Lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune condition that can cause some serious problems all over the entire body, especially the vulva in women. It often causes discoloration of the skin, turning it white. The condition can be quite itchy and inflamed.
If lichen sclerosus is left untreated, it can thin the skin, or result in scarring, fusion and thickening of the skin over time. There is high probability that untreated lichen sclerosus can lead to other infections. There have been some cases where the condition goes away by itself, but it usually requires treatment. Lichen sclerosus natural remedies could be the best treatment option.
What is Lichen Sclerosus?
Lichen Sclerosus is smooth, small, white, shiny patches of skin on the skin. It is often seen in the genital and perianal areas. It often grows into larger plaques that become thin and crinkled. Lichen sclerosus sometimes appears on the upper body, arms, and breasts. The condition is primarily seen on post-menopausal women and is uncommon in men and children.
The real cause of the condition is not known, but it may be a result of hormone problems or an overactive immune system. The up side is that lichen sclerosus is not contagious and can be corrected with lichen sclerosus natural remedies.
Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus
Those infected with mild lichen sclerosus may experience no sign or symptom of the condition. However, when the condition has become acute, the signs and symptoms usually affect the skin of the genital and areas around the anus. Such symptoms may include:
- Painful sex
- Severe itching (pruritus)
- Bleeding, blistering or ulcerated sores
- Discomfort or pain
- Skin tear and bruises
- Smooth white patches on the skin
- Wrinkled, blotchy patches
- Spots that grow into large plaque areas
Causes of Lichen Sclerosus
Even though scientists are not entirely certain about the causes of the condition, there are still some theories about what may contribute to its development. These include:
- Previous damage to that particular area of the skin
- An imbalance of hormones
- An autoimmune disorder
- Inherited tendency to acquire the disease
Who is at Risk of Having Lichen Sclerosus?
The condition is most prevalent among menopausal women, but it can also affect men and children in very rare cases. Men who are uncircumcised have a higher risk of having lichen sclerosus because the condition often affects the foreskin. Children are rarely affected by the condition; so when it occurs in them, it is often in girls who have not yet attained puberty.
The number of women that develop the condition is unclear. Those who have made the research assume that it occurs between 1 in every 300 to 1 in every 1,000 women. These women are mostly aged between 40 and 60 years old.
Also, you may have a greater risk of developing the condition if you have an autoimmune disease that may be resistant to lichen sclerosus natural remedies. Such disease includes:
- Autoimmune-related thyroid disease
- Autoimmune-related anemia
- Alopecia areata
- Type 1 diabetes
Other factors that can increase one’s risk include:
- A history of the condition in the family
- A history of sexual abuse
Complications Associated with Lichen Sclerosus
The condition can cause the skin to crack and bleed. It can be very painful when the area around the genitals is affected. In severe cases, scarring can make the walls of the vagina to shrink and tighten, causing a very painful experience during sexual intercourse.
Lichen does not cause cancer. However, women with affected genitals due to lichen sclerosus are at a higher risk of developing some form of skin cancer. The risk of cancer accounts for less than 5 percent of women with the condition. In addition, developing cancer is more likely to occur to a woman if she has not managed her symptoms through treatment such as lichen sclerosus natural remedies.
Lichen Sclerosis Diagnosis
Anyone who is suffering from lichen sclerosus should see a doctor as soon as possible. It is better to battle the condition with proper treatment at the early stage. Early diagnosis of lichen sclerosus means that treatment can begin immediately. Early treatment with lichen sclerosus natural remedies prevents the condition from worsening and also makes it more manageable.
The only way a doctor can make a proper diagnosis is by carrying out a physical examination of the affected areas. They may need to examine a small sample of skin under a microscope to clear every doubt about the condition being lichen sclerosus.
In some occasions, lichen sclerosus may give no symptom. In this case, however, a doctor may only diagnose the condition when they are examining the affected area for a different unrelated reason.
Natural Remedies for Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus natural remedies have been considered safe enough to practice. The following are effective in battling the development of lichen sclerosus:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
This should not be confused with table vinegar. Apple cider vinegar should be applied to lesions with a cotton ball a few times each day. The apple cider vinegar contains properties that will help in reducing the inflammation caused by the condition.
2. Castor Oil
Mix 3-4 tablespoons of castor oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil and store the mixture in a jar. Wait till the mixture look pasty before applying it on lesions. This process should be carried out every day.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Applying this oil on the affected area will help in stopping burning or itching sensation caused by the condition.
4. Aloe Vera Gel
Do not mix it with anything. Just squeeze out the juice from an aloe vera and apply it on the affected area of the skin several times each day.
Mix an equal amount of borax and baking soda in a warm bath and soak yourself in it. You can remain in the water for as long as you want.
6. Baking Soda
Add a tablespoon of this in your bath water and soak yourself in it.
