Making Sense of Psoriasis
- Psoriasis is rare relapsing (chronic) autoimmune skin condition that is characterized by red, itchy patches that form on the affected person's skin.
- Psoriasis is not caused by poor hygiene, and it doesn’t only affect the skin.
- Psoriasis does not impact fertility, though some medications used to treat the condition can cause low sperm count.
Psoriasis is rare relapsing (chronic) autoimmune skin condition that is characterized by red, itchy patches that form on the affected person's skin. These plaques (patches) occur when the life cycle of skin cells is sped up (hyperproliferation), which results in excess cells building up on the skin (creating inflammation of the skin's epidermis and dermis).Read More
- Common symptoms associated with psoriasis:
- Small scaling spots
- Swollen or stiff joints
- Burning, itching, or soreness of the skin
- Small scaling spots
- Cracked and dry skin that may itch or bleed
- Ridged or thickened nails
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
Is it Caused by Bad Hygiene?Psoriasis is when the skin grows too rapidly, leaving thick red patches on the skin. It has nothing to do with one’s hygiene habits. The flaking skin can’t be washed off, and they are not the result of a lack of washing.
And it doesn’t just affect the skin, either. It can cause inflammation in other parts of the body and lead to things like heart disease or diabetes.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a complex immune-mediated condition that is not contagious and is rather caused by a genetic predisposition; other risk factors include smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity. Those with psoriasis often do not know they have it until it is triggered by multiple different things such as:
- An injury to the skin, such as severe sunburn or a cut
- Some medications, such as prednisone, lithium, and hydroxychloroquine
- Alcohol (excessive drinking)
- Weather conditions, more specifically cold, dry weather
- Infections (Guttate psoriasis has a correlation with strep throat infection)
These triggers and some others (specific to the individual) can also be the cause of continuous psoriasis flare-ups. It is thus imperative that as part of the treatment process, the triggers of the individual's condition are identified.
Can It Cause Fertility Problems?
No, psoriasis does not impact fertility. However, GoodRx reports how having psoriasis on “your genitals may cause pain or embarrassment that can prevent you from being intimate with your partner.”
Treatments exist for psoriasis, and if you have it on that body part, you can address it effectively with your doctor. While psoriasis doesn’t affect fertility, it’s very important to note that some medications used to treat it may impact fertility. Some psoriasis medications can lead to low sperm count or harm a fetus. Speak with your doctor about the treatment option that is right for you.
Is It Contagious?
Some skin infections such as staphylococcus (staph) can look like psoriasis and they can be contagious. However, psoriasis itself is not an infection and it is never contagious.
So if you have this condition or if a loved one does, there is no reason to be concerned about it being spread from person to person. If you’re swimming, hugging, or playing a contact sport with someone who has psoriasis, you don’t need to be fearful about getting this condition too.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff