LS Lichen Sclerosus and Borax – Update

2 years ago I wrote one of the hardest blogs I had ever written. Yes, much harder than telling you about my breast cancer!

It was about having Lichen Sclerosus – and finding something that actually helped – something that didn’t cure (it is incurable) – but did alleviate the very distressing symptoms.

If you have never heard about LS – then you are lucky! It isn’t something you tend to hear about until the doctor tells you that the excruciating pain from the thin broken skin, the swelling, the pain and the terrible itching, is due to LS … and all they can give you is a steroid cream – that thins the skin!

So, what is Lichen sclerosus / sclerosis? It is believed to be an auto-immune condition that affects mainly post-menopausal women and children, but also some men. As I am sure you know, an 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 tearing or splitting, blistering, swelling, soreness, irritation and chronic inflammation. It also makes white patches on the skin – hence the name – but that’s the least of your worries. However, it isn’t infectious at all.

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 delicate skin all around and of the vulva. In people who have had it for decades it can even result in atrophy of the flesh.

  • This blog post ‘Lichen Sclerosus and why Borax is my new best friend’ has been the most visited – the most commented on – and the one that I have received most direct email about since I began my blog nearly nine years ago! And WHY? Because there are SO MANY women – and some men – all over the world who suffer from this – and are desperately seeking some way to alleviate the pain. (I’ve since found that there are FB pages for LS suffers and it is full of thousands, some with horrific results of their affliction)

Only last night I had another email – from a lady in the USA saying she’d found my blog – and was the borax therapy still working for me? and could I give her a link to the borax that would work in the USA? I will reply – as I have to the many, many others who have not wanted to use the open comments section, and who are just happy to find someone to talk to who understands.

So, today – almost 2 years from that first blog – I am doing an update.

The borax therapy is still working for me!

Last summer I sent out a little questionnaire to people who’d commented or contacted me about LS – hoping to create an overview of what people had found worked. How many had found the borax therapy worked for them – and how many hadn’t – what else they had tried – what had failed, what had worked. Unfortunately just a low percentage replied. It may be that the emails addresses they used were not valid any more, or temporary, or my email fell into a junk box – but the overview didn’t garner enough stats to be meaningful. However, generally, those who did reply said the borax therapy had helped – if not taking away the symptoms altogether – it had eased the problem. A few said it worked – then after some stressful time it stopped working. At least one of these I suggested starting the therapy again from the high-dose intake … and it started working for them again. A re-boot any time after 3 months from the original start is ok and seems to help when other factors have exacerbated the condition (and stress does seem to).

So I have to say that the Borax therapy doesn’t seem to work for everyone – our bodies are very complex organisms and no treatment works the same for everyone – but it does work for a good number of people.

What I can say from my own experience is that, if you have been diagnosed with LS, try the borax and bicarb bathing – combined with taking magnesium glycinate (or another bio-available form of magnesium) at half the daily recommended dose. This is very safe and easy to try – and if this works for you – eases your symptoms a little – then trying the full therapy may well work for you too… and clear-up and keep those very nasty symptoms at bay.

Having said that, and acknowledging that picking the ‘therapy’ out of the story of my LS in my earlier post isn’t clear or easy, I’m now setting the therapy out as I tried it in a step-by-step clearer manner here.
But please note: I am not a doctor – I speak only from my own experience – please do your own research too.

The Borax therapy

The Bath: TRY this first! In a normal sized bath, put 1 tablespoon of Borax (Sodium Tetraborate) and 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda, run hot water and stir to dissolve – cool to comfortable temperature and to make a bath of about 8 – 10 inches deep (20 – 25 cm) – to cover affected parts of your body. Soak about 10 mins or more. [A little borax will be absorbed transdermally too]

Every daytake a bio-available magnesium supplement (half the daily recommended dose – the rest you will get from your food)
I suggest magnesium glycinate as bio-available and without of the side effects of magnesium citrate. As the borax needs the magnesium to work effectively and it helps balance hormones.

The ‘cream’: This is something I made up myself – as the lack of ‘slip’ once I stopped using the steroid cream meant just the skin touching skin was painful when walking or sitting.
2 rounded tablespoons of coconut oil (which is a solid at room temp) melted in a small lidded oven-proof glass bowl in the microwave, watching it carefully – it needs to get hot to dissolve the borax)
Mixed into it 1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 level teaspoon of Borax – stirring constantly as it cools.
Before it solidifies but after the oil has cooled a bit  Add 3 drops of lavender oil (essential oil) and pour into a container, with a lid, for keeping.
This then sets to a hard ‘cream’ (at UK temperatures) – so I scrape off a little and let it melt on my skin providing the lubrication on the sore skin with the soothing qualities of the other ingredients. You may find small bits of borax that do not dissolve fully, but as this melts, you can push these aside and remove.
OR use just a little coconut oil – or a moisturiser that is all organic and does not contain petrol-based ingredients.

