The skin regeneration cycle of the psoriasis suffer is vastly accelerated and, instead of taking 28 days, this happens in just three to four days. As a result new cells move to the surface before they are fully mature and clump together forming plaques which become inflamed due to the presence of white immune cells under the skin.
Flexural or inverse psoriasis affects areas of the body where the skin is folded or rubs together, such as the armpits, between the buttocks or in the groin.
As it is the result of a defect in the immune system, there is no way to prevent genital psoriasis. At times it worsens and at others it improves. The condition can just occur spontaneously or it may accompany similar patches elsewhere on the body.
Psoriasis which presents anywhere on the body can be due to many factors, including stress and an allergy to washing detergents. Specialists advise washing with an aqueous cream or emollient, rather than soap, as this helps to maintain the natural Ph balance of the skin.
The genital variety can also be triggered by tight clothes which rub the skin, contraceptives – sheaths, caps and spermicides, sanitary towels or tampons, harsh toilet paper, thrush or sexual intercourse.
Unlike other forms of psoriasis, the genital version is non-scaly and appears as reddish-white bumps in the creases between the thigh and groin. The skin may crack and feel tight and sore especially at the edges where it meets normal skin. It can cause discomfort and difficulties with sexual relations.
Because they feel embarrassed about this condition, some sufferers may worry that it is a sexually transmitted disease and can often be reluctant to seek medical attention, even though this is not the case and it cannot be passed on to other people.
The penile plaques can affect both circumcised and uncircumcised males, appearing as small, red patches on the glans or shaft.
In women, it is found under the breasts, between the buttocks or in the groin. The mucous membranes and urethra are not usually affected and vulvar psoriasis normally presents as a non-scaly, smooth redness on the outer skin of the vagina. Scratching this area may cause an infection, produce dryness, and result in thickening of the skin and further itching.
When the condition is on or near the anus, it is red, non-scaly and prone to itchiness. Possible confusion with yeast, infections, haemorrhoidal itching, and pinworm infestations can complicate the treatment, requiring a rectal examination and skin cultures to confirm which condition is actually the culprit.
Because the skin in the buttock crease is less fragile than that in the groin, it can present as either scaly or non-scaly.
If you suspect that you may have genital psoriasis, you should visit your doctor as normal steroid treatments may be too harsh for this delicate skin. The warm moist conditions of the genital area allow the cream to be absorbed more easily so the symptoms can be relieved with a lesser strength of treatment.
There are also many herbal treatments which have far fewer side-effects as well as additional health benefits.