Guttate Psoriasis

guttate psoriasis symptomsGuttate psoriasis is a less common form of the skin condition – just 2% or so of psoriasis sufferers have guttate psoriasis. This type of psoriasis is so called due to the small, pinkish drops on the skin (‘gutta’ means ‘drop’ in Latin), mainly seen on the torso, arms and legs.

The scaling of the skin is much lighter than in plaque psoriasis, the most common form of the skin disorder. Whilst not contagious, guttate psoriasis can be triggered by a bacterial infection, usually streptococcus (strep throat). The outbreak of psoriasis two to three weeks after having strep throat may be an isolate incidence or it can recur or remain, particularly if the person carries strep in their respiratory system. Chicken pox or even the common cold can cause guttate psoriasis and the skin condition may occur in those who also suffer from plaque psoriasis.

Symptoms

Those under thirty years old are more likely to suffer from guttate psoriasis, and both men and women are affected equally. The finer scaling of the skin and the pink raindrop pattern can arise in the face, hands, and in the groin or genital region. Guttate psoriasis may flare-up when the patient has an infection, is stressed or due to environmental or dietary factors. Common signs of guttate psoriasis include:

  • itchy, small, pink (or red) raindrop-shape scales on the skin
  • the condition appears quickly 2-3 weeks after strep throat, tonsillitis or other infection
  • affects the torso, arms and legs first (usually), then spreads to the ears, face, scalp and groin
  • does not usually affect the nails as in other forms of psoriasis

Causes

There is a suspicion that a predisposition to develop guttate psoriasis is inherited as a family history of psoriasis appears to increase the likelihood of having the skin disease. The cause of guttate psoriasis is thought to be an abnormal immune system reaction following an infection such as streptococcus (found in around 80% of guttate psoriasis sufferers). The exact nature of this connection is unknown but it does appear to involve high levels of inflammation in the skin due to elevated T cell activity after infection. This leads to the excessive creation of new skin cells, creating the familiar scales of guttate and plaque psoriasis.

Most patients have experienced tonsillopharyngitis two to three weeks before the psoriasis appears. Viruses like rubella, chickenpox and roseola have also been implicated in triggering guttate psoriasis.

Read on for more information about the diagnosis of guttate psoriasis, and natural treatments for guttate psoriasis.

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