As a naturopath who sells the Perrin Naturals range I am often asked the question what is the natural treatment for Lichens Sclerosis? Lichens Sclerosis is a painful and isolating disease and sufferers deserve support – below is a short offering from my experience as a practitioner treating this condition…
What is Lichens Sclerosis?
If you have spoken to your doctor they have probably told you lichens sclerosis is an auto immune disease. But what does that really mean and how does it relate to your body? And more importantly what are is are options for natural treatment for Lichens Sclerosis?
I came to working with Lichens Sclerosis by accident, but having worked with many sufferers over the years I want to reach out and help more people. I have found there is a lot of panic and misinformation alongside very few real solutions or support. I hope my small contribution brings you hope.
About Auto Immune Issues…
Auto immune disease, from a western medical perspective, is where your immune system becomes dysfunctional often attacking your body’s own cells and thereby creating inflammation and tissue destruction. There are various theories as to why this happens but from current medical standpoint, treatment is all about attempting to control the inflammation with steroids. There are few options if steroids don’t work and over time they can lose their effectiveness or cause other problems. So whilst steroids are effective at reducing inflammation and preventing plaques it’s important to have other treatment options and natural alternatives that can work alongside steroid creams.
I have my own perspective, this is common to many naturopaths. Your immune system hasn’t suddenly just decided to attack your own cells, there has been a trigger. We are still unable to detect many pathogens and there are a whole range of bacteria, fungi, moulds, viral and toxic substances like heavy metals and destructive chemicals that we don’t regularly test for and which we have a limited understanding of. In my experience it is one or many of these things which has infiltrated your body and is creating the immune disruption.
My natural treatment for Lichens Sclerosis…
Based on this theory, there are three key steps which I have found make a huge impact on Lichens sclerosis. I will outline them now then go onto to discuss them in much further detail in this article…
1. Diet – I say this first because it takes time to figure everything else out. So at least if you start with the diet you will get symptom relief and often stop a worsening or generalising of your condition.
2. Local applications – There are a number of organic, simple products that can reduce symptoms like itching and also reduce inflammation and scarring. I will also talk about why some simple home remedies like also work and are great for reducing pain around toileting. Its all about finding what works for you.
3. Track down the cause – this is essential. I recommend finding a practitioner willing to go through this process with you in depth. However I am going to describe some general causes so that you can reflect on what may be creating issues for you and start making changes right now.
So lets break it down and get into the nitty gritty of these 3 key treatment approaches…
Number 1: What to do about food and diet…
Firstly – from my experience Lichens Sclerosis means you need to be on a diet that is at least:
- sugar free
- grain free (can include low levels of low reactive grains like white rice)
- diary free
- please don’t stop reading! I have personally come from a place where reducing or eliminating these foods felt impossible – so I have learned simple and effective approaches. If you told me even 5 years ago that I would be sugar free, low grain and dairy/wheat free I would have simply laughed – but here I am (I don’t have LS but I have had my own intense health journey)…
I know that a diet like this is massively confronting but stick with it because most of my clients can’t believe the difference that a shift in diet will make to their symptoms. There is also a number of auto-immune Paleo cookbooks that are fantastic. The reason these diets work is that they reduce inflammation and digestive dysfunction caused by our over use of sugar, grains and dairy. Once inflammation is under control you and digestion is improved you should be able to soften your diet and increase variety (if this is not possible you need to address inflammation with herbs via a practitioner). Once you have diagnosed or suspected Lichens you have moved past the point of just reducing these foods – you need to eliminate them and only indulge very occasionally (usually suffering the consequences and then vowing to never eat them again until you find yourself at a wedding again…)
Once you have diagnosed or suspected Lichens you have moved past the point of just reducing these foods – you need to eliminate them for a significant period of time and only indulge very occasionally (usually suffering the consequences and then vowing to never eat them again until you find yourself at a wedding again…)
It important to find and address your individual dietary issues.
For example you may have sensitivity to the deadly nightshade family (potato, eggplant, tomato, capsicum, chilli, strawberry). You maybe sensitive to coconut products, eggs, chocolate, nuts or any other food. In my practice I use both sensitivity testing and also IgG blood food allergy testing to establish allergies/sensitivities.
But you can test for sensitivities right at home…
To experiment at home use an elimination diet to work out your sensitivities – here is how to do it…
- Bring your diet down to ground zero* for 2 weeks (*see guide at end of this article)
- Change the proteins around and see if any of them seem to create more symptoms of LS or digestive upset (bloating, pain, gas, loose/hard stools). Most reactions happen straight away but some foods will create a reaction up to 3 days after eating them. So only introduce 1 food every 3 days so that you can work out what is going on.
