Psoriasis, the most prevalent autoimmune disease among Americans, can negatively affect your sex life. Psoriasis can be embarrassing, and it can make you self-conscious and anxious. In many cases, the psychological impacts of psoriasis lead to sexual dysfunction. Genital psoriasis, in particular, can make sex very uncomfortable.
When you’ve got red patches on your penis and the surrounding areas, you may find it too embarrassing to have sex. In addition, genital psoriasis often leads to heightened sensitivity, which means it’s actually painful for you to have sex. Learn more about how psoriasis can negatively impact your sex life.
Psoriasis is basically a skin condition caused by an overactive immune system that acts as if your own skin is an enemy. When you have psoriasis, your immune system thinks your healthy skin cells are invaders and attacks them.
Psoriasis causes new skin cells to form and build up on your skin surface. These new skin cells form lesions, scales, and patches on your skin. They’re often very itchy and painful. Aside from the physical discomfort it causes, psoriasis can also lead to psychological discomfort manifested as low self-esteem and anxiety.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease, meaning the symptoms come and go. It’s also a lifelong condition, hence treatment only reduces the symptoms but doesn’t really cure the disease. The key to managing psoriasis is in preventing flare-ups.
There are several types of psoriasis, categorized depending on the type of patches and lesions that appear on the skin and the location where they appear. The most common type is called plaque psoriasis and it’s characterized by red skin lesions that are dry, raised and covered with scales.
Inverse psoriasis, on the other hand, is characterized by red patches that are smooth but inflamed. This type of psoriasis typically affects the groin, the skin around the genitals, and the skin under the armpits. Genital psoriasis is an example of inverse psoriasis.
Psoriasis and Sexual Dysfunction
Your sexual response mechanism includes your sexual interest, erection, and orgasm. Unfortunately, psoriasis can negatively affect all elements of your sexual response mechanism.
For one, your libido is greatly influenced by psychological factors. And psoriasis is associated with anxiety, depression, shame, and emotional stress. All these psychological factors contribute to the loss in libido that’s common among people with psoriasis.
In addition, several studies have shown that psoriasis-related depression often leads to sexual dysfunction such as impairment of erectile function. Depression is one of the known psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
Psoriasis patients who are depressed are more likely to develop sexual dysfunction as compared to psoriasis patients who are not depressed. Anxiety is also a key factor in the relationship between psoriasis and erectile dysfunction.
Research also indicates that the parts of the body affected by psoriasis also contribute to the development of sexual dysfunction. When psoriasis affects the skin in the areas of sexual interest, such as the genital area, then sexual dysfunction will most likely ensue.
Patients with psoriasis affecting the areas of sexual interest often suffer from stigmatization that psoriasis patients who are free of lesions in those areas often do not experience at all. In particular, when psoriasis affects areas of sexual interest, self-esteem is negatively affected and it often leads to sexual distress.
The negative effects of psoriasis on body image also contribute to sexual dysfunction. For some people, having a scar or a disfigurement in a certain part of their body can greatly affect their body image. This negative body image can affect interpersonal relationships and prevent one from engaging in intimate relationships.
On the one hand, psoriasis causes visible and touchable lesions that you have absolutely no control over where it would appear. Thus, the effects of psoriasis on body image and self-confidence are even more profound.
When your skin looks as if it’s raw, scaly, red and dry, or when your neck or arm is covered with pus-filled blisters, you may not even want to look at yourself in the mirror, let alone have someone see you naked. Such feelings can definitely prevent you from pursuing sex with your partner.
In fact, in patients with psoriasis affecting a visible part of their body, like on the face, arms, or neck, their quality of life and social relationships are adversely impaired. And their sexuality is also negatively affected.
In short, psoriasis can adversely impact your sexuality by inducing low self-esteem, feelings of shame and stigmatization, as well as anxiety and depression.
Depending on the severity of the psoriasis flare-up, treatment options include topical creams and ointments, phototherapy, and oral or injected medications. For mild psoriasis, topical corticosteroids often help relieve itchiness as well as reduce inflammation. Salicylic acid may also be used to reduce scaling.
Phototherapy is usually prescribed for mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. You can simply expose your skin to sunlight and it will reduce the inflammation and scaling. But if you get overexposed, it can cause your symptoms to worsen. This is why therapy with controlled doses of UV light is the more preferred form of treatment.
For severe cases of psoriasis, or if your condition is resistant to phototherapy and topical medications, systemic treatment using oral or injected medications are usually prescribed.
However, systemic treatment for psoriasis may result in serious adverse effects, which is why it’s often used for short periods of time only. Methotrexate, for instance, can suppress inflammation and greatly reduce new skin cell production. But if you take the medication over a long period of time, it can lead to severe liver damage.
Managing Your Sexual Health
You don’t have to completely avoid having sex even if you have psoriasis. If the symptoms of psoriasis prevent you from engaging in sexual activities, you can try engaging in sex when you don’t have a flare-up. If you’re not sure if you can perform well, an all-natural male sex enhancement supplement can help you.
Formulated using extremely effective herbal ingredients, it can significantly improve your sex drive, erectile function, as well as sexual vigor. It contains horny goat weed, muira puama, maca, and Tongkat Ali. You’ll also find damiana, Tribulus terrestris, and Butea superba in it.