Listen to “183: [Personal Story] Living with Lichen Sclerosus – Tammy” on Spreaker.
Living with Lichen Sclerosus
Tammy brings her journey with Lichen sclerosus and the experiences of many other women to light in this episode. We hear everything about what it’s like to live with Lichen sclerosus, its challenges, treatment options, and how to get support.
What is Lichen Schlerosus?
Lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself. It is thought to be genetic. It usually occurs in the genitals, but can also affect other areas of the body, where it can cause itching and discoloration on the wrist, inner thighs and stomach. Lichen sclerosus affects young and old women.
Tammy’s history with Lichen sclerosus
Tammy started experiencing extreme itching and burning beginning in her 20s. Others may experience visual symptoms like white patches of skin. At the age of 44, she was diagnosed with Lichen sclerosus after doing a punch biopsy. She believes stress and genetics played a role in her diagnosis. Shame and discomfort made it harder for her to find the right diagnosis and thus she emphasizes the importance of finding the right doctor.
Impact on sex life
Tammy warns people against looking up their condition online. She talks about how many women go through this process with unsupportive partners. Other than sexual and mental issues that make sex difficult, pain is a big factor. It can change the way your vulva looks when the labia of both sides fuse and are sometimes absorbed entirely. The vaginal opening can shrink, causing sex to be incredibly painful. Clitoral phimosis is a condition when your clitoral hood fuses with the clitoris making it less sensitive. Other than affecting your sex life directly, it makes even performing menial tasks extremely painful.
Treatment options for lichen sclerosus
Talking about her history, Tammy says she started off using triamcinolone, a moderate steroid. Clobetasol cream and ointment is the most common treatment that’s specifically used for Lichen sclerosus. Hydrocortisone is used to soothe itching. She talks about the “Monalisa touch” used by Dr Andrew Goldstein who uses a specific machine to improve collagen production. While it may seem like a dermatological issue, many doctors don’t seem to know much about it.
Impact on Mental health
This grueling process in which women receive little support is hard on their mental health and sexual health. Tammy says the process of finding the right diagnosis takes its toll. The shame and embarrassment around Lichen Sclerosus can be helped by having a supportive partner.
Women with Lichen sclerosus are at a higher risk of getting vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia and other autoimmune conditions. Tammy found a supportive environment for women who have both Lichen sclerosus and intimacy issues in Facebook support groups. While finding support and acceptance of Lichen sclerosus is hard, it’s helpful to be surrounded by people going through the same thing on this journey.
Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com
The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com
The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com
Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com
Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Listen to “148: [Personal Story] A Triggered Life – Alba” on Spreaker.
A Triggered Life
Alba Soto is my guest on this episode. She shares her ‘triggered life’ experience, which still haunts her today. Her trauma began at the age of 3 at the hand of family members. Alba shares her addiction to masturbation as a coping mechanism which fueled her sense of guilt.
She shares how she managed to escape this life and the twist of events that led her abusers back to her. People pleasing was Alba’s symptom of her trauma, always aiming to be a ‘good girl.’
In an eye opening observation, Alba explains that trauma is the gateway drug to addiction and that any form of addiction is a coping tool. Her journey progresses into adolescence and adulthood, where she found herself in similar situations even in her personal relationships, being raped and involved with toxic partners.
Not knowing who she really was, was a huge obstacle in finding her confidence and with the help of her now husband, Alba reveals how he played a role in helping her find herself and express her emotions and thoughts openly in a safe place. When she experiences a ‘ triggering’ moment, Alba is now comfortable enough to talk about it and this, she shares is a liberating tool.
Alba currently still experiences trauma triggers and reveals how powerful having a voice is when she experiences these triggers.
Alba Soto is the founder of Alba Soto TLC. She is a positive and resilient trauma survivor, dedicated to helping single mothers who have suffered from sexual trauma.
As a certified trauma life coach, Alba helps single mothers get unstuck by applying her unique principles of active healing. Through personal experience she has learned that ” Without tools, Trauma Rules.” This is what led her to share the tools that turned her from accepting people who took advantage of her to now only accepting healthy and reciprocal relationships.
These tools facilitate active healing and help women find their voice and reclaim their power.
Albas vision is to create a community of resilient women through my sisters circle community, ” Better TogetHER,” a sacred space to connect with other like spirited resilient women who are ready to move towards a life that is free of shame, guilt and anger.
Links and Resources
Listen to “138: [Personal Story] Pelvic Organ Prolapse – Erin” on Spreaker.
Personal Story: Erin Underwood
Once a casualty of prolapse, Erin is completely asymptomatic today. Having encountered this long before support groups and information was easily available, Erin was forced to learn how to help herself. After the birth of her fourth child, her body had surrendered.
In addition to incontinence, Erin explains the symptoms of prolapse as the feeling of a tampon falling out or sitting on a tennis ball. After being advised to live with her condition, Erin did some searching of her own.
Her search led her to a biomechanist, marking the beginning of her recovery. One of the methods she discovered was the belly release. She notes the role of the ribcage and how important it is to select non-underwire bras to allow movement in the ribcage. Erin credits a book by Katy Bowman (available on Amazon).
Erin advocates walking and tackles the superficial elements of kegels, explaining how critical control is for this exercise. With unnecessary shame around pelvic floor prolapse, Erin encourages women to take look at recovery as very achievable.
Erin Underwood is a functional movement therapist from Oregon that specializes in prenatal and postnatal health. She is passionate about education around pelvic floor and core strength and function.
She has studied biomechanics extensively and in addition to her in-depth yoga training has continued her education by certifying and training with the top minds in the country connected to pelvic floor and core wellness.
She currently is focusing on her local community by serving through workshops to the prenatal and postnatal community as well as local health care providers, providing them with the most up to date science broken down into practical and helpful tools.
Erin has four beautiful boys and, post deliveries has personally healed from a grade 2 uterine and grade 2 rectocele prolapses and a four-finger Diastasis Recti using all the tools she teaches in her movement therapy, which further fuels her passion for seeing women fully functional and getting all the information necessary to heal.
Resources and Links
Book by Katy Bowman: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A00CZIE/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1
Playing with Fire
On this episode, guest Camille describes herself as a late bloomer that was always concerned about being romantically involved.
She attributes some of her reticence to being raised in a family that didn’t hug, cuddle, or verbally express love often. Later experiences encouraged her to openly express affection with her parents, but as a young person, Camille remembers thinking neither of her parents was suited to intimate talks about sex, love, and romance.
Listen to “126: [Personal Story] – Playing with Fire – Camille” on Spreaker.
When Camille Meets David
Even when Camille knew boys found her attractive, she felt crippled by extreme shyness. She explains that things changed when she met her future husband, David. Because he was as awkward as she was, she felt they were perfectly matched. Though they were only 14, she claims they saw no reason to avoid sexual activity. She shares the journey of their relationship and experiences with other partners. She tells us about the regrets she gathered through those experiences including being objectified for her looks. After experiencing the world, Camille decided to honor David and their relationship by continually seeking a deeper intimacy with him.
As a Christian who doesn’t support abortion, Camille is ashamed to admit that as a teen she planned to abort any pregnancies that might occur. While young, Camille believes she was too cavalier about the magnitude of what happens during an abortion, and she expects many people are the same today. She warns that abortion is a traumatic experience for a woman’s body that can even cause post-traumatic stress.
Their relationship hit a hiccup early on as David desired sex more than she did, and she would often reject him. After realizing that she could make herself physically available to her husband with the aim of pleasing him, she found that this form of self-giving allowed true intimacy to flourish because it removes sex from the raw pursuit of physical pleasure and transforms it into a means of communicating and developing love and caring.
Teaching Kids About Sex
Camille explains that her views about intimacy were influenced by a course she took called Moms of Men. She wanted to raise her children to respect and avoid objectifying women. She also learned to teach her sons to avoid relationships that can’t lead to marriage, because when you date or have sex with people, part of you always stays with that person, making it impossible to give your whole self to your future spouse.
Camille also learned from Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which taught her that sex is something that God intended men and women to experience, and that it’s good to talk about it openly. She believes that talking about sex is helpful in rearing children because it encourages kids to communicate with their parents about sex and love and it helps parents guide their children towards wise sexual decisions.
Resources for Camille:
Trauma as Tribal Initiation
Harriet joins us in this episode and shares her how her childhood molestation led to compulsive eating, a fear of men, painful sex, and other hallmarks of traumatic experiences before she was taught to conceptualize her trauma as an unfinished tribal initiation. She shares her story in this episode. (more…)
Healing From Abuse
My guest, whom I call Toni in this episode, is here to share a personal story of abuse and eventual transformation. Within the interview, she shares a lot of difficult episodes and traumas in her life in a brave and transparent way. You will get a lot out of this episode will learn that despite the hardest upbringing, there can be transformation, growth, and healing along the way. Please listen along and support Toni as she shares her story here.