Psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells grow faster than normal, resulting in an accumulation of thick patches of skin or other skin abnormalities. The condition can affect specific regions of the skin or it can be widespread all over the body. One localized category of the condition is genital psoriasis, in which the excessive skin cells build up around the genital region.
This form of psoriasis belongs to a category of psoriasis known as inverse psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis occurs in skin folds and also tends to affect the areas near the breasts and armpits, in addition to the genital area. This category is not as common as other forms of psoriasis and has different symptoms. More common forms of psoriasis usually have symptoms that include patches of hard, dry skin that itches, but the symptoms of genital psoriasis and the other varieties of inverse psoriasis typically include smooth, puffy red patches on the skin’s surface near the affected areas. Since moisture tends to accumulate in skin folds where the condition occurs, the skin does not become dry or scaly like it does with other forms of the condition.
Genital psoriasis refers to any instances of the condition that develop near the genital region. It may include the skin on the upper thighs, the area above the genitals near the hipbones known as the pubis, and the crease between the genitals and upper thighs. The buttocks and anus may also be affected by the condition. In women, the condition can occur on the outer labia, the thick folds of skin that cover the vagina; however, it does not develop near the vulva or inside the vagina because the areas are covered with mucous membranes that are not susceptible to the skin cell abnormalities. The shaft of the penis is the genital area that is usually most affected by the condition in men.
The causes of genital psoriasis are often the result of a person being overweight or obese, and the friction of constant rubbing or chafing of the genital area. Sweating can aggravate the condition and make symptoms even worse.
Genital psoriasis symptoms can be treated, but the condition itself does not have a proven cure. Symptoms may go away for an extended period of time and then continually recur over time. When there are outbreaks of the condition, topical anti-inflammatory medications can be applied to the area to soothe the skin and reduce the pain and itching. Light therapy using ultraviolet rays can also be performed by a doctor to help slow down the rapid skin cell turnover the contributes to the condition.