015: Alternative Remedies For Lichen Sclerosus w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

Many people suffer from Lichen Sclerosus, a chronic skin condition that usually affects prepubescent girls or postmenopausal women. However, because it affects the genitals, talking about it can be uncomfortable and many women suffer in silence. 


Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

Today I'll be talking to my good friend, Dr. Anna Cabeca. She is an Emory-trained Obstetrician and Gynecologist, a menopause and sexual health expert, and international speaker and educator. Anna is also a truly wonderful person, and I feel very grateful to have known her for the last few years.

Dr. Anna has created top-selling products like Julva® (an anti-aging feminine cream for women), Mighty Maca® Plus (a superfood hormone-balancing health drink), as well as online programs such as Magic Menopause, Sexual CPR, and Women's Restorative Health Bootcamp.

PLUS she's got a new book coming out called The Hormone Fix!

In this episode, we cover the often awkward topic of Lichen Sclerosus, as well as conventional and alternative treatment options for the skin condition. 

Have you used Julva® for feminine health issues? Let us know in the comments!


In this episode

  • What is Lichen Sclerosus?
  • Who is typically affected by Lichen Sclerosus?
  • Treatments for this skin condition
  • Is there a connection between gut dysbiosis and Lichen Sclerosus?
  • What is Julva and how can it help with vaginal health?



“Just sitting down, riding a bike, jogging—all of those things are affected by Lichen Sclerosus. It just affects our quality of life. It hurts, it's irritated, and that's why I really am so passionate about getting natural solutions to women as much as possible.” [3:57]

“If we haven't addressed the underlying cause, it can come back. Treating for anti-fungal, gluten-sensitivity, food sensitivities, all the way through—that is essential to healing from Lichen Sclerosus.” [4:55]

“I always say the vagina is an extension of the GI tract in a way.” [5:50]

“Hair gets better, skin gets better, moisture gets better, cravings get gone…all of those things get better when we get rid of candida.” [13:58]



How Steroid Creams Can Make Skin Rashes Worse

Follow Dr. Anna Cabeca on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and check out her blog, DrAnnaCabeca.com

Get Dr. Anna's new book “The Hormone Fix” HERE

Interested in trying Julva? CLICK HERE to purchase some!


“If we haven’t addressed the underlying cause, it can come back. Treating for anti-fungal, gluten-sensitivity, food sensitivities, all the way through—that is essential to healing from Lichen Sclerosus.”

015: Alternative Remedies For Lichen Sclerosus w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:              Hi everyone. Welcome back to the Healthy Skin Show . Today I have a good friend of mine who I think this, I think she's going to enlighten you in some areas that I think sometimes people, especially women because this is a women's specific issue, although guys, if you're listening, you may know a woman in your life that has this issue and so, so please stay tuned and keep listening. Dr Anna Cabeca. She's a good friend of mine as I said, and she's an Emory university trained gynecologist and obstetrician, a menopause and sexual health expert and international speaker and educator and I also want to add to that she has an amazing heart. She is actually a really, really good, wonderful positive person and I feel very grateful to have known her for the past couple of years. She created a top selling product. I'm actually a bunch of them. One specifically is julva, which is an anti aging feminine cream for women, Mighty Maca Plus a superfood hormone balancing health drink as well as online programs such as Magic Menopause, Women's Restorative Health and Sexual CPR. You can find her over at drannacabeca.com and she's all over social media as well. Dr Anna, thank you so much for being here.

Dr Cabeca:          Oh, thank you for having me. I'm glad to have this opportunity to bring this issue to light and hopefully some, some resolution.

Jennifer:              I know. So what we are going to talk about today is something called lichen sclerosus. So first for those who don't know what this is or might have it and don't like, they're not even sure what to even ask about it or say, Oh, that's what I have. What is lichen sclerosus?

