Those who've been following along know a little about my personal experience with psoriatic skin from the article “Psoriasis – The Year My Face Exploded“. When I went for my annual checkup last September, the doctor also noted that down the road my skin psoriasis could lead to psoriatic arthritis (where the psoriasis attacks your joints) – not a path I want to take. It really struck me as strange, how matter of fact she was about something that was really screwing up my life and could possibly get even worse, but I guess one develops a level of personal detachment over time. Given than it was my health on the line, I have a more urgent and vested interest. One of the first things I tried to figure out was possible psoriasis causes, since I figured if I can eliminate the cause, eventually my skin should clear, right?
Psoriatic Skin Causes – Mainstream and Alternative Viewpoints
Browsing around on the mainstream medical sites, they almost seem to “poo-poo” how psoriasis can truly throw a monkey wrench into your life. Scaling skin is no joke. When my face was at its worst, I scared small children and got plenty of rude stares from people with no manners. It made me really uncomfortable to go out in public or do videos for online. (I also have crazy slow internet, so it takes forever to load video.)
My skin would crack, bleed and ooze – just the slightest bump to an affected elbow would send pain shooting up my arm. I couldn't sleep at night because shifting in bed would break open the skin on my torso and start it bleeding again. Psoriasis can be a major life disrupter, and mine was small potatoes compared to some psoriasis photos I've seen on the internet.
Here's WebMD's take on psoriasis causes:
A variety of factors — ranging from emotional stress and trauma to streptococcal infection — can cause an episode of psoriasis. Recent research indicates that some abnormality in the immune system is the key cause of psoriasis. As many as 80% of people having flare-ups report a recent emotional trauma, such as a new job or the death of a loved one. Most doctors believe such external stressors serve as triggers for an inherited defect in immune function.
Injured skin and certain drugs can aggravate psoriasis, including certain types of blood pressure medications (like beta-blockers), the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.).
Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may be skip generations; a grandfather and his grandson may be affected, but the child's mother never develops the disease. Although psoriasis may be stressful and embarrassing, most outbreaks are relatively harmless. With appropriate treatment, symptoms generally subside within a few months.
That sounds nice and simple, but again, from what I've seen and what readers have shared, many of those with moderate to severe psoriasis suffer for years, even after trying various forms of treatment.
I did have frequent strep throat infections as a teenager (with accompanying antibiotics). A number of sources have linked strep throat to psoriasis.
I certainly have had plenty of stress in my life, including my mom's death, wrapping up our homeschooling years, and simply trying to find enough hours in the day to get everything done.
I don't take any prescription meds except thyroid medication, and rarely use OTC medications.
I'm not familiar with any family members who had psoriasis, although several family members have dealt with moderate to severe acne, and my mom developed a weird skin condition the last decade of her life.
Contrast this with potential psoriatic skin triggers listed in “Healing Psoriasis The Natural Alternative – The Drug-Free Program That Really Works“, which looks at a broader picture involving gut health:
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Chemicals in processed foods
- Enzyme deficiencies
- Prescription corticosteroids (such as Prednisone)
- A Diet High in Refined Carbohydrates (candy, sweets, soda, white flour products)
- Prescription hormones (such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy)
- Mold and fungal mycotoxins (from stored grain, fruit and refined carbs)
- Chronic constipation
- Improper elimination
- Insufficient daily intake of water
- Foods high in saturated fats (don't know that I agree with this one, as our brain is made up mostly of saturated fat)
- Nightshades – particularly tomatoes
- Negative emotions
- Spinal misalignments
- Hereditary factors
In the book, “How to Heal Psoriasis from the Inside Out: An Energetic Perspective” the author touches on some physical causes such as:
- Having an acidic environment in the body
- Toxins and Heavy Metals
- Improper elimination/constipation
- Candida overgrowth
She also relates her own experience, where she found a connection between emotional/spiritual issues and her psoriasis, which is of course the primary focus of the book. Particularly interesting to me was the section where she correlated reflexology points with areas of the body where the psoriasis developed. In my case, my psoriasis first showed up on my elbows. The author notes:
The inside of the elbows is a need to draw people or situations near to you, or to cling on. The outside of the elbow represents pushing people away.
She also notes that psoriasis on the front of the body relates to anxiety about what's ahead – which I have an abundance of at the current time. I've also been anxious about my boys leaving (unnecessarily so, as they are in no rush to move out, but that's a more complicated factor linked to my past that I'll discuss later in the series). I've also been a rather private person most of my life, so I think that at times I struggle with the push to share more online.
Addressing Possible Psoriasis Causes
In the rest of the series, I'll be working through the different psoriasis treatments that I've tried to address each of the causes that are likely to be an issue for me, as well as other possible options. Over these past months I've an assortment of topical creams, herbs, diet changes and alternative therapies with varying degrees of success. I'm not giving up until I get this problem fixed.
For those dealing with psoriasis or other chronic health conditions – do any of these triggers sound familiar? I'd be grateful if you'd be willing to share your experience so that we can all learn together.
- How to Heal Psoriasis from the Inside Out: An Energetic Perspective
- The Four Horsemen Of Psoriasis: Tame Your Psoriasis From Within. A Science-Based Natural Therapy
- Cultured Food for Health: A Guide to Healing Yourself with Probiotic Foods Kefir * Kombucha * Cultured Vegetables
Other posts in the series:
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