One of the skin conditions that you can get on or around your genitals is called Genital psoriasis. Sometimes that may be the only place you have it. But many people have itchy, red patches on other parts of their body at the same time.
Genital psoriasis isn’t catchy, and it’s not STD. But it can change the way you feel about your body and put a damper on your personal love life. It’s also more uncomfortable and harder to treat than other types of psoriasis.
If you think you have genital psoriasis, talk to your doctor. It can’t be cured, but treatment can relieve your symptoms and lead to healthier skin.
When you have psoriasis, your skin cells grow much faster than normal. Your body can’t get rid of them all, so they build up in scaly, red patches.
This mainly happens because there’s a problem with your immune system. Normally, your immune system attacks germs that can make you sick. When you have psoriasis, it makes a mistake and attacks healthy skin cells.
Genes you inherit may also play a role. But having psoriasis in your family doesn’t mean you’ll get it, too. Some people never get skin problems who have psoriasis. And many people have psoriasis but not the genes that can cause it.
One thing’s for sure. You don’t get psoriasis unless something triggers it. Triggers aren’t the same for everyone. Some of the most common are:
- Skin injuries
- Being overweight or obese
- Heavy drinking
- Certain medicines
- Cold weather
These same things you already have can also cause flare-ups of psoriasis. Recognizing and learning how to manage your triggers can help improve your symptoms and lead to fewer flares.
You can have psoriasis on your genitals and nearby areas like in your:
- Pubic area
- Upper thighs
- Creases between your thighs and groin
- Anus and crease between your ass area.
Psoriasis in these areas often looks different. Patches of inverse psoriasis can be the most common type in the genital area. They can be often bright red, smooth, and shiny. You usually don’t see silvery scales because they rub off when you move.
Women may have gray, scaly plaques on their vulva which locates just outside the vagina. But patches are often glossy red in skin folds.
Men can get small red patches which are on the shaft or tip penis. Scaly patches are more common when you’re circumcised.
Psoriasis symptoms feel more intense because your private areas are so sensitive.
Itching: It happens a lot. For many people, it’s the worst part of the disease. It can keep you up at night and get in the way of being intimate. You might even scratch until you bleed. This can set up a cycle of more itching and bleeding.
Burning and stinging. Genital psoriasis feels like putting a hot match to your skin. Sweat, heat, and friction make this feeling worse.
Pain: It isn’t always painful, but it is hard to ignore. The more you move or sweat, the more irritated your skin gets. Exercise, sports, and sex make symptoms worse. For some people, even sitting still can hurt.
Infections: Thin, delicate skin can crack. It opens and bleeds. That sets the stage for bacterial or fungal infections. If you think you have an infection and psoriasis at the same time, tell your doctor. You may need two different treatments.
Genital psoriasis is tough to treat. The first medicine you try might not help. Tell your doctor if it’s not working, your skin burns or stings when you put something on it, or you get an infection.
Even if you’re doing fine, it’s important to check in with your doctor. Some treatments are too strong for delicate skin and shouldn’t be used for the long term.
Low-dose steroid cream: Doctors often prescribe this at first as it’s one of the best treatments for psoriasis. But you have to use steroids with care. Thin skin absorbs medicine more easily. But you’re more likely to have side effects. Steroid cream can also make your skin even thinner and cause stretch marks and broken blood vessels if you use it for too long.
A low-dose steroid cream will be prescribed by your doctor. But it is for a very short time or to treat a flare.
Mild vitamin D creams: These have fewer long-term side effects than steroids, and you can use them longer. Sometimes they’re mixed with a mild steroid to make it less irritating.
Calcineurin inhibitors: The two medicines you can put on your skin, pimecrolimus(Elidel) cream and tacrolimus (Protopic) ointment. It normally treats skin problems like eczema. But they can also work for genital psoriasis.
These medicines don’t have steroids, so they’re safe to use on your penis and vagina. Expect some stinging and burning when you first put them on.
Dapsone (Aczone): It treats acne and leprosy. When other treatments haven’t worked, it can be tried by your doctor. Dapsone can cause anemia and other side effects, especially when you take it as a pill, so you need to have blood and liver tests while using it.
Systemic medicines: These are very strong drugs for your body. These can affect your whole body, not just your skin. Doctors may prescribe them if your psoriasis is very severe or not well-controlled. You can have it on other parts of your body, too.
Medications like cyclosporine and methotrexate that slow down your immune system have been around for decades. They can have serious side effects, such as kidney or liver problems, especially if you take them for a long time.
Biologics are newer drugs that target very specific things about the way your immune system works. You get them through a needle, either a shot you can give yourself or an IV in your doctor’s office.
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Brodalumab (Siliq)
- Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
- Etanercept (Enbrel)
- Guselkumab (Tremfya)
- Ixekizumab (Taltz)
- Infliximab (Remicade)
- Secukinumab (Cosentyx)
- Tildrakizumab-asmn (Ilumya)
- Ustekinumab (Stelara)
Apremilast (Otezla) is a pill which you can take to interrupt the inflammation process in cells.
Sometimes, a combination of medicines works best.
People with psoriasis often look for treatments that work better and have fewer side effects.
Moisturizer: A lighter texture is better for delicate skin. Use cleansing milk or oils instead of soap to wash your face and body.
Weight loss: To improve psoriasis surely, you can drop extra pounds. Being overweight makes your symptoms worse and harder to treat.
Mediterranean diet: On this plan, you mainly eat fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, and olive oil and can enjoy a little red wine.
Gluten-free diet: Many people see a big improvement in their skin when they cut out gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Basically, that means no bread, pizza, rolls, cakes, cookies, and beer.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Genital psoriasis
Genital psoriasis is usually seen with the patients who are suffering from psoriasis already or those who have a history of psoriasis. Ayurvedic Treatment for genital psoriasis is the same as treating other varieties of psoriasis. The dosha predominance is identified and suitable treatments are administered. Purificatory procedures like panchakarma may be needed to eliminate morbid doshas and then palliative treatments are adopted.
Also read about Ayurvedic Treatment for Psoriasis