If these help … carry on with these and try the following…

The Internal Borax therapy: This is not mine – I found it online and it is the regime I followed: and what made my symptoms go away!! (Read about my journey here and find a link to the original post that I followed)
Taking borax in solution every day for a fortnight (I did 16 days)
One eighth of a level teaspoon of borax to be taken everyday, dissolved in one litre of (warm) spring water – consumed over the day.
Measure one level teaspoon of borax – divide into quarters, then each again in half to give you eighths    Put each 1/8th in a twist of cling film or similar. Do this twice to give you 16 small packets.
Each day dissolve one small packet in a little warmed spring water, top up to 1 litre with cold and put in the fridge. Drink the whole amount over the day.
Do this everyday for at least 14 days (no more than 16)
Don’t forget the magnesium supplement!

LOW maintenance dose internal borax therapy.
When you have completed the full dose borax therapy, and it has helped the problem, then you need to follow it up by a life-time of a much lower dose of borax (maintenance dose) –  every day – forever – and the mandatory taking of a magnesium supplement always.

Maintenance Solution recipe:
1 rounded teaspoon of Borax dissolved in 1 litre of boiled water, kept in refrigerator.
1 – 2 teaspoons only of this maintenance solution taken everyday … forever. (I usually put it in another drink – eg, morning orange juice ) 

Vitamin D3:
I would really recommend taking Vitamin D3 – especially between October and May in the UK* – as that is the time the sun is too weak to make vit D via your skin. Why? Because Vitamin D3 is important to maintaining skin integrity – and if you are an LS sufferer you skin needs all the help it can get to repair and maintain itself.
*check the sun strength details for where-ever you live – I was surprised to see that even in California the sun wasn’t strong enough all year

LINKS to help you:
Borax: in the UK Under £6  a kilo – REIDS UK. They also do large quantities of Bicarbonate of soda.
In the USA & Canada – Buy 20 Mule Team Borax from your laundry aisle – make sure it doesn’t have perfume or any other additives.
Magnesium glycinate These are the best suppliers I’ve found in UK for magnesium glycinate (click here) Click into the bit marked ‘offers’ next to ‘description’ – you can often get 3 for price of 2 as well. (note Supermarkets usually sell magnesium oxide – this is NO good as is not really bio-available magnesium) 

The other big question I get asked is – Is it safe to take borax?
This because it is, in very large doses, a poison. But then – so is table salt! In fact the levels of table salt and the levels of borax needed to poison you are very similar. The doses in this therapy are very, very small as long as you follow the measurements and the quantities taken exactly. Do not think ‘double the dose will work twice as quickly’ – it won’t!
And, use common sense – if you experience odd symptoms – stop – or lower the dose for a while. Having said that – a couple of people have said the first week they had looser stools than usual – but that’s not too odd and it only lasted for the first week.
As with all chemicals – keep the borax safely, where children can’t get hold of it!

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an natural mineral and an important boron compound.
If you have a scientific leaning and want to know more about the active ingredient of Borax do read this [Nothing Boring about Boron] it is a proper scientific paper – but, I think, accessible if you’re into science, and is Fascinating! Do read.

That’s about it …
I still put borax and bicarb in a bath – but in a full bath now, not just for treatment. I use Borax and Bicarb to wash my hair (See this blog-post) and I take the borax maintenance dose, the magnesium and the vitamin D3. I also try to eat a healthy omnivorous diet high in vegetables, fermented foods (like home-made yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut), nuts and omega3 oils, but low in carbs, (especially low in gluten-bearing carbs for reasons see this blog-post here) and try to exercise regularly.
I don’t think that the LS-affected skin will ever be as robust as it was pre-LS (due to the thinning caused by LS and the steroid cream), and I did suffer some fusing that won’t ever undo, because it went on so long before I tried the borax – but at least the skin is no longer so fragile that it splits, not swollen, not blistered, not unbearably itchy, not still fusing more and not sore all the time. This is a blessing.

So – there’s my update.
Did I miss anything out that you want to know?
Do ask in the comments or by email (see below)
Is there anything you’d like to share?
Thank you – as ever – for reading
– best Ann

ps If you are reading this on email and would like to comment just click onto the title and it will take you to the actual blog – so you can comment there
If it is the first time you have written a comment don’t worry if it doesn’t appear immediately, your first comment has to be verified (to keep the spam-bots out) and I do this personally – so I am sure to see your comment – thanks for reading – Ann

Remember – reviews of books are a great way to say ‘thank you’ to an author if you like what they write,
  Thank You

If you wish to keep it private – about LS 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 you. 
NOTE: I am not a doctor – I speak only from my own experience – please do your own research too 🙂

Here are two facebook support groups that have reached out to me since this blog-post – both have members from all over and both provide great support – but the UK one probably helps more those in the UK and EU with questions about Borax and where to get it … and the US one probably has more members maybe more experience and support . I’ve now joined both.

