People who have psoriasis are 5.5 times more likely than those without the condition to develop sexual dysfunction, according to a new research review that was published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
Sexual dysfunction may include lack of libido, erectile dysfunction, trouble reaching orgasm, and pain during intercourse.
The new review, which examined 28 earlier studies, found that people with psoriasis who also had anxiety and depression were especially likely to experience some type of sexual dysfunction. Those who had psoriatic arthritis or genital psoriasis also had a greater risk.
Although psoriasis is often thought of as a skin condition, this autoimmune illness “is a disease with effects well beyond the skin,” Joel Gelfand, MD, a professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, told MedPage Today. It is well-known that living with psoriasis can be stressful and take a toll on your mood, relationships, and career.
“Psoriasis patients should be approached more holistically,” said Dr. Gelfand. (He was not involved in the study, which was conducted by researchers in Granada, Spain.)
The upshot: The study determined that when psoriasis gets treated properly, sexual dysfunction also tends to get better, at least for women. The researchers found that biologic drugs in particular seemed to improve sexual well-being.
If your psoriasis is not well-controlled, or if it’s impacting your self-esteem, relationships, or sexual health, talk to your health care provider. You may benefit from a different psoriasis medication or from spending some time in counseling. It might also be helpful to connect with other people who have this condition, perhaps through the Psoriasis One to One program.