- If a protein creates symptoms avoid it for a month then reintroduce and see if the symptoms appear again – if they do eliminate for another few months before trying again.
- Once you are on a ground zero diet that is relieving your symptoms try adding in other foods – you might want to try deadly nightshade vegetables, garlic/onions, nuts, seeds, fruits, coconut, chocolate – remember if you have LS or digestive symptoms within 3 days of eating a new food avoid it for another 1-3 months and then try again.
This is might be a really easy and straight forward process or a complex one depending on where your body is at but it makes a huge difference – remember if it seems overwhelming there are other testing options and I am able to offer you a support.
Remember – diet is the cornerstone in the long-term maintenance of all health issues.
Using Local applications to get relief and heal…
- Firstly – eliminate all toxic cleaning and self care products.
- Throw out all perfume, all of it – the momentary whiff of niceness is not worth the pain… perfumes are xeno-estrogen compounds which mimic estrogen but are thousands of times more potent and will exacerbate estrogenic issues.
- Use only certified organic self care products and to be honest even many of these will not be pure enough… I usually recommend castille soap or Dr Bronner products. Never use these products on the genitals just for general body cleaning.
- Use only pure cleaning products – esp laundry – my favorite range is Abode but there are others that are pure – like Ecostore. Also vinegar is a great fabric softener and it will disinfect your washing machine at the same time – the slightly vinegar smell disappears as your clothes dry. Borax is another great laundry product that will remove fungal issues from your clothes – add 2 tablespoons to your laundry powder. Blants is an excellent natural source of Borax and delivers within Australia and New Zealand.
- Some people get great relief from a wash of diluted apple cider vinegar applied after each trip to the loo… you can make up small bottles for work or travel. Start on a low dilution 1 tsp to 1 litre of water, and then if you feel to you can increase to 2 tsp per litre. Remember each vinegar is different in strength. I recommend getting Braggs organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
- If you suspect that vagnial yeast/fungal infection is exacerbating your symtoms you may find that making a solution of borax and water and using this as a wash reduces itching and redness.
Itch relieving, skin healing Products…
I have sold the Perrin Naturals range to my Lichens Sclerosis clients for years now and in most cases the combination of Perrin’s Blend and Creme Compete relieves pain, itching and in some cases even heals fused skin. However make sure you address diet first, and if you find the cremes don’t work don’t throw them away! here are some of the main reasons why – address them and keep using the cream…
- Candida infection (try using diluted apple cider vinegar as a wash after toileting or a douche) but also the diet will influence this. You can sometimes have systemic candida or very entrenched gut candida which will need treatment with herbs and nutrients. I will write another blog on this as its a big one…
- Too strong – if either of the Perrin’s products causes pain or itching they are too strong – the solution – if you already have crème complete you need to blend another natural and inert crème into a small amount of the crème complete or Perrin’s blend. Here is how to do it:
- simply find something that works it might be coconut oil, it might be an alcohol free aloe vera gel, it might be an organic vitamin E cream – test a small amount on your affected area
- once you have a base that works start by adding a tiny dollop of Perrin’s see how it goes
- once you feel like its not irritating keep it at same amount for a least 1-2 weeks before very slowly increasing the amount of Perrin’s that you are adding to your base cream.
- You can also order ultra nurture which is a more gentle version of crème complete.
- Immune system starts to normalise – sometimes as the immune system starts to normalise you can experience different symptoms in the affect area. Skin may itch in a different way as its repairing for example – its important to take a regular condition report and really assess what changes are taking place to work out what is happening.
- It’s taking too long – remember these creams are 100% natural in fact you could eat them. They take time to work, keep applying, work on all the other aspects of your condition and keep a journal to track your symptoms – sometimes things are getting better slowly and you almost don’t notice it.
Hunting down the Trigger…
Although you can’t avoid menopause you can manage the symptoms and this usually has a knock on effect on your Lichens Sclerosis. If you are experiencing hot flushes, night sweats/hotness, overwhelm, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, weight gain you can address these symptoms with natural treatments. Its always worth seeing a practitioner even briefly, especially if you have tried supplements in the past with no luck – however here are some at home tips:
- There are some really great products that are available in health food stores – Harmony by Martin and Pleasance has very good results and is even available in some pharmacies…
- Also some women get relief from Red Clover, you can buy this as a loose dried herb and drink it as a tea – use 1-2 tablespoons per pot and steep for 10 minutes. You may need to drink 3-4 cups a day for effectiveness.
