Genital Psoriasis

Genital psoriasis; at a glance

  • Best Results1-3 weeks
  • Treatment RecoveryNA
  • Procedure Time2 minutes. Daily.
  • Skin SpecialistDr Sarath Bodapati at Cutis Dermatology
  • Duration of ResultsVariable
  • AnaestheticNA
  • Back to WorkNA
  • Cost$

About Genital Psoriasis

This page is written in the context of diagnosis & treatment of psoriasis in males. Our specialists at Cutis Dermatology manage all forms of psoriasis. 

Genital psoriasis can present as red, scaly patches on the penis & genital areas. It can affect the head & shaft of the penis, scrotum, pubic & anal area. Burning, stinging & skin irritation are common. Treatment for psoriasis may include topical medications, light therapy, and oral medications. A dermatologist can diagnose & effectively treat psoriasis.

FactsFacts On Genital Psoriasis

  • Psoriasis affects the genital area in over 60% of sufferers 
  • Genital psoriasis can look like STDs, fungal infections, & eczema
  • Psoriasis can affect the penis, scrotum or skin around the genital area
  • Secondary infection is commonly associated with psoriasis in this area
  • A dermatologist can effectively treat all forms of psoriasis, including genital psoriasis
  • Read more to understand how to treat psoriasis in this area

What is genital psoriasis?

Genital psoriasis is a common rash that affects 1-3 % of the population. It can be seen in more than half of psoriasis sufferers. Psoriasis of the genital area can affect –

  • The penis, scrotum, or vulva
  • The skin above the genitals)
  • Crease between the buttocks, including the skin around the anus
  • Inner and upper thigh
  • Crease between the thigh and genital area

How does a dermatologist diagnose psoriasis?

Most cases are easily identified via a clinical examination. Dr Sarath will review your case either via a virtual consultation or a real time examination. Rarely a swab may be taken to exclude infections that may resemble psoriasis. 

Disclaimer: I do not treat male genital conditions. My colleague at Cutis Dermatology will review your case. Please book an appointment with Dr Sarath. Virtual consultations are possible. 

How do specialists treat genital psoriasis?

Dermatologists can prescribe a skin care routine to help alleviate the signs & symptoms of genital psoriasis. They include-

  • General skin care: emollients & soap substitutes, barrier creams. 
  • Specific anti-psoriasis creams: topical anti inflammatories, calcineurin inhibitors.
  • Oral medications.
  • Narrowband phototherapy for areas surrounding the genitals

What are other treatment options?

  • Topical vitamin D – are effective in treating psoriasis and the newer types are less likely to cause irritation. Dermatologists recommend cautious use of vitamin D analogue creams and ointments on genital skin.
  • Topical vitamin A- can be effective, however titration is required as retinoids can be irritating. Tazarotene, tretinoin & trifarotene are examples. 
  • Dithranol- not usually recommended for use in skin flexures because of their tendency to cause irritation.
  • Coal tar preparations, often in combination with skin care acids can be cautiously titrated in the pubic area. 
  • UV light treatment – can be done around the genital area, however the penis & scrotal areas are off label. 
  • Systemic therapies – such as methotrexate can work well for people with genital lesions and should be considered for people with debilitating quality of life impairment.
  • Biologics – A recent study has shown ixekizumab to have high efficacy specifically for genital psoriasis, with rapid improvement seen as early as 1 week into treatment. 

Disclaimer: I do not treat male genital conditions. My colleague at Cutis Dermatology will review your case. Please book an appointment with Dr Sarath.

What other rashes may look like genital psoriasis?

