What is Lichen Sclerosus?
As an autoimmune issue, Lichen sclerosus is an uncommon skin condition that creates a discoloration of the skin. The area of the skin that is affected becomes whitish, patchy and is very itchy. This area, over time, will become thinner. If left untreated, lichen can lead to other complications such as infections. Most people need some form of treatment, while others, the lichen goes away on its own. Due to the fact that Lichen (LS) is considered an autoimmune condition, means even if it does “clears up”, it may return. Lichen can remain dormant for periods of time, and then resurface. This can happen when your body is under stress, or when your body is sick. Autoimmune diseases live in your body forever. Treatment for autoimmune issues will most likely become life long.
Lichen Sclerosus (LS), but it is most often seen in the menopause or post menopausal years in women, but truly anyone of any age can get. In some individuals, LS sometimes occurs during as well. It tends to arise in the body when the hormone activity level is high, or out of balance. It can involve any area of skin, but is very often seen in the genitalia area.
In menopausal women, it usually affect the vaginal area. The skin in and around the area becomes itchy, and sore. Lichen presents itself with yeast infection like symptoms. The only difference is the vagina turns a whitish color. It is important to keep the area clean at all times. If lichen is left untreated, the white patches can turn to blisters, and become sore and possibly infected. Lichen Scelrosus is not contagious, and will not be passed during sex.
Lichen Sclerosus can also affect men. Men who get lichen are usually uncircumcised. It affects the area around the foreskin. In both men, and women, it can also affect the anus. Again, it is important to keep the area clean during treatment.
A small percentage (3%) of Lichen cases of the mucous areas, do become squamous cell carcinoma. Due to this fact, always be sure to have your Lichen checked regularly by your doctor. They will watch for changes in the cells.
Other Factors That May Contribute To Getting Lichen Sclerosus
There is some scientific evidence that has suggested that Lichen Sclerosus can also be caused by infections. This is especially true when the lichen does not attack the genital area.
Some studies suggest that there is possibly a genetic predisposition, and that those women who get it, could possibly have been passed down the gene from their mother. This is especially true when an infant is diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosus.
There has been evidence that LS can be associated with thyroid disease. Those who acquire Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, another auto immune disease, can be susceptible to getting LS as well. When one auto immune disease invades the body, it makes the body an easy mark for others.
Healing Lichen Sclerosus Naturally
Most treatments from the doctor are steroid salves or creams, but there are some herbs and natural treatments you can use to help heal, prevent scarring of tissue, and help with the itch of Lichen.
Comfrey is used for it’s tissue healing benefits. Comfrey, also known as knit bone, helps to “knit” the damaged cells back together. Comfrey helps heals wounds in short time. The wounded area must be clean, as comfrey works fast. If the area is dirty, infection can start as the germs are trapped inside.
Calendula is “the” herb to have for skin conditions. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. It’s wound healing properties goes to help fight infections.
- Red Clover–
Red clover is used as an anti-inflammtory. It helps heal wounds, and has some phyto estrogen effects. This has been shown to help heal lichen in menopausal women.
Plantain is a wonderful herb to help stop the itch on skin. It’s chemical herbal properties stop the itch of lichen if used regularly.
- Witch Hazel-
Witch Hazel is an astringent, and will help dry the skin, without over drying. It also acts as a protection against getting infections.
Treating Lichen Sclerosus Naturally
- Lichen Salve
Treat and heal Lichen Sclerosus (LS) naturally with herbal salve.
Healing Within The Body
While you can not truly heal an auto immune disease, you can help your body through it. With every auto immune disease, many herbalists suggest both internal and external remedies. For Lichen Sclerosus, a salve is used for the skin, and an herbal tea is used as both an internal remedy to be drank, as well as a sitz bath to comfort sore skin.