4 years ago, I went to my doctor complaining of excruciating pain with intercourse. Even though I pressed her for a deeper dive into my condition, she wrote it off to menopause. Because she had never heard of Lichen Sclerosus. When I turned 50 last year, I made a commitment to myself to find answers to my health issues. It took a bit of Dr. Google and some frank conversations with my doctor, but within a few months I had an appointment with a GYN at a specialized dermatology clinic and a diagnosis of LS. I also had a pelvic floor therapist, a support group and myriad tools in my healing toolkit.
That was less than a year ago.
It would be easier not to write this post. To keep my journey with LS to myself. Sure, it would be easier.
I’ve written 3 memoirs and if you’ve read any of my books, you know that if I believe my writing can help someone else, I’m compelled to share my journey.
And this is an area where women are suffering. A lot. And they don’t need to. At least they don’t need to suffer alone.
If you’ve come to this page through searching, chances are, you or someone you love have been diagnosed with LS. In these posts, we focus on vulvar LS. Even if you haven’t received a diagnosis, you should know about this condition. Chances are, a woman (even a child) you know may have it. And we need more awareness around it.
So, what is Lichen Sclerosus (sclerosis)?
Lichen sclerosus (LIE-kun skluh-ROW-sus) is an uncommon condition that creates patchy, white skin that appears thinner than normal. It usually affects the genital and anal areas. Anyone can get lichen sclerosus but postmenopausal women are at higher risk.
Recent research suggests that the most probable cause of lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune reaction in genetically predisposed individuals.The Mayo Clinic
Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that most commonly affects women before puberty or after menopause. Although rare, it can also be seen in men. When found in males, the disease is known as balanitis xerotica obliterans.raredisease.org
This is the first of a month-long series of posts I am writing to raise awareness about Lichen Sclerosus and to inform, support, inspire and even entertain you on this journey. Being diagnosed with LS feels devastating, confusing and isolating. Being told you have to manage it for the rest of your life feels heavy and hard. Feel all of that. And then grab a cup of tea and read through the 30 posts I’ve written on LS in order to support you in feeling empowered to not only manage your LS but increase your body/mind/spirit care because of it. If you know of anyone with LS, share this series with them.
If you don’t have LS, grab a tea anyway and learn about this condition so you can inform your friends, sisters, daughters and mothers. And learn some nourishing practices for menopause, mental health and mid-life along the way.
Thanks for being here with me. You’re not alone. We’ll support each other on this journey.
Don’t worry, it’s not going to get graphic but it might get a little weird. We will unpack the mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual aspects of LS, menopause and autoimmune. Buckle up!
Leave a comment below with any questions you have. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I’ll do my best to answer you. And, yes, I’m writing a book on LS, however, I don’t want to wait for it to be published. I want to share what I’ve learned and experienced here in order to support you now.
Go to the next post in this series: Who gets lichen sclerosus?
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**This blog is meant to inform, not diagnose or treat specific health conditions. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always consult your doctor or health care practitioner.