Lichen planus is a condition that can cause irritation and swelling in the mucous membranes, hair, nails, and skin. It can affect the mouth, vagina, and other areas that are covered in mucous membranes, forming white, lacy patches sometimes accompanied by painful sores. When lichen planus affects the vulva and vagina, it can cause severe pain, scarring, and may cause sexual dysfunction.
This condition occurs when the immune system begins to attack the cells of the mucous membranes or skin. It is not clear why this happens, but may be triggered by certain pain relievers, medications for heart disease, arthritis, or high blood pressure, certain chemicals and metals, the flu vaccine, and hepatitis C infection.
Lichen planus can be diagnosed based on an individual’s symptoms, physical examination, and medical history. In some cases, a biopsy or lab tests may be required for an accurate diagnosis. Individuals who are experiencing any symptoms associated with lichen planus should seek prompt and accurate diagnosis, as a number of skin and mucosal conditions can lead to lesions and discomfort.
In cases where a biopsy is positive for lichen planus but an individual is exhibiting no symptoms, treatment is not usually needed. Patients who are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms can often benefit from treatment to relieve symptoms. Options may include:
The most common treatment option for lichen planus is a prescription corticosteroid ointment or cream. In cases where this treatment option is not effective or the condition is severe, a corticosteroid injection or pill may be recommended.
Oral antihistamine medication may help to relieve the itching associated with this condition.
Other oral medications that may be used in certain situations may include the antimalarial Plaquenil and the antibiotic Flagyl.
Individuals who are experiencing severe lichen planus symptoms may require prescription medications that modify or suppress the body’s immune response.
Phototherapy using ultraviolet B (UVB) light may help to clear up lichen planus that affects the skin. This form of treatment often requires 2-3 treatments a week for several weeks.
For individuals who do not respond to any other treatment options, oral retinoid medication may be prescribed. These drugs are not recommended for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, and if you are nursing your provider may choose to delay this therapy.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can be a very effective treatment for lichen planus. When applied to the affected area topically or directly into the skin, PRP has been shown to reduce scarring and improve the health of the vulvar tissue alleviating itching, inflammation, and pain.
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Women who are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms due to lichen planus should contact Tideline Center for Health & Aesthetics today for professional and prompt treatment. Our team of skilled providers is dedicated to providing each individual with outstanding care for optimal outcomes.
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