West Houston Dermatology

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Psoriasis, Dating & Intimacy: Challenges Patients Face

Patients with psoriasis experience the medical irritations of having this skin disease, but there is a component that many people forget about – talking to a new dating partner about the disease.  The National Psoriasis Foundation took a poll of its members, and 35% reported that they avoided dating and/or intimacy over being embarrassed about their psoriasis.  Many people are unaware of the disease and that it is not contagious; when faced with seeing active psoriasis for the first time sometimes people do not know how to react.  It can be difficult to determine when in one’s relationship to disclose that psoriasis is part of one’s life, and it can sometimes seem like the patient’s life is defined by having psoriasis.  The National Psoriasis Foundation offers some suggestions for how to discuss the disease with a new partner, with the foremost suggestion being open and direct about one’s condition as early as possible.  The focus should be on the individual as a person with psoriasis being a peripheral issue.  Unlike a patient with high blood pressure or cholesterol, psoriasis has a strongly visual, aesthetic impact on the patient’s life, and this is challenging.  Sometimes, a little levity breaks the ice when talking about difficult subjects such as psoriasis and intimacy.  The National Psoriasis Foundation is a wealth of information for patients, and their website contains resources for patients directly on point with this issue.  In fact, there is a short video produced by psoriasis patients titled “Psoriasis & Me” that discusses the challenges of psoriasis and intimate relationships.  West Houston Dermatology psoriasis specialist, Stephen Mahoney, M.D., is also an excellent resource physician for patients.  Dr. Mahoney is an expert in treating psoriasis in adults and youth.