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.
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 day – take 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 )
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. 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,
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