Women's Health

Lichen Sclerosis: Female Genital Health

Lichen Sclerosis: a female genital health condition.
Lichen Sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder which can affect women and men. It is common on the vulva and is not contagious.
What can manifest: Signs of advancement of this condition.
Since tissue changes can lead to labial fusion, narrowing of the vaginal opening and even carcinoma (in approximately 3% of cases), even the mildest of cases should be treated and monitored.

There are many things that any patient with a diagnosis of L.S. can do on their own that can greatly improve symptoms. 
Taking control can be empowering and reduce some of the negative impact of stress hormones.


L.S. can go unnoticed for years.
Lichen sclerosis may initially manifest as white patches on the skin.  The tissue becomes fragile and itchy; and because LS is most commonly found on genital tissues, pain with sex is a frequent presenting complaint.  LS occurs in women approximately 10 times more often than men and is most common during phases of life with relatively low reproductive hormones (pre-pubertal and post-menopausal).

(Men make up such a small percentage of LS patients and can often be overlooked in studies).

Medical prescription:

A steroid cream is often prescribed, and a strong steroid cream is the go-to, effective treatment to manage this condition.

However, the article I refer to also states that constant steroid cream use is not recommended.  
So those suffering need to ask : What can I do to help myself?

I add this question: What happens when the cream stops working , or adds new side effects?

I suggest  that you receive answers from your medical advisor, do not accept that is could be hormonal, a potential life age possibility, progressive.
Seek articles, look at this condition holistically; take personal responsibility for your journey with the symptom.

What are the possible causes of L.S.?

There is increasing evidence of an autoimmune component.  Restoration of hormones, repletion of important nutrients, elimination of inflammatory foods as well as mechanical or chemical irritation and employment of immune modulating agents can have a significant impact.  Beyond that, there are new studies on injection treatments that are proving to be very effective for some patients.

What is autoimmunity?

Key Points taken from Townsend Letter:

The immune system is an invaluable component to health, as it identifies and targets infectious organisms including bacteria, viruses, and fungi as well as eradicates random mutations in our own tissues that may lead to malignancy.  This is happening behind the scenes, all the time, in every tissue in the body.  But occasionally something goes wrong and the immune system targets tissue that is not foreign and is otherwise perfectly healthy.  Like friendly fire, the body incorrectly attacks itself for reasons that are largely unknown, although evidence is mounting that one of the initial triggers may be gut dysfunction.

Diet and Nutrients

There is an abundance of evidence done on other autoimmune diseases that illustrate the anti-inflammatory benefits of certain foods and the role that foods play in triggering a leaky gut and subsequent immune dysfunction. 

The autoimmune paleo diet (AIP) promotes gut healing and eliminates inflammatory foods including grains (both gluten and non-gluten containing), dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes, nuts and seeds, nightshade vegetables, eggs and processed oils.While some patients need to be extremely restrictive, others may see significant benefit by eliminating just one or two of the greatest offenders.  When inflammatory foods are removed, chronic immune stimulation is reduced which leads to an improvement in symptoms.  The gold standard for identification of which foods may be of individual concern is an elimination period followed by provocation.  The elimination period should be done for at least 30 days, although in many cases will be done for up to a year.  Foods are then re-introduced in a systematic fashion, which enables the patient to identify what the biggest culprits are.

Hormones : E.g. Women who have  low circulating levels of estrogen, in peri and post-menopausal state, show patterns of exacerbation in almost all vulvovaginal disorders. 

Estrogen helps to balance the inflammatory response as well as work to counteract the tissue thinning caused by the primary treatment with topical steroids.10   For these reasons, topical estrogen creams are often prescribed to LS patients, although the literature actually better supports the use of testosterone.

This Paper states that thyroid hormone levels should be tested in all patients with a diagnosis of L.S. Thyroid hormones have a bidirectional relationship with the immune system.
Repletion of thyroid hormones, if deficient, may play a key role in improving general immune function.

Chronic stress  and stress hormones: Stress hormones, including cortisol, also have a very direct impact on inflammation and immune processes. 

As with many conditions, the symptoms and treatment of lichen sclerosis itself greatly contribute to chronic stress on top of any additional stressors the patient may be experiencing. 

Influencing and managing stress is a very complex and can be a difficult task for many people.

Physical stressors including genital piercings, sexual trauma, chronic mechanical irritation from tight clothing or ongoing chemical irritation from compounds found in soaps or detergents can lead to inflammation and tissue changes. 

In Summary:

Lichen Sclerosis: General treatment. Topically apply corticosteroids.

However, the above suggestions can effectively offer relief, lessen symptoms and empower the individual.

At Lifestyle Prescriptions University we work to find the  Root Cause of the health symptom or condition. Working with the client we unravel the effect of beliefs, stress, emotions, lifestyle and social learnings which contribute to the life of the symptom.
The body seldom makes mistakes.

Taking control of your condition, being responsible for your actions, can alleviate conditions and lessen the need for steroid dependency.

Join the Lifestyle Medicine Summit Oct. 27-31 Global Event & Movement.Register and partner up at