A board-certified dermatologist at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans will discuss the latest treatment options for women living with eczema and psoriasis while taking into account birth control choice, fertility, hormone changes, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
“Women may consider their healthcare decisions differently during different stages of their lives,” said board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth Kiracofe, MD, FAAD, who is an expert in eczema and psoriasis in private practice in Chicago. “The potential for motherhood requires constant vigilance in evaluating medical choices, which is why it’s important for women living with eczema and psoriasis to partner with a board-certified dermatologist.”
According to some studies, women are more negatively impacted by eczema and psoriasis and are more likely to experience depression as a result, said Dr. Kiracofe.
“Some of the most important information that I share with my patients includes that the medicines most commonly used as a first option to treat both eczema and psoriasis do not affect birth control, impact fertility, time to conception, or the ability to breastfeed after pregnancy,” she said. “However, traditional medications that suppress the immune system are often not recommended during pregnancy.”
Some of the safest and most widely utilized treatments for pregnant women with eczema and psoriasis include moisturizers to help the skin’s ability to protect itself, low- to mid-strength corticosteroids to treat mild flares, and phototherapy, which involves exposing the skin to a specific type of ultraviolet light under a dermatologist’s supervision.
Like pregnancy, menopause can also affect a woman’s skin. Women who are in menopause may be more prone to developing itchy rashes like eczema or have flares in their psoriasis due to changing hormone levels with aging,
“It is an exciting time in dermatology with all the research in eczema and psoriasis bringing about a number of new medicines for our patients,” said Dr. Kiracofe. “These medicines interfere with signals in the body that are thought to cause inflammation, and therefore are effective in reducing itch and clearing the skin for both eczema and psoriasis. What is most exciting about these new medicines is they are becoming more precise at targeting the source of the disease and are increasingly safer and more effective for patients.”
It is important to note that most of these targeting medicines are not specifically approved for use during pregnancy and often need to be discontinued when planning for a family, she said.
“That’s why it’s important to bring your dermatologist into the conversation earlier rather than later, so we can connect with your OB-GYN to discuss the best and safest treatment options during pregnancy,” said Dr. Kiracofe. “It is unfortunate to me how often women think they have to stop all treatment during pregnancy, so I am always happy to share that we actually have a number of options with very good safety data. Pregnancy is hard enough without women also having to deal with an itchy rash.”
It’s important to remember that dermatologists can help women treat their skin conditions during every stage of their lives, especially when they are considering starting a family.
Elizabeth Kiracofe, Dermatologist MD, FAAD
Pregnancy registries also play a vital role in helping dermatologists determine what treatment options can best support their patients.
Pregnancy registries collect health information from women who take prescription medicine while pregnant. Researchers compare this information with information about pregnant women who have not taken the medicine to better assess the effectiveness of certain treatments and determine whether there are any potential safety issues.
Like pregnancy, menopause can also affect a woman’s skin. Women who are in menopause may be more prone to developing itchy rashes like eczema or have flares in their psoriasis due to changing hormone levels with aging, which can cause the skin to become thin. A decrease in estrogen can also cause the skin to become more dry and less resilient.
“It’s important to remember that dermatologists can help women treat their skin conditions during every stage of their lives, especially when they are considering starting a family,” said Dr. Kiracofe. “Our goal is to guide them through a shared decision-making process and support them in deciding which treatment plan is best for their unique situation.” (PB/Newswise)