Association for Lichen Sclerosus

Swimming

Swimming. If you have LS, it’s a problem whether you are male or female? Here are some views. Doctors and patients are both influenced by their own personal views. Gynaecologists and genitourinary doctors, in general, are not trained in skin conditions but some may start to specialise. Some do not keep their education up to date, that leads to giving out of date advice. Some play it carefully and advise giving up things that you enjoy doing. For example many are cautious about litigation and will tell you not to swim, or they may think that avoiding everything is the key to coping with symptoms, there are many reasons why but think about asking your doctor why they are giving you this advice. Some Dermatologists will say it is a shame to limit such a healthy activity and they direct not to swim while there are active symptoms, tears, soreness or itch but to get symptoms under control and then swim. This sounds like a common sense approach. Tips: Apply a good barrier cream, ointment, something greasy (remember creams often contain skin irritants) before swimming, shower and rinse well after swimming, avoid staying in your wet swimwear or while sitting on the beach . Apply your favourite moisturiser. Sadly, It is not possible to advise you what kind of pool of spa water will irritate you, like many things associated with lichen sclerosus, it will be a case of trial and error but worth aiming to find out what works for you. Many visitors share that they have no side effects from swimming and they still enjoy an active lifestyle. Good things are possible.

Swimming

5 thoughts on “Swimming

  1. I’m 66 and live in Bedfordshire, diagnosed with LS since December, though I’m pretty sure it’s been brewing up for much longer and the ‘itch’ was the telling symptom that sent me to the GP. I had noticed some changes in my vulval area which at the time I just thought were something menopause related but now know these were architectural changes which are part of LS.

    Currently as at June 2021, I would seem to have it pretty much under control, using a steroid very occasionally, but mostly using really good oil based moisturisers. I wash with water only while showering. Remaining architecture seems OK, so I’m hoping my treatment plan will stave off further changes, who knows.

    I’m also seeing a very good pelvic floor physiotherapist which I started recently. She’s a lovely person and I’m hoping I can improve my pelvic floor function to help Grade 2 bladder prolapse, which in turn will be of benefit to LS as my bladder won’t then be joining in with vulval issues!

    I wanted to go swimming this year somewhere outdoors, what is now termed ‘wild swimming’ but as I hadn’t even swum for about 4 years, I felt a swim in an outdoor pool would be a good start. So I booked a session at a pool fairly near to where I live. You have to book at the moment because of Covid, but I like that idea and hope they keep it. On advice from a FB group, I used plenty of moisturiser, oil based before hand to act as a barrier, went in for my swim, probably in the water about 30 minutes just swimming lengths of the pool.

    I did shower when I got out (with swimsuit on) but as soon as I started changing, I was advised to get out of my swimsuit as soon as possible, which I did, just to prevent the pool water being in contact with the skin too long. I then applied more oil based moisturiser afterwards before getting dressed.

    So far since yesterday, no reactions. Hoping to book further swims and keep to the same routine.

  2. Before I was diagnosed, I was swimming every day in a friend’s pool, even staying in while the pool man added chemicals. I was in agony with what I now know is LS. I had no idea at the time that the chlorine was affecting it so badly. I just wanted to swim to help my joint problems. Now I know what I am dealing with and I have the symptoms well under control with dietary changes and homemade moisturisers, I ocassionally swim in a pool. However, I put a barrier on first (I use Love Hemp Body Balm as it has a nice waxy barrier and no harsh ingredients). I also get out of my swimsuit straight away and shower well. But mostly these days I just swim in the sea whenever I can, which doesn’t affect my LS at all….other than perhaps positively.

  3. Just came across your website/blog and find it interesting about the swimming aspect.
    I go to aqua aerobics weekly at an indoor pool and have been for 3 years now and it is about the same time I noticed the LS issues but am also post-menopausal and have pelvic floor issues so put I was typically embarrassed and didn’t go to my GP for ages.
    I also have the extragenital LS on my breast tissue and this is where I noticed it first as i was concerned it would travel up to my face and so went to the GP/Dermatologist to ask what it was.
    I really LOVE my aqua and don’t want to give it up so will follow up on Alison’s advice to use a barrier cream before swimming.
    Has anyone tried diet change?
    Keep up the good work and seriously more women need to talk about these issues that can happen after menopause.

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