What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales, and itchy dry patches which eventually turn red. The condition is believed to be an autoimmune system problem, and triggers include infections, stress, and very cold temperatures. As a rule, it takes the body about 28 days to shed old skin and begin the process of renewal.
When psoriasis happens, the skin renewal process takes only about 7 days, and the body cannot absorb this frequent production of new skin, causing the skin to build up, thicken, and get dry and flaky. Typical psoriasis scales are whitish-silver in colour and develop in thick red patches which sometimes bleed. It also comes with inflammation, pain and itchiness. Treatment is focused on removing scales to stop the skin from growing so quickly. Medications and topical ointments can also offer some relief.
Symptoms of psoriasis
Signs of psoriasis include bumpy red patches covered with whitish scales which can appear anywhere on the body, but usually, on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back, and sometimes thighs and genital areas. The condition mostly appears in early adulthood, can heal and go away for a while, but come back throughout a person’s life. If you have any signs or symptoms that psoriasis may be present, visit the doctor for a proper diagnosis.
In severe cases, psoriasis can disrupt your life in many aspects including family, social, and personal relationships such as your sex life.
How psoriasis can impact your sex life
Psoriasis can change the way you feel about your body, especially if you have a romantic partner. When psoriasis is around your groin or genitals, sex may be painful and could make your symptoms worse, but this does not mean that you have to refrain from having sex. Experts agree that whether it is your regular partner, or perhaps a new partner, you should be open and upfront about the issue.
Studies have shown that psoriasis is not contagious in any way, does not spread through hugging or kissing, and has absolutely no relation to any sexually transferred infections. If you are embarrassed about the patchy skin places, you may want to keep the lights on low when making love. Underwear should be silky, linen, or cotton, as synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester, may hold the heat in and cause painful flare-ups.
Psoriasis patches may also occur on the penis, and to prevent skin irritation, a condom is recommended for sexual encounters. If there is a flare-up in the vaginal area, excellent creams are available to help ease and prevent painful sex. Note that no cream should be put on the outside of the condom, as this could compromise its effectiveness.
Although there is no evidence that psoriasis affects your sex drive, the so-to-speak side effects of the condition may still negatively impact your sex life:
- Depression and anxiety can make you feel embarrassed about your body image.
- Your self-esteem may take a dive and result in emotional and mental stress.
- You may be stressed and embarrassed to get naked in front of someone new.
- Your self-confidence may also desert you at times and add to anxiety levels.
These psychological issues can make it difficult to cope with the psoriasis condition. Mental health experts agree that therapy may help to restore your confidence and self-esteem.
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