UK LS facebook group
US LS facebook group

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24 thoughts on “LS Lichen Sclerosus and Borax – Update

  1. I have found the bath makes the area more sensitive. I have also found that Emu Oil is helpful. My LS at the moment isn’t what they call “active” but it is always there and irritable. I have Borax 5 days at 1/8 tsp per 1 ltr of spring water and 2 days off. It is the most distressing condition and can really wear you down.

    • Hi Kay,
      Interesting that the bathing makes it more sensitive for you – for most this seems to help. Maybe try using only borax – no bicarb? I see you are taking the high dose all the time – albeit with two days off. Have you tried going on to the maintenance dose at all? Emu Oil has been mentioned by a few people in the comments on the original blog. I suppose this help with keeping the skin moisturised too, so it does not rub.
      Oh and yes … very wearing … when every tenderness or irritation in the area makes you think it is going to flare up and bring the misery back – as we know whatever we find isn’t a cure – just a way to keep the symptoms at bay.
      Hope it stays ‘inactive’ for you
      Best Ann

  2. Ann, I read your original article about a year ago. The one about LS and borax. It changed my life. I had been suffering for 7 years with horrible LS symptoms. I had been given the steroid cream by my doctor and I used it for a little bit, but it made me worse and burned my vulva and gave me blisters. For 7 years I didn’t know what to do. I tried Vitamin E oil and tea tree oil, but it wasn’t really helping as much as I wanted. I finally stumbled across your article and the borax was AMAZING!! It completely healed up my symptoms. I also take the magnesium and Vitamin D and drink a borax solution like you suggested. The best advice I ever took. Thanks so much!!

    • Hi Allicia!!
      How good to hear from you! THIS, This is why I went public with my LS and what I had found worked … embarrassing or not – if another person doesn’t have to suffer then it was worth it!
      Thank you – and by commenting here you are helping to let others know too!
      Best wishes for a LS symptom-free future
      xx Ann

  3. Hi Allicia, Thank you for showing me how you are sharing information about LS … and borax.
    SO MANY ladies in your FB group! Plus me too now! 🙂
    I have made your FB page name into a live link – so that any ladies** who want to have the support of knowing that they are not alone in with this terrible condition, and help and advice, can just click to take them to your page.
    Best
    Ann
    **(Allicia’s is a page for female sufferers only – apparently there are other pages for male LS sufferers)

    • Hi Connie,
      If you are suffering from LS then I suggest you try a borax therapy . . I’ve laid out in the blog how it helped me, start with a bath. Alicia (in the comments) runs a support fb page, joining that that may help too.
      Hope it helps you as it did me.
      Best
      Ann

  4. Hi Ann
    Thanks for sharing and blogging about LS and borax. It all helps raise awareness and so many women (and men) are suffering with years of misdiagnosis. If any of your readers are in the UK or Europe and they want some ideas of what moisturisers, balms and soaks others have used and made, please do come and join my LS Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/LSNaturalHealingUK/
    There is a lot of collective experience in the group.

    • Hi Jacqueline,
      Yes, there certainly is a lot of collective experience on your LS facebook page – we are truly not alone with this! I have now joined – and put your group as a link at the end of this blog.
      thanks – best Ann

  5. Hi Ann
    I have made myself a borax bicarb coconut oil cream a few times but always find the borax and bicarb separate from the coconut oil which rises to the top. Also the mixture is always grainy with the borax and bicarb not completely dissolving. Would really appreciate any tips if you have had the same issues?

    • Hi Angie,
      I suspect that the coconut oil isn’t hot enough to start with. It needs to be quite hot to dissolve the borax (though there will be a little borax that remains as crystals) Then it is important to keep stirring the whole time that the coconut oil is cooling. When thickening add the drops of lavender oil – stirring well. Then pour into the pot to keep it in – and keep stirring until too thick to stir. If this is what you have been doing already then i am not sure why it is separating … if not – please see if this works. Do look at the two facebook groups I have just joined (links at the end of the LS update blog) – some of them have ideas for creams and lotions that work to ease the problem too.
      hope this helps
      best
      Ann

