Posted by Jill (Dallas, Tx) on 12/27/2010
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] Lichen Sclerosus is a condition that I self-diagnosed myself with a few years ago, after much internet research and no help from my doctor. This is still such a mysterious condition, with little concrete medical data out there to refer to, but here are some of my observations and some things that have helped me quite a bit.
First, I believe that it is caused by hormone imbalance and/or auto-immune issues. Most people notice their symptoms begin with hormone shifts. For me, it was at the beginning of peri-menopause, and came along with other, more common symptoms of that. Along those same lines, the symptoms are always worse at the end of my cycle (pre-menstrually) and better towards the beginning of the cycle. Also, I notice my symptoms flare up (and have heard others report the same) when my immune system is run down or strained, especially if I'm fighting a virus (cold, etc... ). Interestingly, as several others here have mentioned, I also have a history of adrenal fatigue/chronic fatigue. So seeking natural hormone balance and a healthy, balanced immune system are, in my opinion, key to going into permanent remission.
Topically, I have found the most success with a cream called Perrin's Cream Complete, found on the Perrin's website (you'll find it if you google it). It immediately relieves discomfort and seems to help quite a bit overall with other symptoms. It is a soothing antioxidant cream that is very healing as well. It was originally developed to help prevent and reverse skin cancer, so for a condition with an increased cancer risk associated with it, this cream is a good one to have on hand. Also evening primrose oil has been helpful topically.
I have tried to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet to help with the auto-immune aspect: no sugar (very inflammatory and noticeably worsens LS), fried foods, junk foods, processed foods/fast foods, margarine or shortening. About a month ago I also eliminated gluten (mostly found in wheat) and either it's a coincidence, or that was truly helpful because it's better now than it's been in years. A whole foods diet that is loaded with vegetables and healthy fats and protein (which includes SATURATED fats: coconut oil, eggs, butter and meat from healthy, pastured cows, etc... ), fish, krill, or cod-liver oil, and low on grains (especially wheat). Try to eat more like your great-grandparents ate and you'll be doing much better than if you follow the USDA food pyramid! The Weston A. Price Foundation has great info on healthy traditional diets and how our modern, western diet and food preparation has damaged our health (westonaprice.org). Learning about food sensitivities/allergies would also be essential for reducing systematic inflammation. If you can't afford allergy testing, try checking your pulse before and after eating suspected foods. If you notice a marked rise in your pulse after eating a particular food, you are probably sensitive if not allergic to it.
Also avoiding chemicals as much as possible in your environment (cleaning products, unfiltered city water), and food (genetically modified and/or pesticide laden foods) is also important. I know there are lots of supplements that help with inflammation: turmeric, fish oil (or krill or cod liver), vitamin D3 (current recommendations are extremely low, so probably around 5, 000 mg. daily, or better yet, get your levels tested and aim for therapeutic levels--check out http://mercola.com for more info on vit. D), and many more.
There are also supplements designed specifically for reducing inflammation. Chinese mushrooms and herbs have been used with incredible success for a variety of inflammatory conditions, so that would sure be worth checking out. Fungi Perfecti has a product line called Host Defense and a product in that line called My Community that looks very intriguing. It's a very reputable company and scores of people with serious immune and/or cancer issues swear by their products. http://iherb.com seems to have the best prices. Searching out anti-inflammatory diet and supplements should provide lots of good ideas. Hopefully there's something of use in all that!
If I discover a magic pill, I will certainly share my discovery, but my guess is that it's really about getting your hormonal and immune systems balanced out, which involves a more holistic approach to diet and lifestyle than what one pill can provide.