Lichen Sclerosus Diet: Foods to Avoid
Lichen sclerosus is a chronic skin condition with uncomfortable symptoms like itchiness, pain, and blistering around the genital areas.
Most of the people who have this disorder are women past the menopause stage, men (known as Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans in men), and children.
Typically, the skin affected is the skin around the external area of the vagina (vulva), around the anus, and at the tip of the penis.
There are no known causes or a cure for lichen sclerosus, but an overactive immune system, a pre-existing autoimmune disease, and imbalanced hormones are possible causes.
In fact, one of the most common autoimmune diseases in women with lichen sclerosus is rheumatoid arthritis occurring in 20 to 30% of women.
Lichen sclerosus symptoms tend to come and go so the condition often requires medical intervention like steroid ointments or surgery.
Beyond medical interventions, a lichen sclerosus diet alongside using a moisturizer like emu oil can make living with LS more comfortable.
“I thought it would just be soothing after a flare, which would have been good, but it actually seems to be helping to stop them. Stress can cause a flare for me, and I was in a stressful situation while out and about and felt a flare started. I used the 'stick' and it worked. Have used the oil, cream and stick so far.”
What Foods Should I Avoid With Lichen Sclerosus?
Although there’s little-to-no research on the impact of diet on LS, the Vulval Pain Society provides some research pointing to the potential benefit of a low-oxalate diet for managing pain levels.
Here’s a general list of foods to avoid and foods you can enjoy when you have lichen sclerosus.
|Foods to Avoid for Lichen Sclerosus||Foods to Eat With Lichen Sclerosus|
Soaking and cooking can significantly reduce the oxalate content of many vegetables and legumes.
General LS Diet Guidelines and Tips
Oxalate, a byproduct of your body’s metabolism, is produced naturally by the body and is also found in numerous plants.
High-oxalate foods tend to trigger inflammation in the body’s tissues so the body eliminates it through urine and stool.
Limiting the amount of oxalate that enters your system in the first place may help to reduce the inflammation that occurs around the vulva and anal region with LS.
In fact, eating low-oxalate foods coupled with a calcium citrate supplement, or with high-calcium foods may go a step further in reducing the concentration of oxalates in the body.
How does this work? Calcium binds to oxalate and reduces its absorption into the body’s tissues.
Any restrictive diet like the gluten-free or paleo diet can be a little demanding so here are some tips for sticking to the lichen sclerosus diet:
- Keep a list of high- and low-oxalate foods on hand (our list above can be a great starting point). You can also download an oxalate app tracker to check out the oxalate content of foods like breakfast cereals while at the store.
- Eat calcium-rich foods like milk and fish or take a calcium citrate supplement daily.
- Keep a daily oxalate journal to track your food intake, symptoms, and progress over time.
- If you plan on eating out, look up the restaurant’s menu online beforehand and call ahead to find out the ingredients used in your desired dish.
- Drink plenty of water to help flush out your system.
Here are some easy recipes you can make on a lichen sclerosus diet.
“Mock” Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese (softened)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bullion (may substitute half teaspoon salt)
- 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives (for garnish)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
- Clean and cut the cauliflower into small pieces.
- Cook in boiling water for up to six minutes or until well done.
- Drain well by patting the cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
- Using a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
- Garnish with chives and serve hot with pats of butter.
Pro tip: Try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh rosemary for a whole new taste.
Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/3 cup of coconut flour
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup of your favorite maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet using parchment paper.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine coconut flour, melted and cooled coconut oil, syrup, eggs, vanilla, and salt.
- Whisk the mixture together.
- Let the dough sit for five minutes so it thickens.
- Add the (dark) chocolate chips.
- Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, drop 12 cookies onto a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven when the edges begin to turn golden brown.
Other than steroid ointments and diet changes, you may be wondering, “how do you calm lichen sclerosus lesions?”
Let’s take a look at emu oil and what makes it the best moisturizer for this condition.
How Do You Treat Lichen Sclerosus Naturally?
Concentrated For More Effective Results
Treatment for LS often involves frequent use of steroids like clobetasol but many people opt for natural options as long-term steroid use could result in topical steroid withdrawal syndrome.
This is why Emu Joy has created a kit just for LS sufferers that provides emu oil-based relief for many of the typical symptoms. The Soothe My LS Kit contains:
Pure Refined Emu Oil
Pure refined emu oil, is a tried and tested emollient used for centuries to treat skin conditions like eczema, arthritis, and lichen sclerosus.
Made up of essential fatty acids like oleic acid and palmitoleic acid, emu oil has a powerful yet gentle anti-inflammatory effect.
Emu oil also thickens the skin, which is important because LS often results in thinning of the skin, and in case you’re wondering, yes, emu oil can be safely used as a vaginal lubricant.
Soothe My Skin
This product provides relief for itching with a combination of aloe, chamomile, emu oil, and other soothing botanicals.
Aloe vera produces a gel rich in vitamins A, C, E, and B12 which has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain and swelling as well as limit scarring.
Banish My Pain
With pain-relieving properties from camphor, arnica, cajeput, and emu oil we chose “Banish My Pain” for its anti-inflammatory and skin regenerating abilities.
Avoid using products with arnica on broken skin because it causes irritation—only use this product after all the splits have healed.
On the Go Skin Soother Stick
This is a handy stick that easily fits in your purse or pocket for when pain, itch, or irritation crop up when you’re on the go.
The twist-up stick is also easy to apply and non-messy so you can discreetly find relief no matter where you are.
Emu Oil Soap
A gentle all-natural soap enhanced with calendula that will cleanse, soothe and hydrate delicate skin.
The active ingredients in calendula improve collagen synthesis in the sub-epidermal connective tissue thus enhancing new tissue growth which decreases inflammation.
Struggling with LS? Talk to your doctor and relieve symptoms with Emu Joy.
“I have LS and had been using high potency steroid cream daily for 2 years with little effect. I came across Emujoy online. I was very sceptical but desperate for something to make a difference. Emujoy was as good as its name. I am now only using the steroid cream twice a week for maintenance and I’m confident I will be able to reduce further over time. Love all the products from this company and their customer service is brilliant.”
Order your “Smooth My LS Kit” through the link below to begin experiencing relief from your lichen sclerosis symptoms.
Featured Image from:Unsplash by Louis Hansel