Genital psoriasis can occur alone, but in most common cases, it develops in people who already have one or another form of psoriasis.
Around two-thirds of psoriasis patients develop genital psoriasis at least once in their lives.
As compared to the other types of psoriasis, genital psoriasis is harder to treat as it develops on sensitive skin.
It spreads on other parts of the genital area (in males and females, both) but rarely develops inside the female vagina.
Luckily your doctor can help you reduce its symptoms with different treatment options available nowadays.
In this article, we are going to see how can genital psoriasis is affecting you and what you can do to get better and have a better sex life and better intimacy with your partner.
Best Ways to Prevent and Overcome Genital Psoriasis
Genital psoriasis is a chronic disease that is hard to prevent. However, there are chances to reduce its symptoms by following a healthy way of life.
- Use a humidifier if you live in a dry environment. Living in a dry environmental condition can make your skin even more dry and itchy.
- Avoid going to dry or cold environments.
- Keep the affected area clean to prevent infections etc.
- Quit smoking or alcohol consumption. If quitting seems hard, then at least reduce their consumption.
Smoking and alcohol consumption can trigger flare-ups and increase irritation.
- Sleep like a baby and enjoy a healthy sleep of at least 8 hours a day.
- Reduce stress as much as possible. Keep yourself calm. When stressed, practice healthy habits like yoga, meditation, etc.
Types of Psoriasis in Genital Areas
The common types of psoriasis that can develop in genital areas are:
It is the most common form of psoriasis globally. In it, red-silvery plaque-type lesions develop in the different parts of the body, including the genitalia.
However, these lesions are not as prominent in genitalia as they are in other parts of the body.
Inverse psoriasis is the development of smooth red patches in skin folds like under breasts, underarms, and genital areas.
Overweight people, who have deep skin folds, have this kind of psoriasis more than others.
It is a rare form of genital psoriasis. In it, small pus-filled pustules form and have red skin around them.
Symptoms of Genital Psoriasis
As mentioned earlier, genital psoriasis develops in or around the genital area. Its common areas include:
- Upper thighs
- Groin and thigh creases
- Area around anus
Areas Where Genital Psoriasis Might Develop
Symptoms of genital psoriasis vary depending on the area where it develops. Its common symptoms include:
Small red patches appear on the upper thighs. They may cause irritation or itchiness.
The irritation will only happen in people who walk more often and their thighs rub with each other a lot during movement.
Groin and Thighs Creases
Red itchy patches form in skin folds. Cracks may also develop due to skin dryness. Overweight people usually have this issue more.
They are prone to different skin fold infections as well. Sweating can also increase irritation and the chances of acquiring infections.
Dry patches form on the sensitive skin of the pubis (skin above the genitals).
You should apply creams and ointments recommended by the doctor very carefully to this extra sensitive area.
In the vulva, psoriasis appears red or purple in color. Skin is smooth and non-scaly. Itchiness and irritation can cause discomfort.
Try not to scratch this sensitive part; otherwise, the condition may get worse.
Men can have small red patches on the penis shaft. These patches are usually shiny and smooth or scaly in nature.
Area around Anus
Non-scaly and itching red patches form on the anus or area around it. These patches can be very itchy at times and lead to extreme discomfort.
If it is not treated well, it can cause rectal bleeding as well.
Causes of Genital Psoriasis
So far, the exact cause of genital psoriasis has not been discovered.
Abnormality of the immune system and some inherited genes are believed to be the cause of psoriasis. But, having a psoriatic patient in your family does not mean you will have it too.
And some people develop it when they do not have any psoriatic patients in their family. Men and women are equally affected by it.
It is believed that genital psoriasis is a multifactorial disease which means different environments, as well as genetic factors, control its occurrence.
Environmental triggers like stress, injury, skin infection, dry climate, etc., can trigger this illness and make it get worse with time.
How to Diagnose Genital Psoriasis
Visual examination is commonly used for genital psoriasis. Your doctor will also ask you a few basic questions like your family history, whether you feel itchiness on any other body part, etc.
He may also do some tests to make sure it is not a sexually transmitted disease.
If diagnosing with visual examination becomes difficult, your doctor can take the affected skin area and send it to the lab to get tested.
Psoriatic skin cells under the microscope appear thick and dense. This examination will help the doctor identify whether it is psoriasis or any other skin infection.
Treatments for Genital Psoriasis
Treating genital psoriasis is tough as compared to treating other kinds of psoriasis.
Sometimes the first medicine your doctor prescribes may not help in any way. If that is the case, go again and ask your doctor for an alternative treatment option.
During genital psoriasis treatment, your doctor will prescribe medicines, creams, ointments, and others, that are effective against inflammation and can make the autoimmune response subside.
The standard treatment options a genital psoriatic patient has are:
Your doctor can recommend you apply topical medication to the genital area. Initially, low-dose medications are prescribed.
Using a high dose can lead to side effects like the formation of stretch marks on the skin and skin thinness.
Doctors prefer not to prescribe oral medicines because they can cause several side effects like headaches, fever, and irritation.
