What is lichen sclerosus?
Lichen sclerosus is a chronic condition of the skin which most commonly affects post-menopausal women. It is most characterized by changes in the skin of the external genitalia. Lichen sclerosus, however, also occur in pre-menopausal women, and men. When diagnosed in a male patient, lichen sclerosus may instead be referred to as balantis xerotica obliterans.
Lichen sclerosus is also known as
- Csillag’s disease (sclerosus)
- Guttate morphea (sclerosus)
- Guttate scleroderma, lichen sclerosus type
- Hallopeau I disease
- Von Zambusch disease
- White-Spot disease
What are the symptoms of lichen sclerosus?
Lichen sclerosus usually affects areas around the genitals or anus. Often it is accompanied by intense itching or pruitus. In severe cases, lichen sclerosus may lead to bleeding, blistering, or tearing of the skin. Skin tissue may become thin, shiny, and/or wrinkled. Fissures, and cracks may also develop in affected areas of skin. Skin may also become blotchy, affected by bluish-white pimples, or raised white patches.
What causes lichen sclerosus?
The exact causes of lichen sclerosus are not currently known. Hormone imbalance and an overactive immune response are likely candidates for causing lichen sclerosus but are still in need of investigation. Previous skin damage may also increase risk.
Lichen sclerosus can not be spread through sexual intercourse.
How is lichen sclerosus diagnosed?
Clinical examination through a detailed inspection of the skin is the most common method of diagnosing lichen sclerosus. A skin biopsy may be used to confirm diagnosis.
What are the treatments for lichen sclerosus?
In most cases a prescribed ultrapotent corticosteroid will provide relief for lichen sclerosus. In extreme cases in which drugs are ineffective, surgical removal of the affected skin may be necessary.
If lichen sclerosus affects a non-genital region of the skin, treatment may not be necessary, and lichen sclerosus may get better on its own.
Where can I find out more about lichen sclerosus?