Better, stronger, faster than before.

First off, the specialist did not help me assess the damage from the assault. I was disappointed. However, she did have a very credible theory for what could be causing my pain and took a biopsy to confirm. The biopsy was freaking painful and caused a lot of bleeding (they cut off a small piece of flesh to look at under the microscope) but can be used to confirm the diagnosis.

The diagnosis she’s testing with the biopsy is vulvar lichen planus. It’s an inflammatory condition of the skin, that women sometimes get on the vulva. I have most of the symptoms and the doctor thought there was a good chance that’s what it is. Basically it makes your vulva and vagina look and feel like you’ve had a bad sunburn. I looked up some pictures to add to this post, but I don’t want to inflict them on you. They’re not pretty.

If so, it’s only indirectly caused by the assaults. According to the American Skin Association “Sometimes this disease affects the areas of skin where you had a trauma, such as a superficial scratch, cut, or burn.” So the reason I have it on my vulva is likely to be because my vulva was injured.

It is not caused by an infection, aging or menopause, diet, hygiene practices or sexual activity.” and it is not sexually transmitted.

The gyne wasn’t keen to remove the flesh tag from my vagina, she thought it might cause more scarring. I’m willing to wait to assess that till the lichen planus (if that’s what it is) gets under control. If there are any other women out there who have kept or removed flesh tags from the vaginal opening and want to weigh in on whether it was a good thing, I’d love to hear your comments.

Lichen planus is thought to be an autoimmune disease, but they’re not positive about that. It does run in families a bit too.

One source said that because it’s autoimmune, avoiding allergy triggers or taking antihistamines could help. However, primarily it’s treated with steroid creams, or if that doesn’t work, oral steroids.

She couldn’t prescribe the cream now, because the hole from the biopsy has to heal first, which will take about a week. I can’t get another appointment to see her for a month, so that’s how long it will take.

In the meanwhile I’m going to (sigh!) try and eliminate dairy and gluten, both of whom I have mild allergic responses to, in the hopes that will help calm my immune system down. There are lots of things that are helpful for calming down autoimmune issues too, so I’ll look into those and try them out.

All in all, it’s hopeful. I may be able to have sex without pain and itching afterward. That’d be pretty awesome.

Here’s a video a woman made with art and commentary about a similar condition, called Lichen Schlerosis. The art and sentiments are pretty much the same though. Her drawing of a sore vulva inside an eye is the featured image for this post.

0 thoughts on “Better, stronger, faster than before.”

  1. Pingback: Vulva – Healing the Physical Effects of Childhood Sexual Assault – Physical Self Care | May We Dance Upon Their Graves

  2. Pingback: What I learned about health care and sexual abuse survivors | May We Dance Upon Their Graves

  3. I’ve had a flesh tag appear after tearing from giving birth the first time. When I gave birth the second time, I asked it cut. I’m not aware of having any scars of either the tearings (3 natural births of 9-pounders) or the flesh tag removal. For all I know, I’ve stopped having pain from the flesh tag during sex.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. It’s good to hear other women’s experience with this. I’m not currently having pain from the flesh tag, so maybe it’s only happening when the other thing (which I find out tomorrow whether it is planus lichen or not) is flared up. If I can get that settled down, the flesh tag might not be an issue.

  4. How very brave of you. I hope that you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Good for you for being willing to alter your diet and to do other things to to mitigate some of the immune issues. Good and healing thoughts to you and to your vulva.


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