What is Lichen Sclerosus?
A disease known as lichen sclerosus is a lifelong condition that affects the skin. The disease begins as dry, white patches that can later develop into scar tissue. The patches can appear on the upper torso and the genital area. When lichen sclerosus affects genital tissue, serious complications can arise.
What Causes Lichen Sclerosus?
Healthcare professionals and researchers have yet to pin down the exact cause of this disease, though some believe it is an autoimmune in nature. Because of its prevalence in women of menopausal age, it may come about as an effect of hormone imbalance as well. There is a chance it may be genetic in nature, as 15 percent of people with the disease report that they have a family member who experiences the same symptoms. It is notable that lichen sclerosus often originates on an area of skin that was previously injured. It is not contagious.
The white patches that signal the beginning of this disease are often smooth and shiny, and then grow larger. The skin then becomes quite thin and fragile. Bruises appear, and the skin my scar. Blistering, bleeding, and itching are other common symptoms.
Who is at Risk?
Lichen sclerosus can appear in anyone, though it is uncommon for men and rare for children. The disease tends to be found mostly in women after menopause.
What if Lichen Sclerosus Goes Untreated?
Women who don’t receive treatment may experience scarring that may tighten reproductive organs and make closeness with a partner very painful. For men, it may become difficult for them to relieve themselves. For both men and women, skin that is scarred as a result of the disease is more likely to be affected by skin cancer.
While there is not much data available concerning how many suffer from this disease, it is estimated that 1 in every 30 post-menopausal woman who is seen in gynecology practices has some form of the disease. Dermatologists report seeing lichen sclerosus in 1 out of up to 1000 patients.
For those who experience the dry patches of skin on their arms or torsos, the problem tends to go away over time. Those who experience lichen sclerosus on their genital tissue do require treatment. Surgical removal of the affected skin is the most common course for both men, but this is not possible for women. Women are recommended ointments and creams to control the symptoms. Unfortunately, these creams can cause undesirable side effects.
Fortunately, there are some natural cures that you may use in addition to your doctor’s treatment recommendations.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apply equal parts water and apple cider vinegar can serve as an antibiotic for inflamed areas. You can drink a glass of water with apple cider vinegar added to alkalize your body. Both of these treatments can be done twice daily
Because it is theorized that this disease could be fungal in nature, probiotics may be able to ease the symptoms. You can get probiotics from plain yogurt, kefier, kombucha tea, and high-quality probiotic supplements.
Herbs and Oils
Calendula treats both bacterial and fungal infections. It is also an anti-inflammatory. Dabbing calendula oil on affected areas may be able to heal this disorder. Plantains can also soothe itchy skin when rubbed on affected areas. Comfrey has the same effect when applied directly to itchy skin, and it can lessen inflammation. Witch hazel kills microbes and protects from further infection, and red clover produces healing that is much like calendula oil.
This cure will help your body fight infection caused by fungi overgrowth, so if that is the reason for your lichen sclerosus, it will help. Some people affected by this skin disease have reported relief after soaking in a bathtub of warm water mixed with a tablespoon of borax.
Makes sure to discuss any natural cures you plan to try with your healthcare professional to make sure that you are properly taking care of yourself.