your body's demand for heme production increases. This overwhelms the deficient enzyme, setting in motion a process that causes signs and symptoms. Examples of triggers include:

  • Certain drugs (barbiturates or sulfonamide antibiotics or, less often, birth control pills, or some drugs that affect the mind or behavior, known as psychoactive drugs)
  • Chemicals
  • Dieting or fasting
  • Smoking
  • Physical stress, such as infections or other illnesses
  • Liver disease
  • Emotional stress
  • Alcohol use
  • Menstrual hormones
  • Sun exposure
  • Excess iron in your body
May. 20, 2014

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