Guttate Psoriasis - Causes and symptoms

Why is a skin condition related to a sore throat?

  • For some reason the germ (bacterium) group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus, which can cause a really sore throat, sometimes causes a skin reaction.
  • It's thought to be caused by your immune system going into 'overdrive' and accidentally reacting to your own skin.
  • The throat infection is found in about 80% of cases.
  • No one can quite figure out why this happens but some people seem to be more prone to it than others. It might be to do with your genetic make-up.
  • In this way it's similar to the way a throat infection can lead to rheumatic fever.

Can anything else cause guttate psoriasis?

  • Rarely some medications can cause guttate psoriasis, particularly lithium (used for mental health problems) and beta-blockers (used in heart conditions).

What does guttate psoriasis look like?

  • The spots come on pretty quickly, over just a day or two.
  • They usually cover the chest, tummy, upper arms and thighs.
  • Usually the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are not affected.
  • It only occasionally affects your head and face.
  • They are slightly raised, light pink skin marks that might have a white scale to their surface.

Does guttate psoriasis make you feel ill?

  • Usually the appearance of the spots is the worst thing about it.
  • It doesn't usually make you feel ill or feverish.
  • The spots are not usually painful, but they can be a tiny bit itchy (only a little bit though).
  • You can imagine that coming up in spots all over your body in just a few days can be pretty distressing: a lot of people are quite upset when they see their doctor.

Who is affected by guttate psoriasis?

  • Usually young people get guttate psoriasis, in their teens or twenties. Men and women are affected equally.
  • It seems to occur all over the world.
  • No one really quite knows how common it is. In general, a GP in the UK would have heard of it and probably know how to diagnose it, but they may not have seen a case themselves for many years.

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Author:
Dr Oliver Starr
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
29412 (v1)
Last Checked:
08 July 2017
Next Review:
07 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.