Written by Aparna Hari
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that if once occurs stays with you for life. It is a genetic disease where our body mistakenly produces skin cells way before their due date. As a result, the skin of the affected area rapidly peels out like whitish flakes along with dryness and itchiness. So, what happens when you have psoriasis when breastfeeding? Can you continue to breastfeed your baby?
As psoriasis does not spread through touch, cough, or sneezing you must not deprive your baby of the valuable breast milk.
Breastfeeding in psoriasis is possible. Even if you have psoriasis on your breasts, still you can breastfeed. Here are some tips for you to safely and comfortably breastfeed your baby while having psoriasis. You will also get to know all about psoriasis and how to control it.
In This Article
Psoriasis is a skin condition where the hyperactive immune system of the body impacts the usual duration of skin production. Normally skin cells take three weeks to cycle (grow and shed). But in a person with psoriasis skin cells take only three to four days to cycle. As a result, they witness plaques or scaly buildup and inflammation on their skin especially over the joint areas.
There are two types of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not contagious but it can pass genetically to the next generation.
As psoriasis does not spread through skin-to-skin contact, you can breastfeed your baby while having psoriasis. In fact, according to a study published in NCBI, through breastmilk, you cannot transfer immunity against autoimmune diseases like psoriasis to your baby.
Another study published in ScienceDirect states that though psoriasis is a genetic disease, there is only a 10% chance of psoriasis transmission to the baby if one of the parents has it. But in case both parents have psoriasis, the risk of the baby getting the disease rises to 50%. So even if you have psoriasis, you can plan your family and even safely breastfeed your baby with some precautions.
There is no evidence that breastfeeding triggers a psoriasis flare-up. But if you get psoriasis on the skin of your breasts or near the nipples then the rub and friction during breastfeeding, breast enlargement due to milk production, cracks and soreness of the nipples can all together cause more irritation and itching on your psoriatic skin.
Though breastfeeding alone does not cause psoriasis flare-up, after delivery you can witness an increase in psoriasis. This is because during pregnancy psoriasis is subdued a bit so that the body accepts the baby.
According to a report of NCBI, a high concentration of progesterone hormone down regulates the proliferative response of the T cells responsible for psoriasis. But after giving birth when the body starts behaving like earlier almost 60 to 80 percent of women witness a hike in their psoriasis.
Stress and lack of sleep while looking after a newborn can also trigger the recurrence of psoriasis.
Psoriasis, as it is an autoimmune chronic disease, is not fully curable. The symptoms of psoriasis will come and go throughout one’s life. With medications, you can only get some relief from skin irritation or subdue the symptoms to some extent.
You can treat psoriasis in different ways while breastfeeding. The safest way is to do topical treatment such as using moisturizer, petroleum jelly, and emollients on the affected areas. Application of any doctor-recommended moisturizer will soften the skin and reduce dryness and itchiness.
It is wise to avoid medicines for psoriasis while breastfeeding a baby but you can take them on your doctor’s suggestions if your condition is bad. You can apply low-dose steroids on the affected area or take oral steroids like prednisolone and Prednisone while breastfeeding.
Phototherapy is another treatment option you can choose while nursing your baby. While UVB phototherapy is safe during breastfeeding, PUVA phototherapy is not. The medicine psoralen used in PUVA phototherapy can transmit through breast milk and make your baby over-sensitive to lights.
While the emergence of psoriasis is not in your hands, managing the situation bravely is what you can surely do. Here are some tips you can follow to manage psoriasis during breastfeeding
Embrace your skin no matter what happens. It is obvious to feel embarrassed or insecure with psoriatic skin but you will have to accept the fact and move on.
[Read : Exercising While Breastfeeding]
As there is a chance of a sudden increase in psoriasis after childbirth, you need to see your dermatologist within the first few weeks. With balanced medication and care you can control your psoriasis from worsening. You need to ask for a doctor’s help if;
To conclude, psoriasis is a lifelong disease. And being a skin disease, it affects your psychological health more than your physical health. Studies show that the feeling of embarrassment is more common in people with psoriasis than the patients dealing with cancer. Pregnancy and child care can bring lots more responsibilities and stress. But you will have to be open to seeking help and support from your friends and family. With a mutual effort, you can manage your baby and your health comfortably.
There is only a 10 percent chance for your baby to get psoriasis from you. But the chances rise to up to 50 percent if both the parents have psoriasis as it is a genetic disease.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit are known to be common allergens. And often an allergic reaction causes a sudden flare in psoriasis. So, if you feel your psoriasis is worsening after eating citrus fruits then skip them for some time to see if it improves or not.
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia in Babies – What is it, Types, and Complications
Arsenic in Baby Food – Is it Bad and How to Avoid?
Teething Tablets For Babies – Are They Safe, Side Effects and Alternatives
When Should You Introduce Baby Swings to Your Baby?
Postpartum Insomnia – Causes, Symptoms and Ways to Prevent
Dravet Syndrome in Babies – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment