Psoriasis is a condition millions of people live with. Since the researchers are yet to find the cause of this problem, there is no treatment. The only way to improve the quality of life for psoriasis sufferers is to ease the symptoms and prevent breakouts.
Over the past decades, scientists have come up with various ways to subdue the symptoms of psoriasis and make it bearable for the patients.
Psoriasis can occur on different parts of the body. One of the places where it causes the biggest discomfort is the genital area. Even though genital psoriasis cure doesn’t exist, it’s possible to make the condition less uncomfortable.
Genital Psoriasis Symptoms
The most common psoriasis type that affects the genitals is inverse psoriasis. Symptoms of genital psoriasis include the occurrence of shiny red and smooth patches in such places as:
· Pubic area
· Upper thighs
· Between thighs and groin
· Between buttocks
· Vulva (female genital psoriasis)
· Penis tip and shaft (male genital psoriasis)
Even though white scales form on the patches as they do in other locations, patients usually don’t notice them in the genital area. Scales rub off when the person moves.
Psoriasis in the genital area is not more intense than in other areas. However, since genitals are highly sensitive, it may seem that the symptoms are more severe.
Genital psoriasis on vulva, penis, and anus causes plenty of itching. This interferes with the sexual life of many patients. The patches are especially itchy during the night. Patients unconsciously scratch them, which causes bleeding, and may lead to infections.
Genital psoriasis patches can also burn and sting. The unpleasant sensation is heightened due to sweat and heat in the area.
Symptoms of psoriasis on vulva, anus, and penis are similar to those of a yeast infection. Redness, tenderness, pain, and itching can make patients’ lives truly miserable. Meanwhile, infecting the bleeding patches can lead to other unpleasant conditions.
Genital Psoriasis Causes
What causes genital psoriasis? Just as with the rest of psoriasis, the cause is unknown. The common belief is that it’s related to problems with T cells. T cells attack healthy skin cells by mistakes as if dealing with a wound or infection. As a result, the production of healthy skin cells is triggered, causing patches to appear.
The reason why T cells make a mistake is currently unknown. Researchers are working hard to identify the cause. Knowing the cause can be the key to learning how to treat genital psoriasis and other types as well.
Some experts believe that psoriasis is hereditary. The chance of suffering from this condition if one of the parents has it is high. If two have it, the chances are even higher.
Genital Psoriasis Treatment
While there is no cure, numerous genital psoriasis treatments exist.
1. Avoiding Triggers
Identifying psoriasis triggers is the simplest way to avoid outbreaks. It may take a patient some time to identify personal triggers since they are different for everyone. The most common genital psoriasis triggers are:
· Skin and other types of infections
· Skin injuries (wounds, scrapes, cuts, bug bites, burns)
· Certain meds
· Vitamin D deficiency
2. Topical Treatments
Genital psoriasis creams can alleviate the symptoms, making the outbreaks more bearable. Doctors prescribe corticosteroids to ease the itching.
However, using them on a regular basis isn’t recommended. They can lead to other skin problems and stretch marks.
You can purchase corticosteroids for genital psoriasis treatment over the counter. They have low strength and are less harmful.
3. UV Light
The UV light is one of the treatment options for genital psoriasis. However, it’s highly important to keep the doses lower than for other areas. Otherwise, it may cause sunburns that trigger the breakouts and make the condition worse.
4. Calcineurin Inhibitors
Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are generally used to treat such skin problems as atopic dermatitis. They work for genital psoriasis as well. These creams don’t contain steroids. However, it’s important to consult your doctor about using them on your genitals.
5. Home Remedies
Numerous genital psoriasis home remedies exist to ease the symptoms and make the breakouts more bearable.
· Health diet – fruits, veggies, lean meats, etc.
· Supplements – vitamins, minerals, fiber
· Bathing in natural springs
· Sunbathing (but with care)
· Extra virgin oils
Before taking advantage of any genital psoriasis remedy, it’s important to consult a doctor. All of the above remedies have counter indications.
Genital Psoriasis vs Herpes
Symptoms of genital psoriasis are similar to those of genital herpes. In most cases, only a doctor can tell the difference.
Genital herpes appears somewhat different. The affected area never has skin scales. It appears more like blisters and ulcers than patches.
The symptoms of genital herpes usually appear 2 to 10 days after sexual intercourse. They may include headache and fever.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is genital psoriasis contagious?
A: No, it isn’t
Q: What can I do to ease the symptoms today?
A: Keep the area highly moisturized, wear loose-fitting clothes made of natural materials, use soft toilet paper, and talk to your doctor.
Q: Can I have sex if I have genital psoriasis?
A: Yes. You may want to use a condom to reduce discomfort. Opt for a lubricated condom and other lubricants. After the intercourse, cleanse the area and reapply the medication if any.
Genital psoriasis is a skin condition that requires regular attention. It’s important to talk to a doctor to identify the best course of treatment.
While patients with genital psoriasis experience unpleasant symptoms, it’s possible to alleviate them by taking advantage of medications, ointments, UV light, and natural remedies.
Don’t wait for genital psoriasis to go away on its own. A visit to the doctor can improve the quality of your life substantially.