Dr Cabeca:          Lichen sclerosus is, you know, a condition of the vulvar tissues. So our, you know, it affects our lady parts. It can affect other areas of the body, but specifically when we're talking about it here, it's affecting our lady parts. And this is when the skin gets thin, almost like a, a cigarette paper, parchment type up appearance. I've thinning a drying and it can be irritated. It hurts. Itching, tearing are some of the conditions that come with it. It's really been a struggle in gynecologic practices to, to treat this. And currently it, you know, it's a struggle for so many women and this condition seems to be increasing. So in in, in actually affects either pre pubertal girls or postmenopausal women the most. So it has this bi-modal distribution.

Jennifer:              Oh that's really interesting. So you could be in either category but so it tends, so women who are more in that sort of healthy menstrual, while you should be in a more healthy menstrual menstruating I don't even know what you can, is your pattern that you may be less likely to have this. But I, my experience has been in working with clients that are more toward the menopausal end and that was, you know, I've had clients that come to me and, and I want to share this because I think it's important they'll, they'll talk about how they have these skin rash issues and they'll go like, almost like it's a little bit embarrassing. They'll be like, Oh, and by the way, they get kind of like quiet about it. By the way. I have this thing called lichen sclerosus. I don't know what if you know what that is, but It's kind of a problem and I don't know what to do. Like I've tried all sorts of steroid creams and all sorts of suggestions and like literally nothing helps and it's getting worse. And so if there's anything you can do that would be great too.

Dr Cabeca:          Yeah. Yeah. And it is so much like one of those like shame, like I don't know what's wrong with, you know, it's, something's wrong with my body. It's something wrong with that part of my body. And you know, I don't even want to bring it up, but my gosh, it can totally affect the quality of our lives from relationships and intimacy, just sitting down, riding a bike, jogging. All of those things are affected by lichen sclerosus. It just affects your quality of life. It hurts, it's irritated. And that's why I really am so passionate about getting natural solutions to women as much as possible. As a gynecologist, Jen, you know, one thing that we know to treat lichen sclerosus with, it's temporary. There is no cure, we're told right and always say, well, you know, something caused it. We fix the cause, we can cure it.

Dr Cabeca:          Right? So steroid cream, cortisone creams, clobetasol can be used as well. And there's been some studies looking at testosterone with it. It may may not alleviate it. So prescription testosterone and so those were some things that we can do. And as a gynecologist sometimes just repair, putting good tissue back to good tissue can help. But still, if we haven't addressed the underlying cause it can come back. And the other thing is treating for antifungal, gluten sensitivity, food sensitivities all the way through that is essential. Essential to healing from lichen sclerosus.

Jennifer:              Well Dr Anna I actually now that you kind of bring that up and we're veering into, you know, some of the more alternative options, which I was surprised. I mean, of the clients that I've worked with who've had this, they all had overgrowth of candida in their gut. So I, I have found, I can't say that I have any data to support it personally, but my clinical experience is that there is a gut dysbiosis of the microbiome internally is, is essentially off balance. Do you think that there's a connection like just from your experience of, of some thing that's similar?

Dr Cabeca:          100%, a hundred percent. I always say like the vagina is an extension of the GI track in a way, right? We have to think the mucus membranes inside our mouth, inside the vagina. You knew are very congruent with that intestinal lining. And again, our vagina is, is needs to be with abundant healthy bacteria. Well, yeast overgrow, you know, dysbiosis in the gut, dysbiosis in the vagina, all of those things. And then as we get older and we lose those natural secretion, the protective bacteria, that's probably one of the other reasons. And candida can tend to remain dormant for a long time, can tend to be one of the inciting reasons for lichen sclerosus. But it is, you know, according to our test, but textbooks, it is a mystery. But where I've seen improvement is by healing the GI track a hundred percent.

Jennifer:              Mm. And you know what the, this is another interesting thing. And so I, I want to mention this too. And you know, again, I don't have any clinical data, it's just been or research, so to speak, but it's just been my clinical experience working with these clients. So, you know, out of desperation they're like, is there anything that I can do cause it's so dry and like the skin looks marbled and there and I'm like, well I'm not a doctor. I don't know. And I, and I was thinking about this and one suggestion that I came up with and saying, look, I really don't know if this is going to help. I'm going to be entirely upfront with you, but it might. So, you know, and they were willing, they're willing to try anything at that point. And so that was where I thought of the julva product that you had formulated.

