What is Lichen Sclerosus?
Lichen sclerosus is a fairly rare condition characterized by white, patchy skin which is thinner than usual. While it is possible for the condition to affect the skin on any part of the body, it most often affects a woman’s vulva, a man’s foreskin or the skin surrounding the anus. It is also sometimes called LS or White Spot Disease.
Both genders can be affected by lichen sclerosus and it can occur to people at any age. However, postmenopausal women are at a higher risk.
Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus
In cases of very mild lichen sclerosus, there may be no evident symptoms or signs that anything is wrong. However, more severe cases present a variety of symptoms including the following.
- Itching which can range from moderate to severe.
- Pain and discomfort.
- Smooth white blotches on the skin.
- Wrinkled patches on the skin.
- Bleeding, blisters and ulcerated lesions in very severe cases.
- Skin more prone to tearing and bruising.
- Painful sexual intercourse.
What are the Causes?
The precise causes of the condition are not fully known. We know that it is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another even via sexual intercourse. It might be caused by a hormone imbalance and an overactive immune response. Previous damage to the skin might also increase your chances of developing lichen sclerosus in that particular area.
While lichen sclerosus most often affects women post-menopause, it can also affect men and young children. In men and boys, the condition most often affects their foreskin meaning that those who have not been circumcised are at far greater risk.
Treatment for Lichen Sclerosus
In cases of mild lichen sclerosus especially when the genital regions are not affected, you may not actually require treatment. It can and often does clear up on its own. However, if you are experiencing symptoms and the lichen sclerosus presents on the vulva or the penis, your doctor is likely to recommend treatment.
The treatment is aimed at reducing the itching and discomfort, reducing the risk of scarring and improving the skin’s appearance.
The most commonly prescribed medication for lichen sclerosus are corticosteroid creams and ointments. They are typically applied to the affected area every day to start off with the treatments being reduced to a few times a week after a couple of weeks.
Prolonged use of corticosteroids can cause more damage to the skin and can actually cause it to thin even further.
Home Remedies for Lichen Sclerosus
Because many people do not respond well to corticosteroid treatment and the risk of adverse side effects, many people choose to use an alternative, natural home remedy. Natural home treatments are focused on dietary changes and other home treatments to help ease the itching and soothe any discomfort.
Essential oils, apple cider vinegar, and Castor oil are all popular options that a number of people have found highly effective. The following are some of the best and most popular remedies that you can try at home. If you are going to try a home remedy, try to be patient as it may take some trial and error before you find the best remedy for your own skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people suffering from lichen sclerosus have experienced a great deal of success with apple cider vinegar. Do not confuse this vinegar with your ordinary table vinegar. Good quality apple cider vinegar contains a rich array of nutrition as well as antibacterial properties making it ideal to deal with a variety of skin conditions.
You can drink a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar each day for general health purposes. To treat your lichen sclerosus, simply wet a cotton ball in the vinegar and gently apply it to the affected area of your body a few times a day. Be careful try a very small amount at first to ensure it does not burn.
Castor oil is full of goodness that can have a very beneficial effect on your symptoms. Many sufferers find it to be an excellent and soothing remedy. It is also cheap and readily available making it an attractive option.
To get the best benefits from your Castor oil, follow these simple instructions.
Combine 3 or 4 tablespoons of Castor oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil and store it away in a jar. When the mixture has taken on a paste-like consistency, it is ready to use. Apply it to the affected areas daily and you should start feeling relief from itching and it should also help to heal your lesions.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil. It has a vast array of medicinal uses and is known to be one of the most gentle oils for your sensitive skin. You can apply lavender oil undiluted but it is probably better to dilute it with a carrier oil like virgin coconut oil before you apply it.
According to people who have used the remedy, it can have a very dramatic effect in a very short space of time. Applying lavender essential oil should help stop any burning and itching that you may be suffering from.
Aloe vera is well known for its many benefits on the skin and lichen sclerosus is no exception. Make sure that you have pure Aloe vera gel of at least 99% and it can be applied to your genitals to ease your symptoms.
Simply apply around a 1/8th of a teaspoon of gel to the affected area(s) several times a day to experience welcome relief and keep your itch at bay.
Borax powder is among the most talked about and popular remedies for sufferers of lichen sclerosus while it is also an effective remedy for oral lichen planus.
You can simply put a tablespoon or so of borax powder and an equal amount of baking soda in your tub and soak in it for 20 minutes or so.
Alternatively, you can take it internally. Add a 1/8th teaspoon of borax and an equal amount of pink Himalayan salt to a liter or so of filtered water. Drink the solution throughout the day in very small amounts of around 50 mils a time. Try getting through the drink before bedtime each day for 2 weeks and see if it has had a positive effect.
Baking soda may also help relieve the soreness and itching associated with the condition. You could simply try adding a tablespoon or so to your bath and just soaking in it. Alternatively, put a tablespoon in a glass with around a third cup of clean water. Sit down on the toilet and then pour the solution directly on the genital area.
Good quality extra virgin coconut oil has been a source of comfort to many sufferers of lichen sclerosus. It can provide soothing relief from the itching and burning you experience. It can also be used in conjunction with corticosteroid treatment by acting as a barrier and allowing you to spread your steroid cream on thinner.
Lichen sclerosus may be linked to the things that you eat so carefully monitoring your diet may be crucial. One of the best diets that you can follow to keep your symptoms in check is the Candida diet, probiotics are also helpful.
Many of those who suffer from the condition also suffer from yeast infections and thrush so the Candida diet makes a lot of sense.
You will need to cut refined sugars, processed dairy products and possibly even gluten and wheat from your diet. Try eating healthy, natural products and add plenty of fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Regular probiotic supplements can also play a positive role in eliminating yeast infections.
You can easily find information on the Candida diet by checking online.
We hope that one of these natural remedies can help you overcome your symptoms or at least make them a little more bearable. If you have had success with these or any other natural remedy, then please let us know and we can add it to our list.