Lichen Sclerosus

What is Lichen Sclerosus?

Vulvar lichen sclerosus is a rare skin condition that causes patchy, white skin that appears thinner than normal in the genital and anal areas. Lichen sclerosus may also occur in other areas of the body. While anyone can experience this condition, lichen sclerosus primarily affects postmenopausal women. Still, lichen sclerosus is exceedingly rare and affects as few as 1 in 1000 people. Because of its rarity, much study is still needed to understand and diagnose lichen sclerosus.

SYMPTOMS OF LICHEN SCLEROSUS

While individuals with mild lichen sclerosus may not experience any signs or symptoms, those with more severe cases may experience:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Tearing or bleeding
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Lichen sclerosus, in its severe forms, may cause itching of the skin lesions, which leads to bleeding and even permanent scarring, causing tightening of the affected skin.

What is the Cause of Lichen Sclerosus?

The exact cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown. It is not a form of skin cancer but is rather thought to be an autoimmune disease. It may also be related to low hormones such as estrogen. Skin that has been previously damaged through trauma or injury may also have an increased likelihood of developing this condition. It is not contagious and cannot be spread through sexual intercourse.

Lichen Sclerosus Treatment Options

Lichen sclerosus can often be diagnosed through a physical examination, but in some cases, a small skin biopsy may be needed. The main goal of lichen sclerosus treatment is to improve the appearance of the skin, reduce itching, and decrease further scarring. Treatment options may include the following.

Topical Medications

Potent topical steroids are commonly prescribed for lichen sclerosus. Initially, patients may have to apply this cream or ointment to the affected skin twice a day – then, after several weeks, this is reduced to twice a week. Topical or oral retinol may also be prescribed.

Other Treatments

In cases where topical corticosteroids are not effective, another ointment called tacrolimus (Protopic), a medication to suppress the immune system, may be prescribed. While surgery may be an option for men with this condition, it is not usually recommended for women as the lichen sclerosus may return after surgery.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

There are some steps individuals can take to help keep their symptoms at bay. These include:

  • Taking oral antihistamines before bed to control itching
  • Taking sitz baths or using cool compresses on the area
  • Gently washing and patting dry the affected area
  • Applying occlusive such as petroleum jelly to the affected area

Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can be a very effective treatment for lichen sclerosus. 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. PRP can be combined with MonaLisa Touch or ThermiVa to further enhance efficacy.

LICHEN SCLEROSUS TREATMENT AT TIDELINE CENTER FOR HEALTH & AESTHETICS

At Tideline Center for Health & Aesthetics, we feel that each and every woman should feel confident in their body. If you are interested in learning more about lichen sclerosus treatment, contact our office today. We conveniently serve the greater Queens, NY and Long Island areas.

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