Psoriasis is a condition in which red and itchy patches form on the skin and are often covered by scales. If you are suffering from plaque psoriasis, you would experience pain and discomfort. The exact cause of the disease is not known, but is probably related to hereditary and environmental factors. Psoriasis can be present in a persons genes and is activated under specific circumstances.
As of now, psoriasis cannot be fully cured, but there are several treatment options that can control the disease, improve your conditions and make the symptoms better. You can also be relieved of the pain and itchiness. Your doctor may prescribe you creams, ointments, phototherapy and oral medicines depending on your conditions. If the symptoms are mild, only creams and ointments are enough to control the disease, but if symptoms are severe, other options may have to be availed to gain relief from the pain. The disease does return, but it can be controlled once again.
The main aim of treatment of psoriasis is to reduce the growth of skin cells and control inflammation. Psoriasis can be divided into several types and treatment varies with this. Along with this, other factors also have to be considered such as the affected site, the severity of the disease and your age.
Here are some of the most common treatment options for psoriasis.
Creams And Ointments
If your psoriasis is in its initial stages or the systems are still mild, you can just treat the disease with external medications. At this stage, your disease should not be more than a couple of red patches here and there. In all these situations, you can improve your skin by basic products that can be obtained without a prescription. These include creams, lotions and ointments, and their purpose is to keep your skin moisturized. If your psoriasis is on the scalp, you can use shampoos and oils to treat it.
If medications that can be obtained without prescriptions do not give you an acceptable level of results, you can ask your doctor to recommend other drugs. These include products that contain vitamin D such as calcipotriene, corticosteroids, anthralin and retinoids.
While undergoing treatment, you should avoid anything that can trigger psoriasis or worsen your symptoms. Not abiding by this will just render the treatment useless. Stay away from stress, infection, skin injury and excessive alcohol use because these can cause your psoriasis to flare up.
Occlusion therapy is a type of treatment that can be very effective for some people. Apply a moisturizer or a medicated cream onto your skin, and then wrap up the areas with fabric or tape. This helps in keeping the affected area moist for longer periods, which produces better results. Ask your doctor for detailed instructions before you try occlusion therapy.
Phototherapy is a treatment option that involves exposing your affected areas to sunlight, ultraviolet light or a combination of the two. This treatment is a suitable option only if your psoriasis has affected less than 20% of your overall skin surface area. Though phototherapy can be effective, the side effects associated with it cannot be ignored because they include skin cancer.
Generally, UVB or ultraviolet B light is used for treating psoriasis. Sessions are usually conducted thrice in a week, and along with it, you would have to take medications as well. Another phototherapy treatment is based on PUVA or Psolaren and UVA light therapy, which is more effective, but also more dangerous.
Oral medications are a treatment option for psoriasis that is characterized by mild to severe symptoms. Common choices include methotrexate, retinoid and cyclosporine. Methotrexate is suggested when external creams and phototherapy fails, especially if the person is suffering from psoriasis arthritis. However, if you or your partner is pregnant or planning to conceive within three months, methotrexate is not a good option.
Retinoids are very similar to vitamin A, and prescribed for children and other individuals with an HIV infection. These do not affect functioning of the immune system and so can be used for relatively longer periods. Cyclosporines are also effective but can only be used for short periods because they weaken the immune system.
External medications almost always have to be used with oral drugs.
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