Lichen sclerosus and Why Borax is my new best friend

It’s difficult to talk about this – and this is why it has taken me two weeks to write one blog! After just telling my husband the diagnosis, lichen sclerosus, and that I had been prescribed ‘a cream’ for it I hadn’t mentioned it again even to him – and even though, over the course of four or five years, the symptoms got worse and worse.

Back at the end of October, the symptoms had become excruciating – and the ‘cream’ useless. I had been told that as an auto-immune condition there was nothing else medicine could offer apart from suppression of the symptoms by the ‘cream’ – a corticosteroid – classified as a ‘potent steroid’.

So, what is Lichen sclerosus? It is an auto-immune condition that affects mainly children and post-menopausal women. (Yep, tick that last box)  As I am sure you know, and auto-immune condition is one in which your own body turns on itself, destroying cells, and in this case making the skin thinner, prone to blistering, swelling, soreness, irritation and inflammation.

Lichen sclerosus also has a favourite location for this disruption of the skin – and this is why I (and many other people) don’t generally like to talk about it. It affects the skin between the buttocks and reaching forward to include the skin around the vulva. In people who have had it for decades it can even result in atrophy of the flesh.

By the end of October I was in pain all the time, especially when sitting, and every time I needed to use the toilet I faced the agony of cleaning and drying myself, and the area affected seemed to be extending. Now Corticosteroid must be used sparingly – frequent reapplication is not acceptable – not desirable – as Corticosteroid also THINS the skin!

I positioned a mirror to look – the skin was red, shiny, swollen, cracked and blistered – no wonder it stung to blazes!

This is where I am surprised at, and ashamed of, myself. I have been looking into natural ways of supporting the body and brain by supporting the health of your whole system – but I hadn’t looked for a natural way of dealing with Lichen sclerosus. I had been ambushed by the fact that it was considered an Auto-immune condition  – and, therefore, I knew that meant it wasn’t curable.

…  or did I?

 After all, hadn’t I been reading about other auto-immune conditions that had been helped by natural means – by a rebalancing of the gut-bacteria, specifically. However, I have already gone down this route for the sake of my brain, and I hope my gut-bacteria are now in a good balance and are being ‘fed’ the food-stuffs to keep them happy. I would say that in other ways my body was feeling better tuned and functioning well.

So it was, that feeling desperate, I began to research whether there was a natural way to help the condition . . .  and there was!

I read so many pages, so many personal responses. I read of people with this condition who were in a much worse state than I was – whose body had suffered permanent changes that were life-affecting. I also read of those who had found the answer – or an answer. And it involved my new friend Borax – also known as Sodium Tetraborate. I read around the subject – finding out lots more about Borax (especially about uses here) and it’s uses, trawling sites for negatives as well as positives – until, convinced it was worth a try, I sent off for some, it was only £5.95  a kilo.

First it said, once you have obtained your borax have a bath – with one tablespoon or borax and one of bicarbonate of soda – just for relief. OH MY! That was SO GOOD, just in itself! That alone was enough to convince me to take the course.

Then there was the taking of borax in solution every day for a fortnight. This was in a specific high dose: One eighth of a level teaspoon of borax to be taken everyday, dissolved in one litre of (warm) spring water – consumed over the day.  Followed by a life-time of a much lower dose of borax –  every day – forever. AND the mandatory taking of a magnesium supplement always – as the borax needs that to work effectively. Magnesium citrate is easily absorbed but can also act as a laxative so I researched and decided on magnesium glycinate – which is also easily absorbed but does not have that side effect. (magnesium oxide – often sold in supermarkets – is very poorly absorbed)

(NB. The site I looked at also advised adding one eighth of a teaspoon of ground Himalayan Pink Salt to the Borax – so I did this too … to begin with, until I had the odd reaction of tingling in my face – that seemed to be caused by an overdose of sodium – so I dropped the pink salt and continued with the borax – the odd reaction faded away.
Himalayan pink salt is often recommended by natural health bloggers for ailments – and I wonder if someone was trying a belt and braces solution that worked for them – but overloaded my system with sodium? My verdict – I believe this works just as well with Borax only)

ANYWAY…. On day 5 – when I was drying myself I thought ‘Oh! What? My skin has gone numb in one small place.’ So I checked with the mirror to see where this numb area was. It turned out it wasn’t numb at all – just healed-up and looking normally pink, surrounded by skin that was still screaming at me – it only seemed numb in comparison.

Over the remaining time of the fortnight this small normal area grew – until all the skin looked pink and healthy and did not hurt any more. The swelling had gone down too – and it was only then I realised how bad that aspect had actually been.

