Psoriasis can be embarrassing on your arms and legs – but factor in genital psoriasis and the condition becomes even more unbearable! Today, we’re going to be talking about itchy, uncomfortable vaginal psoriasis.
The most common form of vaginal psoriasis is known as ‘Inverse Psoriasis’ or ‘Flexural Psoriasis’. It is a type that typically dwells in the creases and folds of our skin.
The term ‘vaginal psoriasis’ can refer to and affect different regions of the female genital area, including the pubic area just above the vagina, the upper thighs, the creases between the thigh and groin, the outer vagina or vulva, the anus and the buttock creases. In very rare cases, vaginal psoriasis can also find its way into the mucous membrane or ‘inner vagina’. It is characterized by smooth and red patches, as small, red dots or red-whitish patches with cracked skin.
Handle with care
Given where they are on the body, these patches are a lot more sensitive and thus need to be treated with special care and attention.
The first step is to stop wearing tight, figure-hugging clothes. Loose clothing is important, because friction from rubbing fabrics, as well as sweating makes the area itchy and sore. So ditch those skinny jeans and replace them with something a little bit airier!
The second step is to stop scratching! Scratching can exacerbate the symptoms of vaginal psoriasis and cause more itchiness as it stimulates the nerve fibres just underneath the skin. Apart from that, excessive scratching and rubbing can actually lead to your skin thickening, which is called ‘Lichenification’.
The third step is to change your underwear. Change it to something made out of 100% cotton that is. It will help by allowing your nether-regions to breathe, and also absorb any sweat. So forget the thongs and the strings ladies – comfort comes first.
Treating Vaginal Psoriasis
Vaginal psoriasis is often misdiagnosed. Sufferers oconfuse symptoms with the more common yeast infection, but reaching for the anti-fungal cream won’t help!
The first port of call for many women is their local pharmacy, to see what they can find over the counter. Often a corticosteroid-based cream will be prescribed, such as hydrocortisone, but this treatment option has several risks attached with its use. Prolonged use of it can lead to thinning of the skin and stretch marks. This can be problematic in case you are pregnant, as giving birth can easily tear skin that has been thinned.
Another treatment option for vaginal psoriasis is phototherapy, but it is not effective in treating psoriasis in between the skin folds… unless you’re willing to lie there spread-eagled that is!
The last resort option is to use an immunosuppressant drug, but that should only ever be considered in severe cases, because it’s the same thing as turning every security system off in a maximum-security prison – no locks, no CCTV. Immunosuppressant drugs leave your body exposed to all kinds of nasty infections. Remember to seek help from your dermatologist or gynaecologist before pursuing any sort of action!
Read about vaginal psoriasis at Psoriasis.org.