    • Hi Julie,
      If you look in the blog above, under Links to help you, the words ‘Reid’s and the price’ is a direct link to where I buy my borax, via eBay, in the UK.
      In the section higher up I say how much I used in a shallow bath – just deep enough to cover relevant areas (1tablespoon of borax, one of bicarbonate) I haven’t used a ‘sitz’ bath, the type you can put over a loo, but as the water quantity is so much less, I’d start with a heaped teaspoon of each. . .and increase it if there’s no irritation. You could also join one or both of the fb groups at the end of this blog post. Many of the ladies on that use the ‘sitz’ baths, all are sympathetic and between them there is a vast amount of information.
      Hope this helps,
      Best
      Ann

  6. Ann, Thank you so much for your information. I was recomemmended by my Pelvic floor Phycial Therapy to try the Borax treatment. I did a search and found your wonderful information. I am look forward to see the results of the treatment.
    Doreen

    • Hi Doreen,
      I am heartened that a health professional suggested looking at borax! I hope it works for you as it did for me. If you want to know that you are not alone in this do join the FB groups, linked at the end of my blog post, there you’ll find lots more support and ideas for ways of using borax to help healing and suppress symptoms.
      Wishing you all the best – Ann

  7. Hi, I am in Australia and very keen to try the Borax but can only find very cheap packets in the hardware gardening section, or cleaning section of the supermarket, it says they are made in China. I have googled and it appears Borax is mined in US, California and Turkey.. very expensive to get sent to Australia. Is all Borax the same? Would appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

    • HI Gillian,
      In essence all borax is the same when it comes out of the ground. All you have to be careful of is that it hasn’t had other stuff added as packaged. Does the borax you have found say Made in China – or packaged in China – I wonder? It ought to say it is 99% (or even 99.9% pure borax). I do not know Australia well enough to know where or what brand to buy – but I know where you can find out! Join the US facebook page – which has members from all over the world – including Australia.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/159110331571638/
      Link above at the end of the blog if this one doesn’t work, or copy and paste it.
      Allicia has asked people in that closed (private) FB group for recommendations of where to buy borax – and I’m sure some Australians have replied. It is in a long post under Announcements.
      If you do not ‘do’ facebook (as so many choose not to) sign up just for this – you can use a nickname – you can ignore all their pleas to link up with people you might know – and just use it to join this group and find the great support in this condition.
      Hope this helps
      Best
      Ann

  8. omg! thank you sooo much, just had my first bath with the mixture, already feeling better. i thought i was going crazy. i was seen 3 times in urgent care, once by derm, and twice by gyn, who finally took a biopsy. my question is, Do you have to spread the orol dose over the day, or can i drink it all at once, or maybe half in morn, half in eve?

    • Hi Liz,
      So glad you found the borax bath good!! Sounds like you’ve been through the wars with this!
      It is recommended to space the litre out over the day. I would say at least into 4, breakfast, lunch, tea and supper time perhaps? Maybe you could drink some at elevenses, afternoon tea or coffee too – making it into 6? I found it was easier to take it when I was eating or drinking something else – like a reminder. Also, some people say they can taste it * … and if this is you, then the ‘other thing’ you are eating or drinking will take any taste away. *I didn’t particularly notice it myself. !And don’t forget to take magnesium too!
      Hope it works for you as well as it did for me. Do keep in touch 🙂
      Best
      Ann

  9. Hi Ann,
    Thank you so much for your very candid and helpful blog. My Borax arrived yesterday and today I am starting the Borax experiment…. hope it works as the itching is driving me to insanity!!!!
    Also, I was a little anxious about the oral solution, mainly because I can’t be sure of the quality of the Borax that we can by via the internet and when I started researching the Magnesium vitamin supplements, I came across a vitamin that includes Magnesium, Boron (Borax), Vitamin D, Zinc and others, all in a chewable tablet… this is readily available and at a very reasonable price of £5.60. I have just purchased it from Boots . Early days, I have no idea if it will work, but just wanted to share. The tablets are from Vitabiotics, Osteocare Chewable.
    Once again, thank you for your posts.
    Hellen

    • Hi Helen,
      Interesting, do let me know how you get on. Is the ingredient listed as boron or as borax (there are different chemical formulations on of the same mineral, but there is a difference in action)
      As for the quality of the borax. ..
      Where did you get you borax from on the internet? What does feel like to touch and what does it say on the label?
      Looking forward to hearing from you
      X
      Ann

  10. Hello! Thank you for your original post on LS and for this follow-up. I have a question-do you use actual Borax and not medical grade borate? Dies it matter?

    • Hi May,
      From what I have read, borax as mined is 99% pure sodium tetraborate, the 1% being harmless minerals, and this is what I use. By all means if you feel happier buying medical grade do so, but I would still use standard 20mule team in a bath.
      Hope this helps
      Best Ann

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