One other thing I used over that fortnight was a simple ‘cream’ I made-up myself. Without the corticosteroid cream there was no slippery barrier to each inner cheek rubbing against the other and causing pain. So I used one rounded tablespoon of coconut oil (which is a solid at room temp) and mixed into it one level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, one level teaspoon of Borax and 3 drops of lavender oil (essential oil) The dry ingredients are dissolved into the warmed oil and constantly stirred – even as it begins to solidify. The essential oil added before it solidifies but after the oil has cooled a bit.  This then sets to a hard ‘cream’ – so I would scrape off a little and it would melt on my skin providing the lubrication on the sore skin with the soothing qualities of the other ingredients.

Three months down the line and there has been no more pain, I still take the 3mg dose of borax each day [1 tsp of borax dissolved in 1 litre of water – kept in fridge and only 1 – 2 teaspoons of this solution taken each day in water] and use a little of my own ‘cream’ especially after showers or baths.

This borax treatment is such a blessing that, despite the embarrassment, I have to share it – even if only one other person with Lichen sclerosus gets some relief from the symptoms – then it would be worth it.

 

Comments welcome as always – but …

If you wish to keep it private and just contact me then just reply to the email this arrived on – otherwise go to the actual page and click comments to add yours

Best – Ann

 

ps weight stayed the same last week, down 1 lb this … and still happy with the new borax and bicarb hair treatment – and my hairdresser said that my hair felt thicker!

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18 thoughts on “Lichen sclerosus and Why Borax is my new best friend

  1. This is fascinating. .. well researched and thank you for sharing. I haven’t quite reached that particular tick box yet, but have stored this in my memory banks for future use if needed.
    Glad to hear the hair thing going well too… I haven’t found the time or inclination to try it yet, but I don’t leave the conditioning as the last part of my shower routine any more!

  2. I grew up using borax for washing my hair. My Grandmother used to put it as a first wash and then rinse my hair before using shampoo. My long hair always looked shiny and in good condition when using borax. I am sure Grandma used this for other things too.

    • Thanks for your comment, Naomi, That’s amazing, I had never even heard of it, and it mainly seems to be used in the USA rather than over here, at least, nowadays. I wonder why it’s use faded out? Best – Ann

  3. Hi, the jury is still out on the link between LS and autoimmune. I was diagnosed almost 20 yrs ago and like you have used a steroid, mine being clobetasol. I am thinking about trying the borax after reading many posts in the past years about it. Up until a few months ago I enjoyed a long remission by using topical hormones, clobetasol and emu oil. I am convinced our disease is more hormonal related and is aso affected by the inflammation created by eating a processed diet in combination with food sensitivities causing toxins to leach in to the body through the intestines.

    • Hi Dee,
      Thank you for your comments … it helps everyone who has this to know that we are not alone. (I have had a number of ‘private’ emails too – so we definitely are not!)
      Taken that LS occurs usually in children and post menopausal women I suspect you are right – there is an hormonal element (which does not stop it also being auto-immune) but with the link to other auto-immunes, of inflammation – particularly from gut-biome related ‘incursions’, I would not be surprised at that either. However, in my case, you’ll have seen from my other posts that we’ve been living a mostly ‘good-life’ style (home produced foods – cooking from scratch – few (junk) processed foods) so, apart from the ‘wheat’ factor – I wasn’t sure how the inflammation could have come from that direction.
      All I know is that the Borax and magnesium worked for me (and continues to do so) and that it is worth a try – besides – if it didn’t work there would be no harm done (unlike the steroid creams which, by thinning the skin further, do harm). Most certainly the borax and bicarb baths are good – and probably a little is skin-absorbed that way anyway. However, I think that taking the magnesium is also key! One, it makes the borax ‘work’ and Two, magnesium is indicated in helping straighten-out hormone imbalances – so if our LS is hormone related this can also only help.
      Thank you again for commenting – and, if you try it I’d love to know if it works for you – especially if it does! Our bodies are all so different, made up as they are from our own unique set of DNA, so nothing is guaranteed – but is definitely worth a try.
      best – Ann

  4. Thank you Ann !
    I would much rather send a email but I found you on a Google search and can’t find a email link on here.
    Thank you.
    Ethel

    • Hi Ethel, Thank you for responding anyway … if you would still like to send an email (to ask questions or anything) you can send it to ann@ annfoweraker .com (close up the gaps – it’s written like this to stop spam robots picking it up) Why not sign-up (top of page) to get my blog sent directly to your email 🙂 then any developments will come your way …
      🙂 Ann
      I found your message to me via my facebook page and have answered there. 🙂

  5. I too have LS. I’ve been treating it for two years with bio identical hormone replacement therapy and Clobetesol. Overall everything has been good. But I had a bad flare a few weeks ago and wasn’t sure why. Started reading about Borax and figured I had nothing to lose. I found your blog just today and like your combination of creams. I’ve been using the borax for a few days and will add the magnesium glycinate. Wish me luck. I feel good about the borax.

