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 – link here.

First it said, once you have obtained your borax have a bath – with one tablespoon of 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 (or if you have found this on the internet then email ann@ annfoweraker .com (closing-up the gaps) – otherwise go to the actual page and click comments to add yours

Best – Ann

 

ps – as with any chemical – do keep these safely away from children 🙂

pps 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, and yes – this came out of the LS treatment too!

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37 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

  8. Hello Ann,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Can I ask how many milligrams of magnesium you are taking on a daily basis? I’d like to give this routine a try.

  9. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for your question.
    I take 200 mg of magnesium glycinate (two 100 mg caps) which is 50% of the Recommended Daily Allowance. The rest should easily be made up if you eat a varied diet with plenty of veg.
    Hope you find this routine useful.
    Please do not hesitate to ask further questions or make comments about how it goes.
    Best
    Ann

  10. You should, Dear Lady, warn your readers that borax is poisonous and the government has ruled it may not be sold in retail stores: not even Boots have it on their shelves. Of course, health and safety never checks the benefits versus the costs. As one of your readers has commented, it is a good water softener. I think it is important to treat it like poison ( the effective ingredient in ant killers) and label it so and keep it well away from little hands! Of course, it ought to be available from your GP, but BIG PHARMA rules!

    • Hi David, Thank you for your email and your concern. Yes, I agree, like all things potentially dangerous this should be kept away from little hands!! I may add a bit to the post. As for adults, in the links in the post it goes into the nature and any danger of this product. .it seems it is as dangerous as table-salt. . which is dangerous in quantity, especially to children.
      And yes, if it works and is cheap and easy to use, it won’t be endorsed by big pharma!
      Best
      Ann

  11. Thanks so much for your blog and all this worthwhile info. I couldn’t find Borax powder in the shops so searched on Amazon and have bought Borax Substitute. Is this the same thing? Don’t fancy drinking it so will make the solution up and apply directly and see how I get on. Thanks again

    • Hi Nicola.
      No, borax substitute is NOT the same, I have no idea what is in it and is probably focused on the laundry aspect. I do not suggest you use it at all.
      What country do you live in? Maybe I can find the right type of Borax out there for you.
      If UK my link (the red words £5.95 a kilo) will take you to where I bought it.
      Best
      Ann

  12. I have LS and I just discovered the use of borax as a natural remedy for this condition. Then I saw your article and now I have to try it! Im in so much pain when I walk and so uncomfortable. I hope this really works for me, I will cry if I can get some relief! Thank you for this article!!

    • Hi Brittney,
      Thank you for your comment, I know from some others that this has worked for them, as well as me, so I really hope that it works for you too.
      Take care to use real borax, the correct quantities, and it is essential to take magnesium too! The coconut oil ‘cream’ may also help especially if the LS affected areas rub.
      Please do let me know how you get on. best Ann

  13. Thank you so much for posting this. I was just diagnosed and am horrified and in so much discomfort. I read about the possible positive effect of borax. It is wonderful to hear a success story with it. I literally was diagnosed 3 days ago — it came on so suddenly the day after my annual pap exam. My doctor didn’t even see it but it has gotten really bad really fast. I havent even looked into support forums yet but I feel there should be one. It’s a terrible affliction. Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  14. Hello
    This is fascinating. I have been diagnosed with LS for some months now. i was also told that it was incurable and perscribed the cremes. But I also discovered this Borax recipe and have been using it exactly as you have said with one exception. It said to add pink himalayan salt. But I lost my recipe and am down to my last few doses in the jar! It has been extremely helpful to me but my nurse practitioner really cautioned me against taking it internally. But as you and many others I was desperate so I did it anyway and am so glad I found the relief. LS is a serious condition and I’m so happy for this simple but effective remedy

  15. Hello again

    I just went back over your remedy and saw that you also had added the pink Himalayan salt. I guess I some how skipped right over that in my haste. just wanted to clarify that.
    – Sara

    • Hi Sara,
      The place you probably found the recipe the first time is in my blog as a link (words in red) that say’ The site I looked at also advised’ click on that and you’ll find it. However, at the dose it suggested I found the Sodium totals (from borax plus pink salt) too much for me, and dropped the pink salt. The resulting relief from symptoms was still effective, and continues to be.
      From what you say I’m guessing it works for you too, as you want to carry on! All the best for a LS free future! Ann

  16. Hi Ann.
    I was diagnosed with LS back in October last year and we noticed it while I was pregnant with my 3rd little one and were able to biopsy it and send it in after he was born. Now I’ve gone through many steroid creams and none worked and let’s face it no one wants to use something that can cause more harm than good. Anyways before I found your testimonial I had already started the 1/8tsp borax and 1/8tsp Himalayan rock salt in a litre of distilled water. I’m on day 11 today. My question to you is that you state it took approximately 3 months to be symptom free. Did you start the maintenance after the 2 weeks of the drinking the 2 litre a day or form you drink the 1 litre a day for 3 months until your symptoms subsided?? Also I’ll be making your recipe for relief of coconut oil and borax and baking soda today! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Hi Samantha,
      I had considerable relief by the time I finished the first level course (which I did for 16 days as I’d divided each teaspoon into 8 – twice, one teaspoon for each week = 16 days worth) so I went straight onto the maintenance dose after that, and have remained on that ever since, along with the magnesium. (You are taking magnesium too?!) Has your LS begun to clear at all yet??
      Getting the borax to dissolve as much as you can when making the cream is key, and keep stirring until almost set.
      Hope it all helps, do contact me again if you have any other questions
      Best Ann

  17. Thank you Ann!
    Yes Iam taking magnesium as well as zinc. My LS has gone down to just super itchy. I did have hard skin but everything now is normal feeling just itchy. Like a crazy mad woman haha. I’ll keep doing it over a 16 days and then start the maintenance and go from there. Hoping the crazy itching will subside woo. Thanks so much for your quick response and I’ll make sure to dissolve the borax as much as possible when I make the cream 😊😊

    • Hi Samantha,
      I have seen, elsewhere, people who have done maintenance for a month, then, if all symptoms had not cleared, done another high dose for a couple of weeks before returning to maintenance, so keep that in mind if it doesn’t totally go.
      Also, as you may recall me saying, I really think it pays to have sorted out the gut bacteria. (Which I had been working on for preserving good brain function anyway before I came across the borax treatment.) I am convince that good gut health helps us in the fight against autoimmune conditions as well as any triggered by imbalances in our systems. Do look at my blog here
      You may find the blog post called Cold Turkey shampoo interesting too. 🙂
      Hope all goes well. Ann

    • Hi NJP
      thank you for the thank you – I am hoping this means you tried it and it works for you – or maybe just that the blog was encouraging.. either way – thanks Ann

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