Several skin conditions can resemble genital psoriasis due to their similar appearance. It is important to note that a proper diagnosis can only be made by a healthcare professional. Some rashes that may resemble genital psoriasis include:

  1. Genital dermatitis: Contact dermatitis or irritant dermatitis can cause a rash in the genital area due to an allergic reaction or irritation from certain substances such as soaps, perfumes, laundry detergents, or fabrics.
  2. Genital warts: are STDs that may resemble psoriasis, especially the flat or plane wart variety. 
  3. Yeast infection (Candidiasis): A yeast infection in the genital area can cause redness, itching, and a rash. It is typically accompanied by a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge.
  4. Genital lichen planus: Lichen planus is an inflammatory skin condition that can affect the genital area. It presents as purple, itchy, flat-topped bumps and can cause discomfort.
  5. Genital herpes: Herpes is a viral infection that can cause painful blisters or sores on the genitals. These blisters may resemble psoriasis plaques but are often accompanied by other symptoms such as tingling, burning, or flu-like symptoms.
  6. Intertrigo: Intertrigo is a common condition that occurs in skin folds, including the genital area. It is characterized by red, raw, and irritated skin due to moisture, heat, and friction.
  7. Jock itch (Tinea cruris): Jock itch is a fungal infection that commonly affects the groin area. It can cause a red, itchy rash with a raised border and may be accompanied by scaling or flaking.

Disclaimer: I do not treat male genital conditions. My colleague at Cutis Dermatology will review your case. Please book an appointment with Dr Sarath. Virtual consultations are possible. 

What are triggers for psoriasis?

Psoriasis triggers are factors that can lead to the onset or worsening of psoriasis symptoms in individuals who have the condition. This applies to genital psoriasis. Triggers can vary from person to person, and identifying your specific triggers can help you manage and reduce flare-ups. Here are some common psoriasis triggers:

    1. Stress: Emotional stress, such as anxiety, depression, or major life events, can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms in some individuals. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy, can be helpful.
  • Infections: Certain infections, such as strep throat (streptococcal infection), can trigger or exacerbate psoriasis, leading to a condition known as guttate psoriasis. It’s important to promptly treat any infections to help manage psoriasis symptoms.
  1. Injury to the skin: Skin injuries, such as cuts, burns, or excessive scratching, can trigger the development of psoriasis lesions in the affected areas, a phenomenon known as the Koebner response.
  2. Medications: Some medications, such as certain antimalarial drugs, beta-blockers, lithium, and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms in susceptible individuals. If you suspect that a medication is affecting your psoriasis, consult your healthcare provider for alternative options.
  3. Cold, dry weather: Cold weather and low humidity levels can dry out the skin, leading to increased itchiness and potentially triggering psoriasis flare-ups. Protecting your skin from cold temperatures and using moisturizers can help alleviate symptoms.
  4. Alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms in some individuals. Limiting or avoiding alcohol intake may be beneficial.
  5. Smoking: Smoking tobacco has been associated with an increased risk of psoriasis and can worsen existing symptoms. Quitting smoking can improve psoriasis and overall health.
  6. Certain medications: Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta-blockers, and lithium, have been associated with triggering or exacerbating psoriasis in some individuals. It’s important to consult your healthcare provider if you suspect a medication is affecting your psoriasis.
  7. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can affect psoriasis symptoms in some individuals.
  8. Dietary factors: While the role of diet in psoriasis is not fully understood, some individuals report that certain foods can trigger or worsen their symptoms. Common triggers include gluten, dairy products, processed foods, and alcohol. Identifying and avoiding potential trigger foods may be helpful for some individuals.

Disclaimer: I do not treat male genital conditions. My colleague at Cutis Dermatology will review your case. Please book an appointment with Dr Sarath. Virtual consultations are possible. 

Davin’s viewpoint: genital psoriasis treatments

Disclaimer: I do not treat male genital conditions. My colleague at Cutis Dermatology will review your case. Please book an appointment with Dr Sarath. 

Psoriasis affecting the genital areas are super common- over half of all psoriasis sufferers will have rashes in this area. In most cases the diagnosis is straightforward, however in some cases it can be challenging as psoriasis may resemble sextually transmitted disorders including herpes simplex, plane warts, genitall warts & atypical infections. A simple examination can be diagnostic. 

Treating genital psoriasis can be tricky as the skin in this area is sensitive. Start off with simple soap substitutes to reduce inflammation & skin irritation. This is paramount. Swabs can be taken to exclude infection. From there, dermatologists will initiate topical treatments with anti-inflammatories. More complex cases are treated with tablets, & biologic injections. Fortunately in Australia, the majority of psoriasis cases are subsidized by Medicare & PBS. 

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