Jennifer:              And I said, look, why don't you just try one month and see how it does? And those clients came back to me and said, not only, and again I know you can't, you can't make any claims or anything. And so that we're not certainly not trying to make any promises here of what it can or can't do. I'm just sharing my clinical experience. But they came back to me and said that that made such a huge difference in just the moisture, the, the quality of the skin. Just comfort levels. They were like, I'm not even going to stop this. Like I am, I'm going to continue to use this because it had helped them so much in conjunction with addressing the, cause again, julva was a topical so it's not going to fix a microbiome issue. But you know, why like just from your thought, cause I know that you formulated this like, can you think of any reason why it could be helpful just from maybe an ingredient perspective or anything like that in helping the skin in that area?

Dr Cabeca:          Yeah. Now it's so exciting and I really, I'm just, I was so thrilled to hear that. And there's another lichen sclerosus blog going that women have used julva in it as well. And I was just thrilled because julva is so hard to treat. Like I said, I have, you know, done surgery to help lichen sclerosus. So it is not something you want to do. Yes, just done, you know, excision ticket, take out the unhealthy tissue, put good tissue to good tissue, vulvodynia, vestibulitis all of those conditions are really challenging. For women if they have them in the vulva. I mean, again, the consequences on the, the life limiting effect that it has and quality of life limiting effect. So, yeah, no. So I, you know, I'm thrilled when I started doing more integrative and functional medicine that a gynecologist and I started treating candida, increasing the essential, you know, the essential fatty acids in their diet, detoxing them, getting them off food sensitivities, gluten, etcetera.

Dr Cabeca:          We saw improvements. I used testosterone vaginally on them, steroids. And that combination, that time seemed to do really well. I didn't even think of julva for lichen sclerosus. So when I hear these case stories that like my God, that it has improved their life, I am just truly grateful cause I know how much women suffer when they have it. So I think there's a combination of things. The plant stem cells from the Alpine Rose that he used again are these amazing, the, the Alpine roses, this amazing Rose like Rose in the Swiss Alps and the harsh conditions of ice and snow and it blossoms. I'm like, for me that is the definition of woman, right? The definition. And we will face some hard conditions and come out, you know, ideally we just blossom and our femininity and everything. So the research behind these plant stem cells show that they are anti-aging, create improved resilience in the tissue, antiviral component to them.

Dr Cabeca:          And so I think there's that component. DHEA. My other one of my other ingredients also helps to rebuild, repair, nourish, you know, anti-aging benefits, lots of good benefits to DHEA. And then EMU oil, which I insisted to put in that because when you saying and prescribing compounded vaginal therapies when I used and learned about using EMU oil from my trips in Australia, the absorption, the results were just better than I could do with any other substitution.

Jennifer:              Wow.

Dr Cabeca:          So, and that really helps. And then coconut oil, which is antifungal. And then Shea butter, which is another emollient just to help with the tissue soothing. And again, anti-aging, repairing the elasticity, repairing the fine lines and just really helping from those aspects. And we've seen improvement. So,

Jennifer:              Because I know too, with a lot of the clients that I work with, they're either perimenopausal or menopausal. And so for them they're just like, Oh, like everything just changed. And oftentimes in ways that they don't fully love, let alone like, and so to be able to do something that's more natural that would help them feel, I don't know, more vibrant. And like you said, I mean, having intimacy in your life doesn't necessarily have to stop once you hit like 50 years old or 55 or 60. I think it doesn't have to stop. It's nice to be able enjoy that part of your life. And lichen sclerosus really wrecks that. And so I can feel like it's almost like a double whammy. Like you go through menopause and then this and you're just like, Oh, this is awful. And that's why I'm like, this affects your quality of life.

