Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which skin cells proliferate at a faster rate than usual and can affect skin anywhere on the body, including the genitals.
Although the exact cause is unknown, genital psoriasis is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Triggers of genital psoriasis may include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Injury or trauma to the skin
- Some medications
Many people who suffer from genital psoriasis can go for years without it being an issue. Symptom onset can be sudden or flare up due to certain triggers. For example, scratching or rubbing can cause cracking and bleeding, leading to infections that can make you more likely to develop the condition.
What are risk factors for genital psoriasis?
According to a study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, there are a few primary risk factors that can trigger genital psoriasis:
- Male sex
- History of psoriasis at a young age
- History of severe psoriasis
- Preexisting psoriasis of the scalp and nails
If you have genital psoriasis, you may also have psoriasis on the knees and elbows. However, for some people, the disease may just manifest in the genital area.
What are symptoms of genital psoriasis?
Genital psoriasis is often misdiagnosed as a sexually transmitted illness, an allergic response, or a yeast infection. Genital psoriasis is not contagious.
Common symptoms of genital psoriasis include:
What are different types of genital psoriasis?
There are two main types of genital psoriasis:
- Inverse psoriasis: Appears as smooth, red patches in the skin folds between the upper thigh and the genitals, often aggravated by friction
- Plaque psoriasis: Characterized by red spots and silvery or white scales that may break and bleed, mostly found on the pubic area or upper thighs
What areas can be affected by genital psoriasis?
Psoriasis of either sort can arise on the vulva, penis, scrotum, or crease between the buttocks. Affected areas may include:
- Vulva: Patches are usually red and smooth and are only on the external part of the vagina.
- Penis: Usually occurs on the glans (head) but can affect the body of the penis.
- Anus: Patches appear near the anus, causing intense itchiness
- Pubis: Affects the area above the genitalia; symptoms are similar to scalp psoriasis.
- Thighs: Patches usually appear in the groin area, near the genitalia.
Psoriasis on the vulva may appear as silvery spots or gray or red plaques. Small red spots on the tip of the penis or shaft are most common in men.
- Lesions of genital psoriasis are usually symmetrically scattered throughout the skin of the labia and sometimes, surrounding the anus in the vaginal region.
- Lesions may appear on the pubic area, vulva or penis but rarely on the interior of the vagina.
- Psoriasis of the vulva is often characterized by a smooth, non-scaly redness.
- Psoriasis of the penis can manifest as a series of tiny, red spots on the glans or shaft. The skin may be rough and scaly or smooth and shiny. Both circumcised and uncircumcised men can be affected by genital psoriasis.
- Kids With Autism Face Higher Odds of Vision Issues, But Many Don't Get Screened
- Mental Health Woes Double Women's Odds for Cervical Cancer
- Million-Person Study Finds Genes Common to Many Addiction Disorders
- Too Much Social Media Could Raise Risk for Eating Disorders
- Weaker Bones, Weakening Brain? Study Makes the Connection
- More Health News »
Is genital psoriasis curable?
Although there is no known cure for genital psoriasis, it can be treated with medications, topical treatments, and lifestyle changes. Obtaining a formal diagnosis and working with a dermatologist are critical initial measures.
Genital psoriasis can cause significant physical and physiological discomfort. Many people with the condition suffer from embarrassment, low self-esteem, and problems with sexual intimacy, and many do not seek medical treatment due to a sense of shame or shyness about this sensitive area.
Although genital psoriasis is not contagious, it can significantly impair quality of life more than other types of psoriasis. However, it is important to address the problem and receive timely therapy in order to lower the risk of long-term complications.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Rath L. Genital Psoriasis: An In-Depth Guide. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/genital-psoriasis-guide#
American Academy of Dermatology. How Can I Treat Genital Psoriasis? https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/treatment/genitals/genital-treat
National Psoriasis Foundation/USA. Genital Psoriasis. https://www.psoriasis.org/genitals/
Beck KM, Yang EJ, Sanchez IM, Liao W. Treatment of Genital Psoriasis: A Systematic Review. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2018;8(4):509-525. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6261118/
Czuczwar P, Stepniak A, Goren A, Wrona W, Paszkowski T, Pawlaczyk M, Piekarska-Myslinska D, Wozniak S, Pietrzak A. Genital psoriasis: a hidden multidisciplinary problem - a review of literature. Ginekol Pol. 2016;87(10):717-721. https://journals.viamedica.pl/ginekologia_polska/article/view/GP.2016.0074/40615
Top What Triggers Genital Psoriasis Related Articles
Can Psoriasis Go Away?Psoriasis is a skin disease that develops due to changes in genetic makeup, and most often, it is passed from your parents (hereditary). It may also occur due to changes in the immune system, autoimmune response, in which your own antibodies start attacking the cells of your body. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that has no definite cure and only the symptoms can be managed.
How Do You Get Rid of Genital Psoriasis?Genital psoriasis has no cure, but treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Here are 6 ways to get rid of genital psoriasis.
How Do You Manage Inverse Psoriasis?Although there is no permanent cure for inverse psoriasis, treatment can help manage and alleviate symptoms, including itching and discoloration.
How Do You Stop Psoriasis From Stress?Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease that can be passed down (hereditary) to you from your parents or grandparents. Stress is a common factor that can trigger your psoriasis. Psoriasis has a stronger association with psychiatric disorders than other skin diseases. Stress worsens psoriasis by triggering a complex network of signals between the endocrine (hormones), nervous and immune systems.
How Is Inverse Psoriasis Diagnosed?Diagnosis of inverse psoriasis is typically based on medical history and a clinical examination that assesses the location and appearance of the rash.
How to Get Rid of Psoriasis QuicklyAlthough psoriasis is incurable, it responds to topical and systemic treatments. Topical treatments that may be effective to treat mild psoriasis include creams, lotions, and sprays.
Inverse Psoriasis PictureInverse psoriasis consists of bright red, smooth (not scaly) patches found in the folds of the skin. See a picture of Inverse Psoriasis and learn more about the health topic.
Is Genital Psoriasis Life-Threatening?Although genital psoriasis is neither life-threatening nor contagious, it can be uncomfortable and more difficult to treat than other types of psoriasis.
Severe Psoriasis PicturesExplore the different types of psoriasis such as plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and scalp psoriasis. Discover what causes psoriasis and many psoriasis treatment options.
Psoriasis Home RemediesDiscover home remedies for psoriasis and help heal irritated skin.
Psoriasis QuizTake the mystery out of psoriasis. Take the Psoriasis Quiz and see what you know about the types, symptoms, treatments and more.
Psoriasis SlideshowWhat is psoriasis? See examples of psoriasis including the different types of nail, plaque, and scalp psoriasis. Learn about psoriasis symptoms, causes and treatment.
What Is the Main Cause of Psoriasis?Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin disease in which the skin cells grow in numbers faster than normal, producing rashes on the body. Normally, the cells on the surface of the skin are shed as new cells grow beneath. In psoriasis, the swift build-up of skin cells collects on the surface of the skin as scales or plaques. The exact cause of psoriasis is not completely understood. It appears to involve an interplay between a person’s genes, immune system and environment.