However, if they prescribe oral medication, then anti-inflammatory medicines are given.
These creams and ointments help improve skin health a lot. They reduce dryness, itchiness, and skin irritation. Vitamin D creams are usually used for genital psoriasis.
Complementary Natural Treatment Options for Genital Psoriasis
People having genital psoriasis also try different complementary treatment options to relieve their symptoms. These treatment options include:
Reduce Body Weight
Being overweight can make your genital psoriasis worse. That is why people who reduce even a few pounds notice a significant improvement in their skin condition.
So, reducing body weight can help you fight this illness.
Applying moisturizer regularly is another treatment option that helps a lot.
Apply it in a lighter amount daily. Instead of using soap etc., use cleansing milk to wash the affected area.
Avoid personal care products that have fragrances or alcohol. Using them can aggravate the symptoms.
Take Omega-3 Rich Foods
Omega-3 is a very healthy nutrient rich in fatty fish. Many people notice a reduction in their skin irritation and dryness after consuming omega-3 regularly.
It is a healthy fat and can help you lower the blood your unhealthy fat level in the blood.
Follow Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet will not only make your skin condition better but will also improve your overall body health. In this diet, you will consume fresh vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and fish.
Foods (dairy products, processed foods, red meat, etc.) that induce inflammation are asked to avoid.
Genital Psoriasis and Sexual Health
Genital psoriasis can significantly influence your sexual life, making you and your partner feel stressed.
It can make intercourse feel more painful and sore. That is why extra care needs to be done to make sure your sex life does not affect your health and vice versa.
Try to use condoms as it will make the surface smoother and may not cause as much pain. Wash the affected area after every intercourse and reapply the topical medication.
Discuss how you feel about your sexual life with your partner so that you both can come up with a better solution and make your relationship better again.
How to Cope with Genital Psoriasis
Coping with any form of psoriasis is a challenging task, but when it is genital psoriasis, managing it becomes many times difficult for the sufferer.
However, if you bring a few changes in your lifestyle and become more careful, you can have a better life even with genital psoriasis.
Use Good-Quality Toilet Papers
Toilet papers can have direct contact with the affected area. That is why be careful with what kind of paper you are using.
Use soft toilet papers that are free of fragrance and alcohol. Pre-moisturized toilet paper can be more helpful in this regard.
Use Fragrance-Free Personal Care Products
While taking a bath, make sure you do not use a product that is rich in chemicals or has fragrance.
Such products tend to cause irritation and induce itchiness. Similarly, applying antibacterial products should also be avoided.
Wear Loose Clothes
Be kind to your skin and wear loose clothes. These clothes will reduce friction and not worsen the skin condition.
Otherwise, tight clothes will increase skin-to-cloth surface interaction and can even cause bleeding due to excessive friction with the patchy dry skin.
Wipe Affected Areas Carefully
Genital skin is usually more sensitive than the skin of other parts of the body.
And when it is affected, it becomes many more times sensitive. Wiping the affected area carelessly will increase friction, thus more irritation.
Also, try to avoid contact between the affected area and feces. If feces are left on the psoriatic skin, then they can induce skin infections, too.
Using condoms will reduce friction and direct contact with the affected area.
Try to use good-quality condoms during every intercourse session.
Discuss Your Condition with Your Partner
Share what you have in your heart with your partner. It may not make your physical condition better but will surely make you feel better mentally.
You can talk if you want to try any sexual activity that involves less friction.
Avoid Rubbing or Scratching
Rubbing the genital area that feels itchy seems very tempting. But remember that doing so can worsen your skin condition.
Excessive rubbing or scratching can even make your genital skin bleed.
Also, use undies that are made up of soft material and are flexible and loose. Men should prefer boxers over briefs.
Take Care of the Cleanliness
Your skin condition depends on several factors. And one of them is how well you take care of the affected area.
Keep your genitals clean and apply the moisturizer or cream that the doctors recommend. Do not use any harsh products on your sensitive skin.
Is Genital Psoriasis a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)?
No, genital psoriasis is not a sexually transmitted disease. Like any other form of psoriasis, having direct contact with the affected area will not make the other person catch the disease.
However, various environmental, as well as genetic factors will induce it.
Is It Possible to Have Sex if You have Genital Psoriasis?
Yes, you can have sex even if you have genital psoriasis. This disease can disturb your sexual life or may reduce your self-confidence.
But, if have an understanding partner then you may come up with better solutions to improve your sexual relationship.
Still, remember that having sex with genital psoriasis can be a painful experience for you.
Genital psoriasis is a skin condition induced by abnormality of the immune system or genes.
There is no cure for this treatment, but you can still spend an improved life with psoriasis if you bring a few lifestyle changes.
Having this disease is not in anyone’s hands, so don’t feel you are less than anyone else because you have genital psoriasis.
Work on your mental as well as physical health, and you will have an improved life. Never hesitate to ask for help if you feel troubled.
Always share your heart with your partner if anything in your sex life is making you upset. Communication is the key to success.