From GP prescribed treatments to self managing tips, Megan shares her experience with how she treats her psoriasis this Psoriasis Awareness Week!
When were you first diagnosed with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis?
I was first diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 9 years old (17 YEARS AGO!) and we think it originally flared due to a throat infection. However, psoriasis does run in my family genetics so it was more a case of “when” rather than “what if”. I have had many episodes over the last 17 years. Each one comes back more aggressively making it more difficult to deal with each time.
What treatment has worked the best for you?
When I say I have tried everything I tried EVERYTHING! Over the years the best things that have worked are Enstilar spray that I got from the doctors after I was featured on BBC Three’s documentary “Skin” but unfortunately I became immune to it this episode. That’s the thing about psoriasis, it is brave so it will build immunity to treatments (thank goodness there are so many options!) In the hospital, the PUVA bath and UVB treatment worked well on me and that was a visit to dermatology three times a fortnight through university. The natural treatments I have found that work best are sun and sea which sadly we don’t have much of here in Wales! When I returned from Tenerife my psoriasis had cleared and that’s when I wished I could just be prescribed a yearly holiday! To really kick this episode I am now on a course of immunosuppressants. I am on Adalimumab injections and I believe taking them in hand with other natural treatments is helping my flare to clear!
How do you manage your psoriasis now?
The true answer is I don’t. Due to the nature of my job as a social media influencer, it really affected my ability to make content. Not only was I red and extremely itchy but I lost a lot of confidence as well. When I was younger it never really affected me but as I’ve grown up and have begun dating it does affect my confidence massively and this flare-up really spun me. Thankfully I do have a wonderful team of doctors and dermatologists. They are so understanding and helpful. I think once you are in a flare up it is hard to imagine life without one but you just have to keep pushing and believing it will happen for you. My friends and family have been so supportive and sympathetic during this time even though none of them suffer from it. They have helped me realise it doesn’t change who I am and that it will pass in time.
How do you fit your treatments around your everyday life? When do you find it best to apply/take your treatment?
I take my natural treatments every morning as part of my morning routine and I inject my immunosuppressants once every two weeks. This makes it far easier to manage than having to visit the hospital 3 times a week (like I did when I was younger) and I’ve had very fast relief.
How do you combat the itch?
This is so hard! I took weekly dead sea salt baths for as long as I could to try and soothe it as well as using body butters. My psoriasis isn’t sensitive to products like this so I just tried to keep it hydrated. I also invested in a back scratcher for those hard-to-reach areas or rubbed my back on the door frames like Baloo the bear in the Jungle Book!
What advice would you give to someone who is about to attend their first GP or dermatologist appointment?
Be honest and tell them everything! The way I go into my appointments has changed as I’ve gotten older as it’s affected my mental health more. Take photos that you can show, I did this recently and my dermatologist could see how bad and how quickly it had flared up. Do your research on treatments! I was able to skip a treatment as I knew it wouldn’t agree with me so I went in with the facts and got put on treatments that worked for me!
Try to stay positive, there will be bad days and then there will be months without a flare-up. It is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with both physically and mentally but each time I have gotten through it. You will get through this too!