Friday, 12 May 2017

Using Diet and Lifestyle to Ease Psoriasis - My Story

Autoimmune problems are pretty complicated. 

What works for one person won't necessarily work for another, and you can spend a long time trying to get relief from your symptoms. I know I did. I tried just about every shampoo and over the counter cream there was for my psoriasis, and got pretty much nowhere.




As you know, I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was around 14 years old. The flakes from my scalp used to stick in my long hair and fall onto the shoulders of my dark school uniform. It stayed that way, mostly affecting my whole scalp and back of my neck, throughout my 20s. The only relief I got was during my two pregnancies, where it disappeared completely. But then, each time my children started toddling around, it came back.

In my mid-30s, when we moved house (probably the most stressful time I've had so far), the red, itchy patches broke out all over my body, including my knees, elbows, ears and face. My scalp was completely covered in it. I realised quickly that stress was a huge factor in my symptoms, and then I started to link up sugar, sleep and bad food choices too.

I worked with my doctor - still squeezing nozzles of steroids into my hair and rubbing thick steroid creams into my elbows and eyelids - but at home I started helping myself too, instead of just seeing my doctor as someone whose job it was to 'fix me.' 

I started to help and fix myself, too. 

This photo is me, in 2011. I have my hat pulled down over my head, to try and hide the red patches on my eyelids. I'm looking awkwardly away from the camera because I hated having my photo taken. But if you look closely...



See the slightly swollen, red patches? And this was on a good day. 



These raised, red patches would itch and then turn into thick fish-like scales that would shed and fall onto my cheeks and eyelids. Once they shed, the skin there would turn itchy and red again and the cycle would continue. A new patch on the side of my nose appeared shortly after this photo was taken. It's not that cold here, but I'm wearing a hat to hide the flakes in my hair (the psoriasis affected my entire scalp) and I have it pulled down low near my eyes to try and stop people seeing the patches on my eyelids. At this time it also covered my elbows, knees and stomach.

So, in 2013, I started to look after myself. 

And the results got better and better. Within 18 months of eating more healthily and looking after myself better, I was 95% clear of the psoriasis that crippled my confidence as a teenager. I feel much better, and, so far (4 years in) where it's gone it hasn't come back. 

I haven't used steroid medication on my skin for years. I still have one small patch left, but it's manageable with just moisturisers and sunlight - and doesn't really bother me too much, especially during the summer. 

And compared to how it used to be, I'm really fine with that. 

I still think it will heal, it's just taking its time, that's all. 

Find out what worked for me in this video, posted to my YouTube Channel.

And remember, I'm not a nutritionist or a doctor. I'm just sharing what worked for me, in the hope that it might help you or someone you know who suffers from psoriasis. I kind of see it as a jigsaw puzzle of stress, sleep, food and other things that you're always trying to get all the pieces to fit together at the same time. And do help your doctor to help you. 

I hope it helps.



To find out more about some of the things I talk about in the video - shampoos, moisturisers and stress busting things - have a look at my Jo Loves page. 

Have you suffered with psoriasis? What helped you? Let me know in the comments below. 




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