    • Hi Angela,
      It’s such an uncomfortable affliction, I do hope this remedy works for you too. The magnesium is important as it activates the borax in your system, plus magnesium helps balance hormones too.
      I would love to know if it is as effective for you as it has been, and continues to be, for me.
      Thank you for contacting me
      Best
      Ann

    • Hi Det,
      Thanks for your questions.
      I do not follow a specific candida diet – though I have been following a low-carb diet for many, many years and they do have similarities. I haven’t suffered from Thrush and I didn’t consider the LS to be the same type of condition. As for coffee – I have never drunk coffee as I just do not like the smell or the taste of it – so I am sorry I do not know if it is a good idea to give it up or not.
      The white patches were the least of the problems with my LS, but it was in that earlier stage, with the terrible itching that comes with it, that LS was diagnosed by my GP (who happened to be a skin-specialist) However, later it was the cracked skin, the blistering and the swelling that hurt the most and drove me to despair and then to finding out about Borax. When all that went the white patches (which had been early signs) were nowhere to be seen. All in all it took between 2 and 3 weeks to clear completely – and (with the life-long very low Borax dose plus magnesium) it hasn’t made a reappearance so far 🙂
      Hope this helps
      – best Ann

  6. Hi Ann,
    I have been using borax also for LS, for a few months, I found the remedy online here: http://educate-yourself.org/cn/boraxconspiracy03jul12.shtml
    I was diagnosed with LS about 18 months ago and used the steroids maybe a handful of times before giving up and looking for natural remedies and causes.
    I was taking borax internally, for a few months but stopped for a while, just for a break. I use sitz baths with a cup of borax and magnesium, sea salt and water as hot as I can bear. I massage the area in the direction the vulva is designed to loosen up any fusing that may be occurring, sneakily as it does. I know it works as there have been times when I can feel the skin starting to fuse again and I take the borax bath and it comes undone.

    I told my doctor and I told the vulva clinic, they keep cautioning me, its so frustrating as it works and they do not listen.
    Although the last time I had a vulva clinic appt the nurse lectured me and THEN examined me and was surprised! She suddenly did an about turn on her diagnosis of LS, saying I looked normal and maybe I could stop everything and see what happens.

    The thing is, I do think I have LS, but I have managed to keep the effects at bay.

    I have also given up sugar, wheat and alcohol ( although occasionally I have a drink ) This has also made a difference.

    Borax stops the itching, I apply estradiol now and again to the outer area, small amounts, low levels. I am 56 and menopausal.

    I use coconut oil to lubricate so the skin is not able to stick together in the first place.

    Thank you for listening 🙂

    Jacqueline

    • Hi Jaqueline,
      Well done you on looking for a natural cure earlier rather than waiting years (as I foolishly did – believing it to be auto-immune)
      Yes it does work! And, yes, I can see that the professionals may just think it was misdiagnosed – or that it went into spontaneous remission, as it challenges what they have been taught.
      However, I say, if you have LS – try this (the borax remedy as per the websites cited). If nothing else the borax and bicarb baths are the best relief going – and I don’t think the health professionals can say anything against that!
      Coconut oil is a great lubricator – as you’ll have seen I mixed bicarb and borax in with melted coconut oil to make a lubricating balm – and that also works well.
      I do not think the borax is a cure, it doesn’t claim to cure as it does say to keep on the low dose (with magnesium too) for LIFE to keep the symptoms away – but I can do that – after the agony of the LS I find that no bother whatsoever!
      Keep sharing the love – let other LS sufferers know that there is another way!
      Best – Ann

  7. Thank you Ann!

    Yes, it is SO important we do share and converse, I was gobsmacked to leave the womens clinic at Melbourne womens hospital with no recipe for emotional support or access to support groups and little information. I was also not directed to a dermatologist and have not been guided to do that even now? The whole scenario is quite archaic.
    They diagnosed it as being a psychological issue before they had even examined me? At which point it was quite embarrassing on their part.

    I will definitely try the remedy you mention, I came online just to get the recipe and discovered you had replied! Bonus!

    I am lucky in that I do not have the terrible symptoms, pain and itching, or the horrendous tearing ( thus far ) I just experienced a lack of sensation, which has also improved.

    I will keep you all posted

    Onward and Upward!

    Jacqueline

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