Scalp Psoriasis Is a Valid Condition
Last updated: September 2021
I am medically retired, yet my days seem as busy as ever. Most days of the week, I have some type of medical appointment. A normal week includes mental health therapy, physical therapy, pain management and often, at least one specialist.
It is overwhelming, and I wonder when I am supposed to get the rest I need. Living with a chronic illness can sometimes feel like a full-time job.
Getting ahead of scalp psoriasis
One of my worst habits is procrastination. When I start feeling like there is too much going on, it seems the only thing I can do to carry on is to ignore the growing list. And with my list of regular doctors and therapists, it's especially easy to put off health concerns that seem less pressing.
For the past few months, I have felt that my scalp psoriasis has been out of control. When I visited my rheumatologist in February, she specifically told me to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist. Did I do it? No. I did not. I was busy.
I have been overloaded with a bazillion other appointments. And scalp psoriasis feels more like a nuisance than a medical condition.
More than just a nuisance
Last week, I went back to my rheumatologist. “Have you seen the dermatologist yet?”, she asked, even though it's obvious I haven’t. My scalp isn’t any better than it was five months ago. In fact, it’s worse.
Plus, I’ve been picking at the plaques. My hair is thinning in places. I use the topical medications I was prescribed. I no longer color treat my hair and I avoid using heat, all to protect my hair and scalp, but I know I need to go to the doctor. I need to make it a priority.
If I don’t think of my scalp psoriasis as a valid medical condition that requires treatment, why should I expect my health care team to see it as important? Scalp psoriasis is not just a nuisance. It’s uncomfortable. And sometimes it’s downright painful.
Fighting a losing battle
The plaques on my scalp can bleed or become infected. Plus, scalp psoriasis tends to travel. I often have plaques behind my ears or down the back of my neck. Occasionally, I see it starting to creep onto my forehead. This type of psoriasis also causes my hair to fall out in clumps, especially when I scratch the itch.
One of the reasons that I am prone to procrastination with scalp psoriasis is that it is so persistent. Sometimes fighting seems like a losing battle that I just do not have the energy to deal with.
It doesn’t respond well to my biologic or my methotrexate. It does respond, for a short time at least, to topical steroids. I apply the steroid cream to the psoriasis at my hairline, and then it moves up into the crown of my scalp, and so on.
Making it a top priority
On Monday, I am going to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist. When I go see her, she will give me steroid injections in my scalp, which are not nearly as scary as they sound. They pinch a little, but they don’t hurt. Still, I’m always a little anxious before I get them. My scalp will be flake-free for a few months.
I know that treatment of my scalp psoriasis is as important as any of my other health conditions. It’s as important for me to see the doctor for this as for any other condition because it causes discomfort, embarrassment and can lead to infection.
In a full-time job, some tasks take priority over others. When caring for your health is your job, all tasks must be completed. Scalp psoriasis should not be one that is deemed to be of lesser importance.
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