Lichen Sclerosus Diet

A skin disease that causes a painful and inflammatory condition on the skin, Lichen Sclerosus is a chronic illness for which there is no currently known cure. There are diets available that may directly influence the state of this condition.

What is Lichen Sclerosus?

Lichen Sclerosus is incurable, chronic and can often cause tearing, itching and otherwise painful areas on the body. Typical areas that Lichen Sclerosus can appear in includes around the anal area, the vulva and on the foreskin of the penis.

This condition most frequently occurs in women who are postmenopausal, though this disease can also occur in men. Despite this, Lichen Sclerosus is listed alongside other vaginal disorders in a category known as vulvodynia.

Though there is no complete and final evidence that diet can directly affect and improve the condition of Lichen Sclerosus, there is research to suggest this may be the case. As there is no cure for the condition and research suggesting a Lichen Sclerosus diet is positive, it is a healthy and positive method to help manage the condition.

The Lichen Sclerosus diet is also known as a low-oxalate diet, and some doctors or dieticians will recommend this diet as an effective way to manage the condition. Often, Lichen Sclerosus is seen in patients with other conditions like autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, up to 30 percent. In this case, a diet more suited to those with autoimmune conditions may be recommended.

What is the Lichen Sclerosus Diet?

The Lichen Sclerosus diet is a low-oxalate diet. The benefits of this condition are still being researched, with no current conclusive findings. A variety of different foods across all food groups may be high-oxalate, including almonds, rhubarb, potatoes and many types of boxed cereals.

In particular, low-oxalate diets may be effective for women with Lichen Sclerosus. A dietician or doctor will be able to advise you on the best possible method of diet and way to manage your condition.

Recommended foods on the Lichen Sclerosus Diet

Foods that are recommended on the Lichen Sclerosus diet are those that are both healthy for day to day improvements, and low-oxalate to improve the reactions to certain symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus. The following foods are recommended on the Lichen Sclerosus diet:

  • Poultry type meats such as chicken or turkey
  • Fish such as cod, salmon and tuna
  • Beef in any form, including mince, burgers and steaks
  • Dairy-based products including cheeses, milk from cows, sheep and goats
  • Avocados
  • Grapes of all types
  • Melon of all types
  • Apples of all types
  • Peaches
  • Broccoli
  • Plums
  • White chocolate
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • All kinds of oils, including vegetable and olive oil
  • Green peas
  • Seasonings and herbs, including white pepper, salt, basil and cilantro
  • Most forms of alcohol including beers and light beers
  • Coffee and coffee-based drinks
  • Weak green tea that has been lightly steeped

Depending on the choices and opinions of your particular dietician or doctor, the food recommended to you may vary. This may be due to personal allergies or health issues, or even other illnesses or conditions. It may be possible that a mixed diet could be the best option for an individual’s health and lifestyle.

Often, this diet is combined with healthy living such as a reduction in smoking, drinking or drugs and an increase in exercising, in addition to the use of certain medications or treatments.

Foods to avoid on the Lichen Sclerosus Diet

In addition to foods that are actively recommended on a low-oxalate Lichen Sclerosus diet, there will be certain foods that will not be recommended during the time the diet is in effect.

This includes a variety of different high-oxalate foods and drinks, which some research has shown can increase symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus, and result in a Lichen Sclerosus diet potentially being far less effective.

Below are some of the foods a dietician or doctor may recommend you stop consuming during the time you are prescribed or using a Lichen Sclerosus diet:

  • Spinach in both cooked and raw forms
  • Most types of boxed or commercial cereal brands
  • Pineapple in canned form
  • Any fruit that is dried
  • Rice bran based products
  • Rhubarb
  • Cereals such as bran flakes that are high fibre
  • Brown rice flour, or products made from this
  • Soy flour, or products made from this
  • Almonds and similar nuts
  • Buckwheat Groats
  • Beets
  • All forms of potato, including:
    • Baked
    • French fries
    • Potato chips
    • Roasted potato
    • Mashed potato
  • Turnips, or products that use turnips
  • Hot chocolate or any form of cocoa powder, on its own or in other products
  • Nut-based products and items, including peanut butter

Health and diet guidelines for the Lichen Sclerosus Diet

The chemical oxalate is considered a byproduct of the metabolic system in a person’s body. It’s found in many plants and products and is also produced by the body. Research shows that high-oxalate foods result in inflammation, and pass from the body through both urine and stool.

By reducing the level of oxalate that is in a person’s body, inflammation can be reduced in a variety of different areas including the anal or vulva region. Research suggests in some cases that a low-oxalate diet helps to promote less inflammation in the body.

Dieticians often combine the Lichen Sclerosus diet with a supplement of calcium citrate, to further reduce the absorption of oxalate into the body, resulting in less inflammation.

Though it is not known if Lichen Sclerosus causes this inflammation to reduce in the long term, or if it is an effective form of control or management for this condition, research suggests that this diet may work as a part of a treatment routine for the Lichen Sclerosus skin disease.

A dietician or doctor will be able to provide aids and information to make sticking to a long-term diet an easier transition, and more consistent to follow.

The following tips may help an individual to consistently keep to a Lichen Sclerosus diet:

  • Ensuring a day to day knowledge of which foods are high- and low-oxalate
  • Choosing a calcium-rich diet or taking appropriate supplements
  • Keeping an accurate daily food journal either on paper or through a diet app
  • Increasing healthy activities and behaviors, such as exercising and drinking water regularly
  • Plan ahead before eating out for an understanding of foods that you can have or cannot
  • Researching and exploring low-oxalate recipes and food plans