Lichen Sclerosus: What is it?
Lichen Sclerosus is a long-term inflammatory skin condition which mostly affects the genital and anal area. The exact cause of lichen sclerosus is not yet identified, but it is related to an auto-immune dysfunction and hormone problems yet not scientifically proven.
Lichen sclerosus appears as white spots which are severely itchy or sore. It sometimes appears on damaged or scarred skin from a previous injury or condition. LS can affect both men and women, but most often diagnosed on women over age 50 (post-menopausal). Lichen Sclerosus is also not contagious.
Diagnosing Lichen Sclerosus
Since Lichen Sclerosus’ cause is unknown, diagnosing it is done by eliminating other possible diseases by performing a biopsy. However, Doctors can recognize severe lichen sclerosus at first look.
What are the symptoms?
Lichen Sclerosus appears as small, white spots on the skin that later grow into bigger patches. The spots are characterized as shiny and smooth and then becomes thin and wrinkly; skin tears easily and bruises in red or purple are fairly common. Mild cases of lichen sclerosus might not show any symptoms.
Lichen sclerosus spots are usually itchy and sore, and the itchiness can cause severe discomfort. Blistering and bleeding may also occur on the patches of skin.
How to treat Lichen Sclerosus?
There is no cure to Lichen Sclerosus but symptoms can be managed with steroid cream or ointment.
Take your Doctor’s advice on treatment application and frequency. Symptom management is aimed so to avoid scarring as it can cause problems with urination or in sexual intercourse.
Mild lichen sclerosus does not demand treatment as they occasionally go away over time, but it is always best to consult your Doctor on your next course of action.
Since the itching can be severe, you can take preventive measures to alleviate it such as:
- Using plain water and hypoallergenic soap or an equivalent when washing
- Avoid perfumed soaps, bubble baths and washing powder
- Avoid rubbing or scratching the affected area
- Using 100% organic natural cotton clothing is best in preventing irritants to the skin. Cottonique offers a range of undyed and unbleached clothing.