What is the treatment for lichen sclerosus?

I researched lichen sclerosus so much before my appointment that I believe my conversation with the GYN was as fascinating for him as it was for me. At least, I’d like to think so. 😉 I’m pretty sure he didn’t. He knew what he was looking for and immediately diagnosed me with lichen sclerosus. It was two days before my 50th birthday. Worst. Gift. Ever.

He wrote me a prescription for Triamcinolone topical steroid ointment, told me to book an appointment with the clinic’s pelvic floor therapist and a follow-up with him in 3 months. I thanked him and left his clinic feeling hopeful. 

While Triamcinolone is recognized as a lower dose steroid than the typically prescribed Clobetasol, I wasn’t keen to use it.

Photo by Shiny Diamond on Pexels.com

So, what is the treatment for lichen sclerosus?

Corticosteroids are the recommended treatment for LS. Topical corticosteroids (and sometimes oral) are prescribed to reduce inflammation and itch, stop the scarring and decrease the risk of cancer (I’ll talk about this in an upcoming post). 

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website:

Corticosteroid ointments or creams are commonly prescribed for lichen sclerosus. Initially, you’ll generally have to use cortisone creams or ointments on the affected skin twice a day. After several weeks, your doctor will likely recommend that you only use these medications twice a week to prevent a recurrence. Your doctor will monitor you for side effects associated with prolonged use of topical corticosteroids, such as further thinning of the skin.1

For me, more questions come from this:

1. If the scarring stops, does the risk for cancer also decrease?

2. Can you heal without the use of steroids? 

3. Do you need to continue steroids even if the skin looks healthy and there is no itching or discomfort?

I’m not going to answer these questions for you. Again, autoimmune is a unique journey for each person. I leave it to you to include these questions in your conversation with your healthcare specialists. 

I would never advise you not to use the medication your doctor has prescribed. I will, however, include all of the natural and complementary therapies that I and others with LS are using to improve our quality of life and put LS in remission. Upcoming posts will cover everything from foods to herbal oils to qigong.

Treating lichen sclerosus in children

There are parents in our online communities who choose to treat their children’s LS with topical steroids, parents who choose natural remedies and some that use a combination. It is reported that, in most instances, symptoms of LS will resolve once girls reach puberty. There is a variety of topical steroids ranging in potency. Work with your specialist to find the right one for your child.

To answer your question (I know you’re thinking it)… no, I have yet to use my topical steroid. I filled the prescription. It’s tucked under the bathroom sink. And, yes, my doctor is aware of my pursuit of natural remedies.

While he doesn’t seem quite as enthused as I am about my findings, he humours me by continuing to write prescriptions I may or may not fill.

Much love,

Stephanie

Read the next post in the series: Lichen sclerosus and pelvic floor therapy

If you find value in my content, thank you for supporting me by purchasing one of my books.

**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.

1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lichen-sclerosus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374452

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