7. Emu Oil
This has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve irritation and swelling. Just apply a decent amount of emu oil on the affected part of your skin.
8. Coconut Oil
When applied, it will help in relieving itching and burning.
Lichen sclerosus may be a result of magnesium deficiency. Therefore, taking supplements that are rich in magnesium will also help in treating the condition.
10. Dietary Changes
Probiotics and some changes in one’s diet may help in keeping the disease from being active. Probiotics are known to eliminate yeast infections which can add to the symptoms of lichen sclerosus. A low oxalate diet is recommended for battling the condition.
11. Avoid High-Oxalate Foods
A number of foods should be taken away from the diets of people who have developed lichen sclerosus. These foods have high oxalate and should be totally avoided. Such foods include:
- Cocoa powder and hot chocolate
- Spinach, raw and cooked
- Soy flour and brown rice flour
- Beets and turnips
- Nuts – peanut butter, almonds
- Canned pineapple
- Certain boxed cereals
- Rice bran
- Bran flakes
- Dried fruit
- Potatoes in all forms, including baked, French fries, and potato chips
- Buckwheat groats
Foods with low-oxalate include the following:
- Dairy products such as cow’s milk cheese, and goat’s milk
- Green peas
- White chocolate
- All oils, such as olive oil, and vegetable oil
- Weak, light-steeped green tea
- Beer, and most forms of alcohol
- Herbs, and seasonings, such as salt, basil white pepper, and cilantro
General Diet Guidelines Against Lichen Sclerosus
Oxalate is one of the by-products of your body’s metabolism. The body produces it naturally, and we can also find oxalate in various plants. Foods that contain high oxalate can cause inflammation in the tissues of the body. Oxalate is often eliminated from the body through stool and urine.
By reducing the amount of oxalate that passes through your body, you are helping your system to reduce the occurrence of inflammation around the vulva and anal region. Consuming foods low in oxalate may help in this treatment process, especially when the diet is coupled with a calcium citrate supplement or with food high in calcium. Calcium helps in reducing the absorption of oxalate into the body’s tissues.
Essential tips for sticking to this diet plan include:
- Keeping a list of high- and low-oxalate foods on hand.
- Eating foods that are rich in calcium, or taking calcium citrate supplement each day.
- Keeping a daily oxalate journal. This will help in tracking your food intake, symptoms and progress over time.
- If you intend to eat out, endeavor to review the menu of the restaurant online if you can, then call ahead to inquire about ingredients used in the meal you wish to order.
- Try drinking lots of water and also taking other low-oxalate beverages to help in flushing out your system.
- You can make use of an oxalate app tracker to check out the oxalate content of foods, such as breakfast cereals.
Other Treatment Methods for Lichen Sclerosus
If you are suffering from lichen sclerosus on, around your genitals or anus, or there are more advanced cases on other parts of your body, medicines are often recommended to you. Some treatment options besides lichen sclerosus natural remedies will help in reducing the itching, decreasing further scarring, and improving your skin’s appearance.
Medical Treatments For Lichen Sclerosus:
- Immune-modulating medications, such as pimecrolimus (Elidel)
- Ultraviolet light treatment for affected rashes that are not on the genitals
- Topical corticosteroids, which are usually applied every day. In this case, corticosteroids work slowly and it may take about a few weeks or months for the skin to return to a normal appearance. To keep the condition from coming back, you may need to use corticosteroids for a longer time. Since long-term use of corticosteroids can make the skin become red or thin and cause stretch marks, you may need to keep up with your doctor’s appointments.
In the case of women experiencing painful sexual intercourse due to tightening of the vagina, the doctor can prescribe vaginal dilators, a water-based lubricant, or, if very necessary, a numbing cream, such as lidocaine ointment.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend surgery. For instance, scar tissue can sometimes help narrow the entrance of the vagina, and sex becomes difficult as a result. The correct surgery process will help widen the opening of the vagina, thereby reducing discomfort. In the case of men with foreskin issue, circumcision is often recommended.
There are some general self-help measures that can make the condition more comfortable to live with. These measures include:
- applying an appropriate amount of moisturizer to the affected spots
- wearing clothes that are loose-fitting and underwear made of natural fibers
- avoiding bathing products that are scented, including detergents that can irritate the skin
- avoiding scratching or rubbing the affected areas
- making use of lubricants during sexual intercourse
- using the fingertips (not washcloths) to wash the vulva
- patting the vulva dry after washing
- avoiding applying soap directly to the genitals especially the affected areas of the genitals
Lichen sclerosus is a long-term condition when one develops it. Therefore it is very important that it should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed. The more time it stays on the body, the harder it is to treat. Make use of the lichen sclerosus natural remedies to help combat this condition. Your body should be well protected against diseases and infections.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.