About Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that presents as little white, shiny areas on the skin, which can grow and become bigger and more prevalent. These patches commonly appear in the anal and genital areas; however, they may develop on any area of the skin, including the neck, shoulders, chest, legs, and face. One of the most common forms of the condition is vulvar lichen sclerosus when the problem affects the external genital region of a woman. Treatment is generally needed for lichen sclerosus in the genitals to relieve symptoms and prevent further problems. If left untreated, these lesions can become larger plaques, injuring the skin and leading to bleeding, itching, and swollen blisters. If you have symptoms of lichen sclerosus, schedule an appointment at The Colorado Center for Health and Longevity in Greenwood Village for an assessment. Experienced physician Dr. Ian Levenson provides compassionate care if you have a skin problem that is causing a disturbance in your life, like lichen sclerosus.
Lichen Sclerosus Causes
Lichen sclerosus is not contagious so it cannot be spread from person to person. The leading cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown, but evidence suggests it may be hereditary. Other possible causes of lichen sclerosus are a hormone imbalance, a problem with the immune system, or past skin damage. Postmenopausal women are at the greatest risk for developing lichen sclerosus, especially in the vulva. Men who are not circumcised have a higher risk of developing genital lichen sclerosus on their foreskin.
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Lichen Sclerosus Symptoms
Lichen sclerosus may develop on any area of your skin, but it is most common on the external genitals (vulva, labia, anus, penis). In the early stages, you may have no symptoms of lichen sclerosus or small white spots. As the condition develops, you may notice:
- Smooth, white patches of skin
- Bleeding, blistered, or ulcerated lesions
- Tenderness and pain
- Pain during intercourse for lichen sclerosus on the genitals
- Pain when getting an erection
- Trouble or pain when urinating
Lichen Sclerosus Treatment Options
At your consultation with Dr. Levenson, he'll ask about your medical history and perform a comprehensive examination to better understand your skin condition and the magnitude of the problem. After the examination, Dr. Levenson can discuss your treatment options and develop a custom plan that will relieve your symptoms and prevent future problems. The most common treatment for lichen sclerosis in the genital areas is a prescription steroid ointment to reduce inflammation, itching, and discomfort. If a steroid ointment does not improve your condition, stronger methods may be considered, including PRP (platelet-rich plasma), medication (tricyclic antidepressants, acitretin, or tacrolimus), or ultraviolet (UV) light treatments.
Clear, Healthy Skin
Lichen sclerosus is a skin disease that generally requires treatment if it's in the genital areas. If you have white spots that could be lichen sclerosus, we encourage you to contact The Colorado Center for Health and Longevity in Greenwood Village to schedule an assessment by Dr. Ian Levenson. Proper diagnosis and treatment can help to clear up this condition and prevent future outbreaks.