Birth control medications and psoriasis
There are a wide variety of birth control medications on the market today, ranging from oral contraceptive pills, to depot injections, to transdermal patches. The variety of combinations of contraceptive drugs is also extensive, but usually contain a type of progestogen and/or estrogen. Birth control medications work by preventing fertilization by thickening the mucous of the cervix and inhibiting ovulation (release of an egg cell).
Side effects of birth control include: weight gain, nausea, changes in mood, decreased libido, and spotting in between periods. Statistics show that there is a slight increased risk of developing clots within the blood vessels when a woman is taking contraceptives, especially if she also smokes cigarettes. For a woman with psoriasis, it is permissible to use any of the aforementioned birth control medications without risk of worsening her symptoms of psoriasis. One study found that high levels of estrogen during pregnancy helped to improve psoriasis in some women, so it is possible that estrogen-containing contraceptives may also help alleviate symptoms after continuous use. Birth control may be recommended to prevent pregnancy while taking certain medications used to treat psoriasis, particularly the retinoid-containing medications which can cause birth defects.