Talking with your doctor about psoriasis
Talking to your doctor about psoriasis can be a difficult and stressful experience, especially if you're guilty of online self-diagnosis. Before convincing yourself of the worst, use these tips to talk with your doctor about your skin condition.
Psoriasis is a reccuring skin condition that leaves red patches or lesions on the skin. While no cure exists, collaborating with your doctor on psoriasis treatment can lead you down the path to happiness and confidence.
Knowledge = power
Approach your doctor about your psoriasis condition equipped with all of the information you can find on your condition. This includes your symptoms and their severity (mild to extreme), where and how often you are affected, medical histories of you and your family, medication regimens and previous treatment history. Depending on these factors, as well as your current health condition, your doctor will work with you to find the treatment that works for you.
Here's what to ask your doctor:
- What types of treatments are available? This may seem like an obvious question, but it is the most important.
- Are there any possible side-effects from the treatment? Will the medication put you in a bad mood? Will it cause headaches? All of this is pretty important in determining what will work best for you and your lifestyle.
- Any risks from the treatment? Some medications can create the risk for blood clots and tumors. If you are already at risk based on your family history, you may want to stay away from these medications.
- Can you take the treatment while pregnant/breastfeeding? Does the medication wind up in breast milk?
- Is there any limitation on sun exposure? Summer may be coming to an end, but fall weather is perfect for walks and bike rides. If sun exposure is something that you can't live without, this question is very important.
- Can you still visit the tanning salon? Tanning salons are already bad news for the skin. If you're a frequent visitor, make sure you check with your doc.
- What types of ingredients should you be weary of in facial products (i.e. makeup, lotion, soap)? Some makeup works better for certain types of skin; the same goes for soaps and lotions. If you must avoid a certain ingredient, reading labels and asking questions will help you make better choices when shopping for these items.
- What types of ingredients should you look for? Likewise, some ingredients in makeup actually can help your psoriasis. The doctor can help you find out what works with your skin.
- Will the medication have any negative reactions with your current birth control method? Medication can mess with your birth control, actually rendering it completely inaffective. If you're not looking to have (another) baby any time soon, knowing this will help you keep maternity clothes at bay.
- Can hair dye have affect your psoriasis? Hair touches your face and skin constantly. If you enjoy six-week visits to the salon, tell your hairdresser exactly what you must avoid.
Take a good look at your lifestyle and prepare your own list of questions. Remember: Your doctor is there to help you deal with medical issues. Don't be intimidated by the prospect of talking about your psoriasis with her.