3 Effective Lichen Sclerosus Natural Treatments
Lichen sclerosus (also lichen sclerosis) is a long-term skin condition that mainly affects the genital areas.
It’s a distressing condition that causes the affected skin to change texture and appear white and wrinkly—with tearing, pain, and itching as severity increases.
Though it can affect anyone, lichen sclerosus mainly occurs in older women.
The condition can be hard to manage and treat. Many doctors are not able to readily recognize and diagnose it, let alone prescribe the right medicine.
As a result, many women suffer for years without an effective treatment protocol. Some even turn to products that exacerbate the symptoms.
The standard plan involves the use of a potent steroid such as clobetasol. However, there are various other ways to manage LS.
Natural treatments such as diet change and oils like emu oil have proven to offer major benefits and relief from symptoms.
Can You Reverse Lichen Sclerosus?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely get rid of lichen sclerosus, but there are ways to reduce or lessen the symptoms so that you can live well with the condition.
LS follows a "relapsing and remitting" pattern where episodic flare-ups occur between symptom-free periods and since it isn’t an infection, you can’t catch it or spread it through sexual intercourse.
There’s no known cause or cure for lichen sclerosus, but an overactive immune system, a pre-existing autoimmune disease, and imbalanced hormones are possible causes.
Lichen sclerosus is rarely hereditary, but there are instances when it affects a number of relatives.
You may also be at risk for lichen sclerosus if you have any of the following autoimmune diseases:
- Autoimmune-related thyroid disease
- Autoimmune-related anemia
- Type I diabetes
- Alopecia areata
Lichen sclerosus affects the area around the genitalia, although it can also affect the skin on other parts of the body like the breasts, shoulders, upper arms, and back.
It is most common in post-menopausal women but does sometimes affect children and men too (LS is called balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) when it occurs in men).
Common symptoms of lichen sclerosus include:
- Small white patches (which may largen and converge)
- White patches that crack or become sore and itchy
- Fragile and easily torn skin
- Wrinkling or thickening of the skin
- Blood blisters
- Loss of labia architecture (if left untreated) due to:
- Scar tissue or tightened skin around the vulva
- Shrinking of the vulva and entrance to the vagina
- Painful sex (dyspareunia)
- Pain when defecating or constipation
- Problems urinating (or worsening symptoms from urine leakage)
- Disturbed sleep as symptoms tend to worsen at night
Diagnosis usually involves a physical exam whereby your doctor closely examines the affected area and in some cases, the doctor may do a biopsy for further assessment in a lab.
How Do You Calm Lichen Sclerosus?
Here are some simple measures you can take to soothe the itching caused by lichen sclerosus:
- Apply a suitable moisturizer like emu oil to the affected areas
- Avoid scented bathing products and detergents that can irritate the skin
- Use a lubricant during sexual intercourse
- Avoid rubbing or scratching the affected areas
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear
“It works. I thought it (emu oil) 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 stressful situation while out and about and felt a flare start. I used the 'stick' and it worked. Have used the oil, cream and stick so far.”
Can Lichen Sclerosis Be Treated Naturally?
Properly treating the itchiness and lesions caused by lichen sclerosus often requires a combination of treatments.
The good news is using natural remedies often offers relief and healing. Some of the natural treatment options are:
1. Using Emu Oil Products
Made from the fatty tissue of the flightless bird called the Emu, emu oil has been used by the Australian Aborigines for years.
Some of the key benefits of emu oil are:
Emu oil contains a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids so it easily penetrates the skin’s barriers for deep moisturization.
This effect, known as transdermal penetration-enhancing activity, ensures 2-4 times greater penetration of the skin for emu oil.
In fact, unlike other oils (olive oil and coconut oil), emu oil's molecular composition is so similar to human skin oil — which is why it’s able to absorb deeply into the skin.
Just take a look at this side-by-side comparison of lipids in emu oil versus human skin oil.
These effects show that emu oil is outstanding when it comes to moisturizing and rejuvenating the skin.
It is suggested that the plethora of polyunsaturated fatty acids in emu oil contributes to its anti-inflammatory effect.
Emu oil contains oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitoleic acid, among others which have been shown to be highly effective in treating inflammation of the skin.
Burn and Wound Healing
This study reveals emu oil increases the production of collagen which helps skin wounds like burns heal quickly. It also increases the hair follicles in the margins around the wound.
Type 1 collagen specifically accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibers that provide structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Use as Lubricant During Sexual Intercourse
Emu oil is excellent as a personal lubricant as it is a safe and natural, chemical-free alternative.
Its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory nature makes it ideal for dry and sensitive tissues, making it a particularly good option for women suffering from LS.
2. Diet Change
For those who suffer from lichen sclerosus, a high oxalate diet may be detrimental so eating and avoiding certain foods may help alleviate symptoms.
How does this work? High levels of oxalates in the urine may cause vulvar burning and irritate the skin.
In fact, the April 2018 issue of the Journal of Food Research confirms the specific foods to avoid that are particularly high in oxalates.
Some examples of foods to avoid are spinach, potatoes, rhubarb, red beets, cocoa powder, peanut butter, swiss chard, eggplants, and parsley, among others.
On the other hand, foods you can enjoy are grapes, peaches, avocado, poultry, fish, broccoli, lettuce, white chocolate, and olive oil.
Just like those with celiac disease, avoiding these foods could potentially help curb the symptoms of lichen sclerosus.
Additionally, including oral calcium citrate as part of your low oxalate diet may be more beneficial, as calcium salts can help to reduce soluble oxalate content in foods.
Why Emu Oil for This Skin Condition?
Treatment of lichen sclerosus often involves frequent use of an "ultra-potent" topical steroid creams like clobetasol, available only by prescription.
However, many people opt for more natural remedies 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 emu oil
- Soothe My Skin
- Banish my Pain
- On the Go Skin Soother Stick
- Emu Oil Soap
"I was admittedly skeptical when I purchased this for relief of my LS symptoms, but I have to say I got instant relief upon application which lasted all day. Worked as well as the steroid my doctor prescribed. Ordered a second jar to keep with me on the go for long days away from home."
Struggling with LS? Talk to your doctor and relieve symptoms with Emu Joy.
Order your “Smooth My LS Kit” through the link below to begin experiencing relief from your Lichen Sclerosis symptoms.