Well, this is a shitty topic. This is probably the more uncomfortable place for my LS. For nearly two decades, I thought I had hemorrhoids. I think one of my doctors mentioned it or I simply decided that was the problem. It made sense: two big babies and years of weight lifting. What else could have been responsible for that type of pain?
So, can lichen sclerosus cause bowel problems?
Before being diagnosed, I had no idea LS causes scar tissue around the anal area which can create fissures when bulky stools or straining happens. Remember from my earlier post What are the symptoms of lichen sclerosus?, children often experience symptoms of constipation due to painful cracks around the anus.
Symptoms and signs of anogenital LS include itching, constipation, painful defecation, bleeding, dysuria, pigment loss, fissures, and anatomical distortion. The most commonly reported symptom is itching, occurring in approximately 80% of patients. Gastrointestinal complaints occur in approximately 90% of patients, with constipation being the most common symptom. 1The Journal of Pediatrics
So, what’s to be done about this crappy situation?
Especially for kids with LS, finding a healthy diet that allows for comfortable bowel movements is key!
- Ensure you eat enough fruits and vegetables that agree with your digestive system
- Decrease or eliminate processed foods (consider reducing gluten, sugar and dairy)
- Drink enough water throughout the day
- Walk or move the body daily
- Include enough fats in your meals and add ground flax seeds or prune juice when needed
- Work with a nutritionist, naturopathic doctor, or other specialists to identify any food sensitivities or gut/digestive issues
- Relax while on the toilet (make your bathroom a pleasant environment)
And don’t forget to include the anal area in your oil massage. I talk about topical oils/creams/salves for relief and repair in The top 10 topical treatments for lichen sclerosus. Just make sure you don’t transfer bacteria from the anal area forward to the vulva. Massage the vulva tissues first and then move along to the rear.
Soaking in a warm bath can assist with keeping the area clean as well as helping the tissues to better absorb topical treatments. Soak for twenty minutes, pat dry, and apply the treatment.
I also find pure witch hazel soothing for fissures and tender bottoms. Though some say it stings. You can repair and rejuvenate these tissues so that pain no longer plagues your pooper.
Stay tuned, there’s a butt-load of more posts to come. I’m sorry. I had nowhere else to go with it.
Read the next post in the series: Contemplations on 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.