Are you pregnant? Have you noticed any red scaly patches on your skin that are itchy? Well, if you can relate to the above situations you must give psoriasis a thought.
Itchiness of the skin is common during pregnancy. However, there can be more to your condition than just pregnancy blues. For all you know, these could be symptoms of psoriasis. Don’t panic! Go ahead and find out the causes, symptoms and treatment of psoriasis during pregnancy.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that mostly affects the scalp, hands, feet, lower back, elbows and knees. Normally, your skin cells grow slowly and flake off once in every four weeks or so. As you shed the outer layers of your skin, new skin cells grow in its place. In psoriasis, the new skin cells grow very fast. They come up to the surface of the skin in barely a few days, instead of four weeks. As they grow so fast, they build up a cluster and form very thick patches or plaques. These can be small, medium or even very large (1).
What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis?
The symptoms of psoriasis vary from person to person. However, you may have one or more of the following symptoms: (2)
- Skin that is very dry and can bleed easily.
- Nails that turn thick, pitted or ridged.
- Red patches on your skin that have silvery scales.
- A burning sensation in the affected area.
- Itching sensation or soreness in the affected area.
- Swelling or stiffness in your joints.
Does Pregnancy Affect Psoriasis?
While you are pregnant, you have a 40 to 60 percent chance of improvement in the condition of your psoriasis. The maximum improvement will be visible during the end of your first trimester and second trimester. However, in 10 to 20 percent of women, pregnancy may aggravate the psoriasis condition (3).
How To Treat Psoriasis During Your Pregnancy?
Psoriasis can be a very embarrassing and difficult condition, especially when you are pregnant. Here is how your doctor may recommend you treat psoriasis while you are pregnant: (4)
- When you are pregnant, you need to be extra careful as treatment for psoriasis can often harm the unborn baby inside you. Hence, during your pregnancy, your doctor will recommend topical medications as much as possible. There are various moisturizers and emollients that are available to treat psoriasis. Your doctor may advise you to use petroleum jelly.
- Your doctor may suggest you go for a low to moderate dosage of a topical steroid. However, you need to be very careful while applying it around or on your breasts. Many women start producing breast milk even while they are pregnant. You need to be very careful while applying the medication to prevent it from seeping into your breast milk. Always wash your hands after using the medicine.
- Sometimes, the topical treatment may not be effective, and the psoriasis can deteriorate. In such a situation, your doctor may recommend a narrow-band ultraviolet light B (UVB) phototherapy (5).
- Your doctor may suggest broad-band UVB as an alternative to narrow-band ultraviolet light B phototherapy.
How To Soothe Psoriasis At Home During Pregnancy:
Your doctor will be the best judge to tell you how you can treat psoriasis while you are pregnant. Additionally, you can follow a few simple tips that can help you soothe the condition: (6)
- Use a good moisturizer to hydrate your skin. Ask your doctor to recommend a safe moisturizer.
- Avoid sweat accumulation on the affected area as it can make the condition worse.
- Don’t use very hot water to bathe as it can aggravate the condition. Pat yourself dry instead of rubbing with a towel. Bathe every alternate day instead of every day. Too much bathing can also aggravate the skin condition.
Psoriasis is not a very common condition, but it is not rare either. It is surely embarrassing, but that does not mean you cannot treat it effectively. Your pregnancy may improve or worsen your psoriasis, but don’t lose heart. Speak to your doctor about it and see what can work best for you.
Did you suffer from psoriasis while you were pregnant? How did your doctor help treat it? Please share your experience with us.