Here one brave young woman, Pip Lucus, 29, a teacher from London, discusses the taboo skin condition Lichen Sclerosis, which is labia psoriasis.
There are two types of Lichen Sclerosis. One starts in childhood, often goes before puberty and is then triggered in late teens by puberty.
The other type occurs later in life and is triggered by the menopause.
Both types are genetic.
Pip has the type that starts in childhood.
“I first developed labia psoriasis when I was just four years old, it went away by the time I was seven and then came back when I was 16.
When I was a little girl they didn’t know what it was. My mum was told by my doctor it was thrush. I had to use pessaries as a very young girl which were anti fungal and were very painful to insert and did not make me better.
I was only able to start using tampons at 23 as I had such negative associations after my dreadful childhood experiences.[quote]It went away through my early teens but then it came back when I was 16. By the time I was 19 it had got really bad. I was unable to have sex without a great deal of pain as my vagina was gradually getting smaller and smaller due to the build up of skin plaques on my labia.[/quote]
Luckily my boyfriend at the time was a medical student and so he understood. It was really hard to have sex and very painful.
I got to the stage where by I didn’t even want to socialise as I felt so depressed about myself and I was also in quite a lot of pain. I kept going back to the doctor and they kept telling me that it was thrush.
I was finally diagnosed at 20 by a gynaecologist. At first she thought I had vaginal warts, which is a sexually transmitted disease. She had actually gone to get the apparatus to burn them off and then she had second thoughts. She re-examined me, did some research and then diagnosed me with Lichen Sclerosis, which is psoriasis that only affects of labia.
I was then transferred to a specialist gynaecologist in a specialised women’s unit in Saint Michael’s Hospital inBristol. I saw both a specialist gynaecologist and a dermatologist as it’s a duel condition.[quote] My vagina continued to grow smaller and smaller until it was almost closed.[/quote]
I was given special steroid cream that I was able to use on the labia area. The specialist told me that I had to be really careful as he warned me that the steroids could thin my skin and on the labia the skin is already very thin. The steroids helped a lot but I was really worried what long term or permanent damage the steroids were doing to my vagina.
I used steroids to control the psoriasis until I was 23. However my cousin who has really bad psoriasis on her skin todl me that she has been using a product called Oregon Grape Root on her skin and that it has drastically improved her psoriasis and was working better than her steroids.
I went straight to the website she gave me and discovered that they also did a body wash containing the same ingredient which was suitable for use in the vaginal area. I ordered some immediately and within four days I could already begin to notice the difference. With a few months of using the Oregon Grape Root wash on my labia psoriasis, my symptoms had improved by about 85% .
I was beyond delighted. At last I had found something that worked and that was safe to use. I now don’t have to use steroids and my condition is significantly improved. I am able to have sex now without pain and my confidence and happiness have soared.
My mother developed the same condition when she began her menopause recently and so it became clear to me then why I had the condition, it is genetic. We both now use the Oregon Grape Root BodyWashand it’s changed both out lives. The condition will never go away completely but with the Oregon GrapeRootWash, it stays under control and means I can live a pretty normal life of a 29-year old woman, which for me is a miracle because until now I have felt anything but normal.”