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2 Pregnancies Affected Her P Differently
Ed: First, thanks for the
website. I go here when I need to be cheered up about this whole thing.
I'm a 36-year old female. Psoriasis
first showed up in my senior year of high school. I
have moderate guttate form; also my scalp and one big toenail are
affected. Mainly on my
torso/back but arms and legs get involved sometimes. Same
old story: worse in winter (I
thought the following might be of some interest to readers of your
website. I wanted to wait and see the results myself. I have two children,
one of each (26 months and 4 months old currently). I had two completely
different experiences during these two pregnancies. So what does this say
about the hormonal influence on psoriasis?
first child is a girl. My psoriasis (except the toenail) cleared
COMPLETELY during the second half of the pregnancy. Nothing, no lesions,
clear scalp. I could wear whatever I wanted (tank tops in public for the
first time since I was 18, wow!), went to the beach often since she was
born at the end of August. Within six weeks after her birth, it all came
back, probably more lesions than before. "Crept" out to upper
arms, where it had never been before, making it tough to wear short
sleeves and not feel self-conscious. At least I could pretend it was
mosquito bites (yeah, I don't have the courage to explain to everyone who
asks) in the summer.
second child is a boy. Reverse experience this time. My toenail cleared
completely but my body lesions and scalp only lessened somewhat. A lot of
the plaques flattened out and became more silverish-red. Enough that I
stopped using topical prescriptions and just used a good moisturizer. But
I never went back to tank tops or a bathing suit. After the second birth
(in July this time), my psoriasis came back quicker — about 3-4 weeks
afterward. Seems about the same, maybe a little less than when this all
started around 2 years ago. A footnote to the whole thing is that I needed
emergency gallbladder surgery 7 weeks after he was born. I had to explain
to every single nurse, doctor, surgical staff that it was psoriasis and
not a rash or reaction to IV painkillers. A rather humiliating experience.
this ended up to be a longer letter than I expected, but I wanted to add
my experience to the website. I would be interested in hearing form
others; also in hearing about the pregnancy/psoriasis study that took
place at UC-Irvine. Didn't see (or didn't search well enough?) results
Response: Thanks for sharing
your experience with us, MD. Preliminary
results from the UC-Irvine study can be found imbedded in my response to
this correspondence: Interested
In Pregnancy and P Connection. I’ve
been unable to lay my hands on a copy of the post-study documentation —
but will see what I can find after this update to FlakeHQ is posted.
correspondent — this one an inflammation specialist/researcher —
shared with me recently a notion that our immune systems might contain
their own back-up plans.
That is to say, those same immune response functions that have been
associated with P at the protein level may be only one immune response
that can trigger P lesions.
This would explain why sometimes the new, narrowly targeted
biologics don’t work for people. (In
my case, it could explain why Enbrel didn’t work for me in 2003.
The drug was probably doing exactly what it was intended to do, but
my immune system found a work-around,
or called up its back-up plan to
keep my psoriasis flourishing.) The
same thing may be what makes the pregnancy/psoriasis connection less than
our immune response back-up plans may not all be hardwired.
That is to say, experience and a sort of biological trial-and-error
may make our back-up plans evolve over time and with age.
We know we are not “ready made” to fight off many infections.
We know that our immune system “trains” its fighter cells to
identify and thwart certain kinds of malicious invader-organisms.
(This is what vaccinations do — they “train” our immune
system to fight certain infections with safe dosages or simulacrums of the
bad guys.) Perhaps your
flaking response “learned something” as a result of your first
pregnancy and was, therefore, better able to maintain your flaking when
you got pregnant the second time. All
of this is theory, so far as I know.
When I can learn more about the UC-Irvine study, I’ll post it at FlakeHQ — even if it’s between updates. Thanks again for sharing, MD. -Ed