Lichen Sclerosus - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
If you or a loved one has Lichen Sclerosus -- often called LS -- you know firsthand how challenging this health condition can be. And while it may not be well known to the public, it is becoming increasingly diagnosed, affecting women, men and even children.
What is Lichen Sclerosus?
Lichen Sclerosus (LS) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin. The parts of the body most frequently affected are the genitals, vulva, penis and around the anus, however LS can develop elsewhere, including the breasts, abdomen, and arms. It's thought to follow a "relapsing and remitting" pattern, where episodic flare-ups occur between symptom-free periods.
What are the symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus?
What does Lichen Sclerosus look like?
Symptoms of LS typically change depending on the stage of the disease. In early stages, small, shiny, white dots appear on the skin. These dots eventually grow into larger white patches that can become thin and highly sensitive. These patches of LS are susceptible to tearing and bruising, which can be quite uncomfortable. Sometimes, these patches will scab or scar over. Other symptoms include:
- Itching in the affected area
- Blisters or ulcerations of the skin
- Pain during sex
What causes Lichen Sclerosus?
The exact cause of Lichen Sclerosus is unknown. Most doctors believe that the condition is related to either autoimmune or hormonal dysfunction, and perhaps both. It's possible that the tendency to develop LS can be inherited. Some evidence also suggests that LS may develop over areas of the body that have been previously injured or scarred.
Postmenopausal women are the most likely to develop LS, although men and even children can also develop it. As discussed in a recent New York Times article, one of the challenges of lichen sclerosus is that too often people are hesitant to talk about it, even with their doctor. This is a shame as it can delay the time until treatment is started.
What kind of treatments are available for Lichen Sclerosus?
Lichen Sclerosus has no cure, although symptoms sometimes go away on their own (especially on the arms and upper body). LS affecting the genitals should definitely be treated, however, to prevent any scarring or damage to the genital structures.
The most common standard treatment for LS is an ultrapotent topical steroid cream which is only available by prescription. For many people, however, the potential benefits from these powerful steroids may be outweighed by significant drawbacks, including unpleasant side effects and high cost...not to mention the potential health consequences associated with long-term steroid use and withdrawal.
If you have LS, it's important to speak with your doctor about treatment. But know that there are natural, healthier, and less expensive options for you -- like pure emu oil and emu oil based creams and salves.
According to DrexelMedicine.org:
Emu Joy has created a kit just for LS sufferers that provides emu oil-based relief for many of the typical symptoms. The 5-piece Soothe My LS Kit contains:
Pure refined emu oil, which has been used for centuries to treat many skin conditions, including LS. It contains essential fatty acids and other all-natural components which provide powerful yet gentle anti-inflammatory benefits. Emu oil has been shown in clinical studies to thicken the skin, and important feature since LS often results in thinning of the skin. It can also be safely used as a vaginal lubricant.
The kit also includes 4 paraben-free and chemical-free products that contain emu oil. Banish My Pain, Soothe My Skin, Emu Oil Soap and the On the Go Stick provide pain and itch relief from LS symptoms, thanks to all-natural ingredients also known to relieve pain and soothe irritated skin, including lavender, arnica, and Vitamin E. The On the Go Stick is pocket size so you can discreetly carry relief with you when you're out and about.
"I have a rare autoimmune disorder that is horrid. It's called Lichen Sclerosis and it is a skin condition which causes burning itching, and scaring of the skin in the worst possible place (... down South!). I have an Rx from my Doctor for a steroidal ointment, which I have used for a few years. It is minimally effective and causes thinning of the skin and bleeding. I am also not a fan of long term use of steroids. After a really bad flare-up this week, I was desperate for relief, and a more natural approach for treating my symptoms (there is no cure). I started reading on line forums about Lichen Sclerosis. Some of the ingredients in your On the Go Skin Soother Stick were recommended as being effective. I have been using the stick for a few days now and have already noticed a difference. It is wonderful! Thanks for helping me to feel relief and sleep through the night!"
"I really like this product. It works very nicely both as a moisturizer and for my pain needs with my LS. I rub a small amount on the area where I'm having pain and dryness and in a short time I feel relief. Anyone who has LS will understand when I say that this is a blessing. I also like that this is a natural product."
Struggling with LS? Talk to your doctor -- and relieve symptoms with Emu Joy.
If you're looking for relief from your Lichen Sclerosis symptoms, but are tired of dealing with the downsides of prescription medications, then Emu Joy may be the right choice for you.
*View research and clinical studies published on emu oil.