Inverse psoriasis, also called flexural psoriasis, is a variation of psoriasis, which is an autoimmune disease. It affects the skin and manifests as shiny red patches in places where the skin folds. Inverse psoriasis can show up under the armpits, in between the buttocks, beneath the breasts, or in the groin area. Although lacking the scales that are characteristic of plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis is still extremely itchy and painful. Because this type of psoriasis often appears in the groin and armpit area, it is frequently misdiagnosed as a yeast or fungal infection. Ironically, if inverse psoriasis is left untreated, yeast and fungal infections often do develop as a secondary skin infection.
Like other types of psoriasis, flexural psoriasis is extremely stubborn-there are no prescription medications available inverse psoriasis that guarantee remission for inverse psoriasis. Most doctors and dermatologists will prescribe corticosteroid creams to treat inverse psoriasis. However, steroid creams and ointments only provide temporary relief in most cases.
Moreover, if corticosteroids are used to treat inverse psoriasis, the skin gradually builds up tolerance until they are no longer effective. Progressively stronger steroid creams must be used, often resulting in side effects such as bruising and thinning of the skin. Often, doctors suggest tapering off the usage of steroid creams as soon as they prove to be ineffective, however, this leads to psoriasis flare ups. In most cases, the psoriasis sufferer is left in worse condition than before.
Topical ointments such as Elidel and Protopic may also be prescribed to treat inverse psoriasis. Although these drugs are approved by the FDA for eczema, they are often used relieve symptoms of psoriasis in skin folds. These creams are extremely strong and should not be used long-term due to an increased risk for viral infections, lymphoma, and skin cancer.
In cases of severe flexural psoriasis, systemic medications are frequently used to alleviate symptoms. In most cases, these powerful drugs do improve the symptoms of psoriasis; however, they are not compatible with everyone. Acitretin, methotrexate, and cyclosporine severely weaken the immune system in order to decrease the severity of psoriasis. These are taken orally and dosage may vary depending on the patient's needs. Mild side effects include nausea, fatigue, vomiting, etc. More serious side effects include liver cirrhosis, acute hepatitis, gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, etc. Other body-wide treatments are called biologics, which are injected into the patient. Biologics such as Embrel and Stelara work by targeting and inhibiting cells that produce the symptoms of psoriasis. Mild side effects include headache, fatigue, and irritation at the site of injection. Serious and life threatening risks include seizures, cancer, and certain brain infections.
Because psoriasis is the result of a faulty immune system, focusing solely on treating skin lesions only suppresses the symptoms, but does not cure the root of the disease. The safest and most effective way to treat inverse psoriasis is through diet and exercise. There are no dangerous side effects or long-term risks. There are also a variety of natural topical treatments available to provide relief from the constant itch until you are able to achieve remission.