Genital psoriasis - the unseen agony

Author: British Association of Dermatologists (BAD)

Date: Jul 2011

Flaky, scaly, red and itchy, psoriasis can occur on any part of the skin, including the genitals. In fact it is estimated that around 32 per cent to 57 per cent of people with psoriasis have some genital involvement.

In research, released at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference in Birmingham (July 3rd to 5th), a team from St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin and the Baylor Institute in Texas, looked at how genital psoriasis affected sexual function and psychological status amongst a group of patients.

The results of their study showed that nearly 40 per cent of those with genital psoriasis reported reduced sexual activity and 46 per cent reported discomfort following sexual intercourse. Not unsurprisingly those patients with active genital psoriasis had a worse Dermatology Quality of Life Index score than those who didn’t and also were more likely to have depressive symptoms.

Despite the fairly high prevalence of genital involvement there has been little emphasis on identification and treatment of this specifically and the Muriel Sadlier, one of the authors of the study says

"It isn't surprising to find that active genital psoriasis is associated with greater depression, reduced sexual function and reduced quality of life and as such it is really important that physicians are aware of the presence of genital disease and its psychosexual implications and that they are able to provide both treatment and appropriate psychological support for these patients".

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