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P and Female Hormones
from JNE

I have noticed right before my period my psoriasis gets worse.  My lesions become redder and I know I’ll be getting my period in a few days.  Do you think hormones have any involvement in psoriasis?  I’ve had psoriasis since I was 22 and I’m now 48.  I have tried light treatments that work temporarily; and I tried Dovonex.  I also tried Soriatane and it made me lose my hair in clumps, so I stopped.  What do you think about Enbrel?

I just want to be normal!  I have spent my whole life hiding this condition and I have accepted it, but a part of me would like it to just go away.  I hear stories about women hitting menopause and getting clear.  What do you know about this phenomenon?  -JNE


Ed’s Response:  I hope, JNE, that other female FlakeHQers will respond to your inquiries, because I don’t have much knowledge to draw on.  Perhaps a few words about what we can’t disregard as possibilities….

I don’t think we could disregard hormones as a trigger for flaking.  One thing we know about the disease is lesions form for mysterious reasons and lots of different factors appear to apply.  Stress, toxins like smoke and alcohol, allergies, normal aging, diet and, yes, hormonal changes have all been suspected of triggering P.  And our suspicions work both ways.  Some of us can count on flaking under certain circumstances and count on clearing under others.  Many women report clearing when they get pregnant, for example.  While this is far from universal, the fact that it happens as much as it does suggests that for some there is a correlation between the body’s changes during pregnancy and their “no-flakes” state.  (To be fair, I should also point out that P gets worse for many other women during pregnancy.  How can we draw any conclusions in this case?  Well, we can’t draw conclusions for any specific individual unless they’ve been pregnant two or more times and experienced the same changes in their P.  Then we could say this woman will probably improve if/when she gets pregnant again.  See Interested In Pregnancy and P Connection.)

Menopause is also considered by some to be a P trigger.  Search on “menopause” from the home page at FlakeHQ and checkout the posts on both sides of this argument.

If your derm thinks you are a likely candidate for Enbrel, and you can afford it, I think you should give it a try.  I tell almost everybody who asks to try it.  For some of us the experience has been frustrating, but there are far too many people obtaining fantastic results for the disappointments to inhibit more attempts.  Look through the messages at PsorChat to read about others’ experiences on this biologic.  You have been flaking for 26 years, JNE.  If you’re bulking at the notion of trying something that’s working for so many other people, think about how much you’d like to live the next 26 years less troubled by our disease.

Good luck and let us know how you are progressing.  –Ed

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