The term Lichen Sclerosus is very common in the books of Dermatology; it is a skin disease which may appear without showing any symptoms and get cured without any medications. On the other hand it may worsen to an extent where if not treated in a proper way may lead to many complications. To deal with this disease you first need to know the facts about Lichen Schlerosus.
What is Lichen Sclerosus?
LIE-kun skluh-ROW-sus or Lichen Sclerosus is a long term and uncommon condition of the skin which creates white patches on the skin and the skin becomes thinner than the normal. It can affect any part of the body but mostly involves the skin of the genital and perianal zones. It may also be visible on the upper body, upper arms and breast areas.
Generally this disease is common among the postmenopausal women but can be visible among men where the foreskin of the penis or the anus area is affected. Among children it is a very rare disease. The real cause behind this disease is still not clear.
The doctors have different opinions; it may be due to over active immune system or you may inherit it. It can also appear on already damaged or injured skin. The most important fact about this disease is that it is not contagious and can be cured with medications.
Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus
If you are not severely affected, there will be hardly any symptoms. The symptoms surely show the severity of the disease. Few of them are:
- White spot which is generally smooth and shiny
- Wrinkled patches
- Slowly change into a plaque and the skin becomes thin and may tear.
- Bruising and tearing
- Bright purple or red bruises
- Pain and feeling of discomfort
- Ulcerated lesions or blistering
- Painful intercourse
Diagnosis of Lichen Sclerosus and Treatment
A look at the affected area will tell any doctor that you are suffering from Lichen Sclerosus. To confirm the diagnosis, a small piece of the affected area i.e. the skin is taken and examined to come to conclusion. If you are diagnosed with the disease, you need to visit a dermatologist or a gynaecologist if it is vaginal area. The doctor will treat you may be with Corticosteroid ointment initially. If it does not work there are other ways of treatment like:
- Immune modulating medicines like tacrolimus and pimecrolimus
- Ultraviolet treatment
- Tropical sex hormonal medicines
If you are suffering from persistent Lichen Sclerosus you may be at risk of skin cancer. To avoid this visit your doctor regularly. It can make sex life painful in women as itching and scarring might reduce the vaginal opening. Severe irritation may make the skin of the vaginal area sensitive which cannot take any pressure. It may also cause almost similar problem among men.
As it causes tightening of the foreskin it leads to pain while erection and urination. So if you feel any symptoms consult a doctor. Do not panic as proper and early treatment will help you to fight the disease and help you to lead a normal life.