The purpose of treatment is three-fold:
- Stop the itch, manage the pain (use of steroids and other medications)
- Heal the tissue damage (use of topical estrogen)
- Strengthen the skin (use of topical testosterone)
My personal experience, as well as that of thousands of LS sufferers on the LS yahoo group - testify to the fact that many doctors are not familiar enough with the disease to be able to readily recognize and diagnose Lichen Sclerosus. Therefore, most sufferers see several doctors, and even go years before receiving a proper diagnosis.
Until recently, very few doctors have been knowledgeable and experienced in treating LS. The standard protocol now is use of a potent steroid such as clobetasol. However, there are various ideas about how much, how often, and for how long. Using too much or too often, potent steroids can cause thinning of the skin and rebound effects when tapering off. Some patients cannot tolerate clobetasol, so there are other medications available.
Also, most doctors are not aware of the benefits of the use of topical hormones in rebuilding the damaged tissue. The steroids only help with the pain, itch and inflammation, and calm the disease down - they do not repair the damaged skin. But we've found that proper use of topical estrogen and testosterone, in many patients can help to restore color, texture, elasticity and even repair structural damage, as well as help unfuse fused tissue.
One purpose of this website is to educate both doctors and patients about the benefits of various treatments, including topical hormones in treating LS, and the methods we have found that work. We might note here that this protocol is not just anecdotal - there are many studies to back up the use of topical hormones in addition to steroid treatment.
NOTE: An important reminder here: This is a serious medical condition that MUST be diagnosed and treated and monitored by a knowledgeable physician. Do NOT try to self-diagnose or self-treat.
For relief from symptoms, please see the Temporary Relief section. But, still see a doctor for proper medical treatment. If you can't find a good doctor that's knowledgeable about this treatment protocol - we have a database of doctors recommended by our Yahoo group members. Please join ourYahoo group for the referrals.