- Adding large amounts of cooked green vegetables to your diet will improve estrogen balance. I recommend aiming to eat 4 cups of cooked greens per day.
I have seen mould reaction in a number of Lichens Sclerosis cases i’ve worked with. First thing – whatever you do avoid any chemical based products that kill mould, avoid anti-fungal paint, bedding and materials that are treated with chemcials to make them antifungal/mould. These chemicals are not only toxic but they cause moulds to mutate into much more harmful forms. The answer is to use natural products – often already in your home.
- Wool and latex (make sure its 100% natural) are naturally resistant to fungus, mould, and dust mites.
- When cleaning up mould use face masks and remove and wash clothes immediately (use ½ cup natural vinegar in the rinse cycle).
- Mould will live off bleach and other chemicals so natural vinegar diluted slightly is one of the best cleaners. Also clove oil, or a very strong tea made of fresh clove buds (supermarket varieties are usually too old to work) will kill the mould at its roots when left in contact for 12+ hours. It can then be scrubbed away.
- Using vinegar and clove address mould on outside of house, mattress, in carpets, in wardrobes, under sinks, in bathrooms. You can add ½ cup vinegar to your washing machine as a fabric softener/rinse.
- There are professionals who specialise in assessing your home for mould and giving you simple practical solutions – the building biology website is a great resource.
So maybe your not menopausal but if you have hormonal imbalance this will impact on your Lichens Sclerosis. Its more difficult to share tips because there are so many variations – however its important to know that blood tests often don’t show hormonal imbalance – salvia tests are more reliable at indicating what is really going on.
If you suspect hormone imbalance I suggest a saliva hormone test that looks at all three estrogens (E1, E2, E3), progesterone, testosterone, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), DHEA-S, and cortisol. I ordet this test for you with Healthscope Functional Pathology in my practice, its is sent to you to perform in the comfort of your home, Australia wide. You are always welcome to have a short consult (15 minutes in person, phone or skype) and if its suitable I can forward to test referral directly to you. Once we have the results I can forward them to you and you can decide what steps you wish to take – further consultations with me, find a practitioner close to you, speak to your doctor to see if there are medical options, or research self treatment options.
Other auto immune disease
Its important that if you have other any other disease which is auto-immune driven like thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis that you address these from a holistic perspective. Also diet is very important in these cases – see notes above.
There are also a number of herbs and nutrients that can help to reduce the severity of symptoms of auto immune disease – these can help reduce your Lichens Sclerosis symptoms too. I know its a bit of a tease not to mention herb names – but we are getting into an area that needs quite a deep knowledge and if you have one of these diseases you may be on mediation that can interact with herbs – so seeing a professional herbalist/naturopath/Chinese medicine doctor is essential. You are always welcome to book a session with me in Preston or via phone/skype. If you want a short 15 minute session to get a sense of how I would appraoch your case this can be arranged.
This is a contentious area but if you have been researching you will have found links from Lichens Sclerosis to infections like borellia, babesia, bartonella, severe gut parasites, viral infections like glandular fever and many more. In a simple sense – some of these infections create dysfunction in your immune system, inflammation in your tissues and can lead to exhaustion, pain, low immunity, lowered brain function and many more. Again holistic treatment is essential. You are welcome to have a short consult to assess whether you would like to address these issues with me. Or you can find a practitioner locally.
*Elimination diet further information
ground zero (a basic guide)
- 1-2 cups per meal of chicken stock
- ideally home made from chicken carcass, carrots, celery, herbs, filtered water – simmered or slow cooked for 12 hours
- 3-4 cups of green vegetables per day (kale, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, spouts, snow peas, spinach, coriander)
- ½ – 1 cup orange vegetables per day (carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato)
- white rice (approx. ¼ – ½ cup per meal)
- each meal a small protein serve (half palm size if meat and palm size if vegetarian) (fish, eggs, meat, chicken, legumes).
- Snacks – drink chicken stock, eat an extra meal as above. The idea is to avoid anything that might trigger an allergic reaction like nuts, crackers etc…
- you don’t need to go hungry – if you need to eat more in terms of quantity do so – as this is just a rough guide and doesn’t take into consideration size of activity level – However try to keep proportions/ratio of chicken stock/vegetables/rice the same
**see above for instructions on how to introduce foods to test for intolerance