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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…

Chronic Itching? It’s Usually More Than Skin Deep

By |2022-04-21T16:00:24-04:00April 21st, 2022|Categories: Skin Conditions|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

If you are suffering chronic itching — a common but difficult-to-treat symptom of an inflammatory skin condition — then you’ll want to read about my experience with diagnosing and treating Lexi.

Chronic Itching

Lexi is a 25-year-old woman who came to see me about a skin condition that was causing persistent itching. She was suffering with cellulitis on her face and eczema on her hands. (Cellulitis a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. With cellulitis, the affected skin appears swollen, red, and is typically warm to the touch and painful.) In Lexi’s case, she had been previously treated by another doctor with several rounds of topical steroids, oral steroids, and antibiotics.

She told me that, at first, the infections and skin cleared. But after a few short weeks, all of her symptoms reappeared. She said the skin on her hands was itchy, and the cellulitis on the side of her face was causing her to feel depressed and self-conscious.

The astonishing thing to me, was that her dermatologist continued to write prescriptions without actively seeking out the cause — the root cause. Lexi was never questioned about her environment at home or work or her stress levels, and her diet was only briefly discussed. And perhaps most shocking of all — no lab tests were ever ordered.

If this sounds familiar, you might be relieved to find out that skin conditions like Lexi’s — while often more than skin deep — can be effectively treated. In fact, you can start experiencing relief in a matter of days and be on your way with a treatment plan aimed at curing you in a matter of weeks.

Common Skin Conditions

Before we investigate the causes and cures for itchy skin conditions, let’s take a look at the most common diagnoses: Continue reading…