Lichen sclerosus is a rare and life-long disease affecting the skin. It involves the appearance of itchy white patches on the skin that later on grow bigger and become scars, causing complications most especially in women affected by it. Lichen sclerosus is an embarrassing problem because it usually appears on the genital and anal areas, although it may also show up on the upper body, such as the arms and chest.
The skin disease is said to be more common in women, usually appearing after menopause. However, it can also develop in men as well as children, although this rarely happens. Women with lichen sclerosus should get proper treatment. If not, scarring can cause the vagina to tighten, making having sexual intercourse a great deal of a problem.
Doctors do not really know what causes lichen sclerosus to show up, although they are suspecting it can be due to an overactive immune system wherein the body attacks its own healthy cells, mistaking them as foreign objects or diseased cells. Other causative factors being suspected include hormone imbalance (which can cause fungal overgrowth), previous skin injuries and genetics.
Lichen sclerosus that appears on the upper body usually requires no treatment as it tends to go away on its own. On the other hand, medical intervention is necessitated if it appears on the genital area in order to avoid complications.
There are many different forms of treatment available for the skin disease. While the surgical removal of the affected foreskin in men is an ideal solution, it’s something that’s not an option for afflicted women. Doctors commonly recommend ointments and creams for controlling the disease. Cortisone is one example of these topical solutions, although long-term use is not recommended as it may cause unfavorable symptoms.
Various home remedies are also available for individuals who are suffering from lichen sclerosus. If you have the skin disease and you want to deal with it in a more natural approach, make sure that you tell your doctor about it. The following are some of the home remedies for lichen sclerosus that you may try:
- Borax. Hormonal imbalance can cause the overgrowth of fungi, causing lichen sclerosus to develop. An effective all-natural way to control fungal problems is by soaking in a tub of water with a tablespoon of borax dissolved in it. You may also drink a glass of water with 1/8 teaspoon of borax added to it. Take this mixture twice a day — once in the morning and once again in the evening.
- Apple cider vinegar. Dissolve equal amounts of this powerful sour liquid and water, and apply on problem areas up to twice per day. Similarly, you may guzzle down a glass of water with a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into it. Perform this solution in the morning and before hitting the sack. Make sure that you opt for organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar, with the “mother” still intact for superb results.
- Plain yogurt. Consuming plain yogurt on a regular basis supplies your body with good bacteria, thus controlling microbes responsible for the appearance of lichen sclerosus. Other foods that you may include in your diet for faster healing from the embarrassing condition include kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir. It’s also a good idea to take high quality probiotic supplements.
- Herbs and essential oils. There are a handful of herbs that are known to be very good at controlling the symptoms of lichen sclerosus as well as preventing the disease from progressing. Some herbs that you may try applying on problem areas include witch hazel, comfrey, calendula and red clover. There are individuals who swear by the effectiveness of lavender essential oil in treating the skin problem.