Debilitating, life altering, painful, unbearable. These are all words used to describe their symptoms from those who suffer from Lichen Sclerosus. 8 and a half years ago Dr. Newman found that the Stem Cell Lift could treat Lichen Sclerosus to help provide relief, hope and restoring normality to these patients’ lives.
Lichen Sclerosus (LS) is an autoimmune disease that is commonly misdiagnosed. Dr. Newman has been treating LS since 2011 and has seen over 200 patients. Treating LS with the Stem Cell Lift procedure has shown promising and positive results. Based on our current data, the average improvement after 1 treatment is 60%.
Dr. Newman’s team manages a Facebook group for women with Lichen Sclerosus. The group consists of women with Lichen Sclerosus and can be joined via an invite from one of the staff members. It is a ‘secret’ group by Facebook standards and is a great resource that offers ample support for anyone who suffers from Lichen Sclerosus. If you would like to join please call or e-mail Dr. Newman’s office, firstname.lastname@example.org, 310-273-3344.
Although the exact cause is unknown, Lichen Sclerosus (LS) is a disease of multi-factorial etiology. Associated factors include genetic predisposition, epigenetic factors, autoimmune diseases, hormonal influences, infectious triggers, and a stressed immune system. Lichen Sclerosus may be more common in some families and can often be triggered by trauma, hormonal changes, infection, and surgery. Patients with Lichen Sclerosus have a higher risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, which develop when the immune system attacks and injures its own body’s tissues. Associated autoimmune disorders may include thyroid disease, anemia, diabetes, alopecia areata, and vitiligo.
Signs and Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen Sclerosus is a chronic disease that has a spectrum of symptoms, from asymptomatic to mild to severely progressive. Most of the symptoms are from inflammation of the affected areas that may include the clitoris, vulva, vaginal opening, perineum and anal area. Symptoms may include fusing, erosion, itching, fissures, burning, pain with intercourse, pain with urinating and bowel movements. Sitting for extended periods of time, wearing jeans, and exercising all may be very uncomfortable or is not able to be done. Early in the disease, small white shiny and smooth spots appear on the skin in the genital and anal areas. Many patients may not initially notice the disease, as they may not have any symptoms. As the disease progresses, the spots grow into bigger patches and the skin becomes thin and crinkled. Bright red or purple bruises and patchy white and dark skin color changes are common. The skin becomes very fragile, tearing easily with the slightest friction. Eventually, chronic inflammation results in scarring of the tissues.
Excluding Other Conditions
Tests may be done to exclude other conditions that could cause symptoms similar to those of Lichen Sclerosus, such as:
- Lichen planus (a skin disease that can also cause itching and burning of the genital skin. Lichen planus can occur together with Lichen Sclerosus)
- Low estrogen level (can cause vaginal dryness, thinning of tissues and painful intercourse.)
- Vitiligo (an autoimmune skin disorder that can cause white skin patches similar to those of lichen sclerosus. Vitiligo can occur together with Lichen Sclerosus.)
- Pemphigoid (a rare blistering skin disorder that also causes scarring of the vulva.)
- Hemorrhoids (which can also cause irritation in the skin of the anus)
Problems with Conventional Treatment Options
To date, there has been no effective treatment for Lichen Sclerosus. Most treatments use anti-inflammatory steroids such as clobetasol or hormones to reduce the symptomatic itching, burning and inflammation. However, these drugs are not addressing the disease but merely reducing the symptoms and over time are associated with side effects such as thinning of the skin. The long-term use of steroids can cause dependence of the skin on the steroid and when it is discontinued abruptly it can result in a rebound flare. This becomes a vicious cycle of steroid dependence as “the flare” from steroid “withdrawal” is difficult to differentiate from that of Lichen Sclerosus. When this happens, the tissues need to be weaned off the steroids gradually to prevent the rebound “flare” reaction. Lasers and focused ultrasound treatments also have been used with little success to address the symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus but these treatments may result in reduce blood flow and cause scarring of the tissues.
Lichen Sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition that over time causes scar-like fibrotic changes in the skin and mucus membrane. These changes result in individual physical symptoms that are seen and felt by each person. Over time the chronic inflammation causes poor blood circulation, loss of elasticity, and nerve sensory hypersensitivity. The Stem Cell Lift® method delivers an enhanced amount of the stem cells found in your fat to the affected areas. These cells are tasked with reducing inflammation, improving circulation, repairing the collagen scaffolding, restoring elasticity, and repairing damaged cells and tissues. The autoimmune response may also be mitigated through the effects of the stem cells. In the first three months after the procedure the stem cells attach and become incorporated into their new surroundings. They may continue to improve the tissues for about one year after the procedure. In doing so, patients report marked improvement in their symptoms, with noted reduction in pain, burning, itching, and improved look and feel of the anatomy of the treated areas. Patients treated with the Stem Cell Lift® procedure report having less frequent flare ups that are shorter in duration with far less intense pain and discomfort. Most patients can discontinue the use of topical steroids and hormones and may be able to resume intimacy and sexual intercourse. You may need to have a series of treatments (usually 2-3) to achieve the desired improvement and relief from Lichen Sclerosus symptoms. As this is a new treatment, long-term results in terms of duration of benefits are not yet known. To date, all patients have had significant improvement with the Stem Cell Lift®.