I learned yesterday that I have (probably) developed an autoimmune (?) condition called Lichen Sclerosis (LS). Actually, annoyingly, it’s spelled “Sclerosus” which just looks wrong to me, so I’m spelling it the way half the internet does instead – “Sclerosis”. Anyway, I went to the gynecologist for a typical well-woman visit, and come out with something new to
worry learn about.
It’s a disorder that affects the skin of the genital area, causing pain and itching, and which can lead to psoriasis-like scaly patches and thinning skin. Now, I don’t like talking about TMI on here – it just makes me feel weird – and this comes close. So I’m not going to. I will, however, complain about the price of the medication (steroid cream) to treat it. $300! My insurance is refusing to pay for it…so hopefully the doc will authorize a generic substitute. I checked my insurance formulary and even the generic is outrageous, but is likely to cost me $50. Doc says the LS is not something that will go away, and that I’ll be “managing” it the rest of my life.
So the first thing I do, of course, is find a Facebook group where I can get the REAL scoop on this from the experts – the people who actually have this problem. Currently it’s not causing me any pain – just itching. (I thought it was caused by histamine. Nope.) Looks like a lot of women are treating this with borax baths and cannabidiol oil (CBD). It also appears to be at least somewhat correlated with other autoimmune conditions like hashimotos, which makes sense….once you have one you tend to collect more. The interweb says that they’re not sure what causes LS, but because of this association with other AI conditions it’s assumed to be AI also.
So …what causes AI conditions? Overactive immune system.
And what causes an overactive immune system? A chronic infection.
Again, it all goes back to the gut…at least for me.
I feel like the inflammation from my gut is much better controlled now – my mood has been awesome or close to it for several months now, regardless of what I eat. If I was a religious person I would say I’m blessed. I do feel fortunate. Still, the chronic inflammation from a nasty gut critter – for years – may have set the stage for autoimmunity.
A note about Culturelle Probiotics – and probably other probiotics, for that matter. A few weeks ago I ordered several boxes from Amazon. A few days into one of those boxes my mood started shifting back to being irritable and depressed. This lasted 3 days – unheard of at this point for me. At first I didn’t know why that was happening, and then I realized I had just opened a new box of Amazon-sourced probiotics. I immediately switched to a box I had purchased locally at Walgreens, and my mood returned to awesome within a day. This makes me think that maybe Amazon isn’t the best place to buy this or any probiotic supplement. It would make sense that since we’re dealing with bacteria, freshness might be an issue…and really, we have no idea how long a supplement sits on a pallet at Amazon or in what temperature or conditions. So a few days ago I changed all of the links on this blog for Culturelle so that they no longer direct to Amazon – now they direct to Vitacost. Vitacost runs out of them now and then so I don’t think they keep a massive stock on hand.
So I learned a few things here. Don’t get probiotics from Amazon…and also, I’m not cured. Whatever is going on in my gut is being managed…but it’s not gone.