The Unique Challenges of Having Psoriasis as a Woman
The National Psoriasis Foundation(NPF) states that men and women “develop psoriasis at equal rates.”[Ref.] Many of the symptoms are similar in men and women, but there are some unique challenges women face while living with the disease. The struggle for men should not be minimized, but we definitely share different struggles and considerations. For women with psoriasis we have the option of body makeup to cover up imperfections such as plaques. However, for many men, wearing makeup is considered a taboo and not an option. I have had psoriasis for over 20 years; so as a woman, I know the hardships that are unique to us very well. Check out 4 unique challenges women face while living with psoriasis.
About 50% of people who develop psoriasis will also have scalp involvement, according to the NPF.[Ref.] Outside of systemic options (which target the entire body), the treatments which can directly be applied to the head for scalp psoriasis include topical products, shampoos, and UV light treatments. Women have long hair, therefore it can be more cumbersome to apply scalp treatment medications than the male counterparts, who typically have shorter hair. I know of a woman who was suffering from scalp psoriasis so badly that she decided to shave her head so that she could apply medicine better.
A woman has a lot to consider if she is on a treatment for her psoriasis. If a woman is planning her pregnancy, it is best she speaks with her doctor about what it means for her current treatment and what options she has available once she conceives.
At times it seems as though beauty standards are much more of a concern for women than for men. The NPF reports that psoriasis affected the daily lives in 20% of women compared to only 12% of men.[Ref.] Some of those reasons included the pressures of desiring to be considered attractive. At times having a visible disease such as psoriasis can make it really difficult to feel attractive in a world where physical appearance is commonly put on the forefront.
Women are more likely to suffer from obesity in general. The World Health Organization reports women in the U.S. are highly possible to be obese compared to men.[Ref.] Those who have psoriasis have a high potential to suffer from other issues including obesity, reports the NPF.[Ref.] This suggests that women who have psoriasis are highly likely to be overweight. In addition, having psoriatic disease such as psoriatic arthritis MAY increase the issue further, because a woman may not be able to exercise as much as she would like due to pains from the disease.
Any suggestions made are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes to your treatment, exercise or diet routine.