Jennifer:              And that's why it's one of the, just my, my experience in my practice has shown me that these things, these changes you can make in conjunction with using julva has, they, it's just had such, such profound effect. Like it just changes a woman's life to be able, you feel better. Your whole life improves in many respects. So you know, is there anything, you know, you are gynecologist and you've had so much, so many years of experience. If somebody is listening to this and they have this and they're like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe that you're talking about this issue on a podcast that they do, you know, and they're, they're really struggling right now. Do you have any words of wisdom or just encouragement for them going through this?

Dr Cabeca:          Yeah, I just really think that, number one, don't give up hope. Keep looking for answers and definitely try these things that we mentioned because that makes a difference. So get rid of the yeast and especially like many women who use julva for vaginal dryness and leaky bladder, all those issues will sometimes, again, in menopause, yeast can stay dormant. And so if you get an itching feeling, which you often have with lichen sclerosus anyway, treat with topical antifungals, use boric acid, vaginal suppositories and that's boric, and typically your compounding pharmacy can make them for you. And this is just so easy, so inexpensive, boric acid, 600 milligrams in the vagina twice daily, pretend to 15 days and then a maintenance. So if you have it, typically 10 day treatment will take care of it. But it's, it's a great way, another great way just to get rid of the yeast.

Dr Cabeca:          Like I'm just ferocious against yeast. When I see yeast and the clients, it's like, okay, we got to get rid of it. And other things get better. Hair gets better, skin gets better, moisture gets better. All of those things get better when we get cravings get gone. So all of those things get better when we get rid of candida and get rid of that. And that's important. Adding an extra essential oils is really important. And, and not giving up. Keep trying and keep looking for answers because you know, again, we're just always on the cutting edge of a solution.

Jennifer:              That is so true. And I just want to let everybody know that you also have, you, you just, you have a really awesome website. You've got a ton of information there. It's drannacabeca.com so we can definitely, you can find anything you need about, gosh, you, you just have a great breadth of information.,

Dr Cabeca:          They can go to dranna.com making it easy. D R A N N A.com,

Jennifer:              That is easy. And then you also have a book coming out called The Hormone Fix, which I want to have you back so we can talk about that because hormones, I think that people disregard, like we associate hormone issues with acne, but hormones can play a huge role in all sorts of skin issues. And again, I think the idea here is to, to remember that this is all connected. We are one being, we are one body, so when you have an imbalance in one area, it will spill over and cause other issues elsewhere that are signs includes that, hey, we have to find those root causes and address that. So I'd love to have you back to talk more about what you've discovered that went into the hormone fix book. And I'm so excited for that coming out, but will you come back and join us?

Dr Cabeca:          I would love to. Jen, I always love talking with you and catching up with you anyway. And I love sharing this information. Thanks for not being afraid to share on a difficult topic.

Jennifer:              You know what, if we're not willing to do it, I don't know who is. And this is about changing your life from a very root place. People suffer. I mean, I suffered for three years. I don't want anyone to go through that any longer than they have to. And if I can provide a vehicle for people to get answers and solutions or connect them with people that can, then I feel like I'm playing that role, you know, in my life of being a connector and doing what I need to do to leave this world a better place. And I'm so glad to have you along the rock on the ride with me, Dr Anna.

DR Cabeca:         I'm glad to be here. Thank you.

Jennifer:              Thank you for joining us.

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

Follow Us

Medical Disclaimer

Skinterrupt offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information which is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnois, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health related advise from your physician or other health care professional because of something you may have seen or read on our site, or in our advertising, marketing, or promotional materials. The use of any information provided by Skinterrupt is solely at your own risk.

Nothing stated or posted on our site, or in our advertising, marketing or promotional materials, or through any of the services we offer, as intended to be, and must not be taken to be, the practice of medicine or counseling care. For purposes of this disclaimer, the practice of medicine or counseling care includes, without limitation, nutritional counseling, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, or providing health care treatment, instruction, diagnosis, prognosis, or advice.