Dear Le Snuggle: I Have Dealt With Psoriasis My Whole Life

Welcome to our "Snuggle Sunday" Q & A series, where our blog authors respond to frequently asked questions and offer advice.
Editor’s Note:  To date, we have not centered any articles around comments or letters received from our customers/subscribers.  We receive a lot of feedback on Sundays compared to the rest of the week and we felt compelled to respond to this particular letter sent to us via snail mail. 
We are keeping his name and address anonymous for privacy concerns.

Dear Le Snuggle, 

"I read your psoriasis article.  A couple of times.  Everything you talked about resonated with me.  It brought back years and years of memories of living with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and Koebner Phenomenon. 

Basically, I have dealt with psoriasis for most of my life.  Or, entirely too long!

Your positive attitude has inspired me to examine several alternative therapies to maintain my clearing skin.  Notice I did not say cleared.

My dilemma is this:

Approximately 5 years ago, I divorced after being married for 32 years.  Until just recently, I had zero interest in pursuing a new relationship.  

Due to a flare-up from the stress of my relationship ending, I have now found and am cultivating a new passionate relationship with a lovely woman.  She is so many great things, but best of all is her understanding about my psoriasis on my hands and elbows. 

The two remaining areas of my body that have psoriasis are my most private areas.  My question is should we talk about it first or, let nature take its course? I am covered in my genital area.  I know intercourse will be painful 

I am taking some positive steps and not just delivering bad news.  I started a new diet, eliminating the things I know are triggers such as red sauce and acidic fruit. I am eating copious amounts of celery, and I am trying hard to control my sleep habits as well.

With it being football season, I find that it is hard to eat and drink well. I usually gain weight, and the alcohol flares me up. When I flare, so does my arthritis. 

In order to be the best I can possibly be for my future partner, I have not had a drink, and I have started a new supplement plan designed to build my immune system and hopefully, help my psoriasis, but to also promote my cardiovascular health.

I am happy to be moving forward.  I know this will not be easy, but I am excited for the first time in a very long time. 

Help me make this perfect without stressing myself out further."

Thank you so much for reaching out to me.  It means so much to hear from someone I have so much in common with.  

First, I am so very happy for you to have found someone you want to move forward with. 

Second, if your future partner already understands about your psoriasis, chances are good that she will be just as understanding about the rest of your skin that does not show. 

Again, education is key.  She knows it is not contagious, but may be worried that because you are in a new relationship, that having sexual relations may cause you pain and loss of enjoyment of such a special time. 

You need to guide how your sexual relationship progresses by your response to the things you are doing to improve that area of your psoriasis.  As you know, these things can take time. 

Meanwhile, concentrate on romantic evenings and learning everything that you can about each other.  Also, confide in her about the types of things you have been through as a result of having had psoriasis for so long.  More than likely, you sharing this information will bring the two of you closer together.  Intimacy at this point in your relationship is crucial.  So is snuggling, kissing, and satisfying your partner even if the scenario does not end in intercourse. 

According to Smart Patient EU in their article entitled: ‘The Heartbreak of Psoriasis’ and Its Effect on Mental Health: 

"While the severity of psoriasis varies significantly, many millions of people will have experienced mental health problems as a result of psoriasis.”

Many thanks to Smart Patient and Mr. Dan Brown for graciously allowing us to reference his article.  

As you mentioned in your letter, stress is definitely a predictor for flareup.  Smart patient additionally states:

 “What’s more; stress and emotional distress is known to trigger flares in psoriasis.  This, in turn, exacerbates the mental health issues, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break”.

Everything that you are feeling is TOTALLY NORMAL! You are probably increasing your apprehension about initiating your sexual relationship to an extreme degree. I get it. She is on board with you so far, as long as you continue to communicate with her. It is doubtful that she would distance herself from you at this point because of your skin. I truly believe that you will be pleasantly surprised. You already believe she is a quality person. Give her time to show you just how special she is.  I am not going to tell you to try to relax, because I know how I am and I truly sympathize with what you are going through.  I have walked in that same pair of shoes.

Keep working on your skin, so that you can continue to heal.  That way, you can keep your relationship fresh and new, trying all of those things you want to try with your new future partner. 

Once healed, my recommendation is to head to the beach to the highest salt content you can afford and reasonably get to. Who knows, the next time you write me, it may be from a nude beach!

Thank you again for reaching out.  I hope that you will do so again should you ever need to privately discuss anything further. 

I imagine that this letter was pretty difficult to write.  While I think you should already have had this discussion, feel free to share the article with your new paramour. Educate her. Show her the first article you read.  Let her ask her questions.  Should she wish to talk with me, feel free to share my contact information.  

I wish you the best of luck in the future and your path forward to remission.  Everything you are doing is all so positive.  Be patient and try not to get discouraged.  I hope you write back if you get positive results from your alternative therapies. I would love to receive an update.