(813) 867-0608 • Contact • Schedule an Appointment

(813) 867-0608 • Contact • Schedule an Appointment

Personalized Treatment for Lichen Sclerosus: A Case Study — Part Two

By |2024-05-31T20:10:59-04:00May 31st, 2024|Categories: Lichen Sclerosus|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Last week on our blog, one of our patients shared her experience with Lichen Sclerosus and how we have been helping her on her journey to recovery (see “Recovering from Lichen: A Case Study — Part One”).

Janet reported that her symptoms had started 10 years before she visited our Tampa functional medicine clinic, and she was diagnosed three years prior to consulting us. In all that time — despite consulting several doctors — the recommended treatments provided little to no relief.

As part of her intake here at PROVOKE Health, she reported a possible past exposure to mold, so we ordered a mold toxin antibody test, which confirmed the exposure. The positive result led us to understand that mold was aggravating her immune system causing dysregulation and contributing to hormonal imbalances. It’s likely that the problem of Lichen Sclerosus was not solely due to the mold exposure; however, we know it was a contributing factor.

Lichen Sclerosus photograph

Although Janet reported symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus dating back a decade, upon further discussion, we came to find out that she had suffered from itching for nearly 18 years. This led us to an understanding that mast cells were involved. When mast cells are activated, they secrete histamine along with other inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.

We tested for mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). She did not test positive for MCAS, but it is a complex illness. Most conditions in conventional medicine are either positive or negative. However, we suspect that MCAS may exist more on a spectrum. Janet could have been experiencing symptoms of MCAS without reaching the threshold of testing positive for it. We find this quite common in our patient population.

This is the nuance of functional medicine. A willingness and readiness to practice in areas that require flexibility and open-mindedness. The question we faced was determining what was continually aggravating those mast cells? In Janet’s case, mold was a contributing factor. For others, it can be a food sensitivity or allergy, another environmental allergy, stress levels, infections, physical exertion, or even a commonly prescribed medication (antibiotic or steroid).

Calming the Mast Cells

Because mast cell reactivity was playing a key role in producing symptoms, we had to calm those cells — make them less reactive. This was a two-step process: Continue reading…

The Unintended Side Effects of Birth Control: A Doctor’s Case Study

By |2021-03-17T19:44:11-04:00March 17th, 2021|Categories: Hormones|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

If you’ve been taking birth control and feel bloated after eating, or have gained weight that is difficult to drop, or have been set back by sports-related injuries that happened years ago, perhaps this case study on the unintended consequences of birth control on women’s health is for you.

Meet Stephanie — a 24-year-old professional who came to see me with a concern about her digestion. Well, it turned out to be more than that, and as you’ll see, very much related to her use of birth control pills.

Stephanie’s most pressing concern was related to her constant bloating after eating, along with constipation. During her initial consultation, she also told me that while playing sports in high school she suffered a terrible ankle injury that required surgery and months of bed rest. During this time, this 5-foot, 4-inch young woman went from weighing 120 pounds to 183 pounds.

Stephanie’s pediatrician recommended a gluten-free diet to assist her with digestion problems and weight loss. As a result of following her initial doctor’s advice, she did manage to lose a little more than 20 pounds, but still wasn’t comfortable at 162 pounds.

So far, Stephanie’s scenario seemed pretty straightforward to me. This young woman, concerned about her weight, had experienced a setback due to a sports injury a decade earlier as a teenager. Since then, exercise and diet haven’t helped her lose weight, and now she’s stuck at 162 pounds.

More to the Story

One important lesson I’ve learned over the course of my 20-plus years in practice is that there’s usually more to the story leading up to a patient’s primary symptoms, and this was certainly the case with Stephanie. As we explored her medical history, including the information she provided on the functional medicine analysis form she completed prior to her initial consultation, I discovered some interesting and enlightening details: Continue reading…