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Lichen sclerosus is a dermatological condition that can affect anyone throughout their lifetime. There are no known causes of lichen sclerosus. Clear signs of lichen sclerous include patchy white skin in the delicate tissues surrounding your genitals. This condition is mainly genetic. Learn how to recognize lichen sclerosis and how you can treat it.

Mild lichen sclerosis

Lichen sclerosus can affect both genders and even children. Women post-menopause are the most likely to develop lichen sclerosus. They produce small, white, smooth patches of skin around the anus and vaginal area. Mild lichen sclerosus may cause some discomfort, but generally, the symptoms are negligible.

More severe lichen sclerosus can present with intense itching in the affected region and blotchy skin. Some women will also feel pain, see redness, and can experience irritation during sex. These symptoms overlap with an infection, and many women will first assume that they have bacterial vaginosis.

Nobody can confirm the direct cause of lichen sclerosus. Postmenopausal women are more susceptible to this condition; researchers believe that hormone fluctuations can play a significant role. This area of health requires more data.

Individuals with high sensitivity to autoimmune responses are at a greater risk of lichen sclerosus. Unmanaged stress levels and burnout will increase your immune sensitivity. Make sure you take time to rest and relax if you are feeling prolonged stress levels.

Complications of lichen sclerosis

To date, there are no significant complications of lichen sclerosus. Men are also susceptible to lichen sclerosus and should examine their penis if any unusual discomfort arises. The foreskin can hide any lichen sclerosus and should be pushed back for proper examination.

Medical professionals have confirmed that lichen sclerosus can not be transmitted between sexual partners. Regardless, continue to practice safe sex. Scientists have also confirmed that certain people will have a genetic history of lichen sclerosus will be at higher risk.

Lichen sclerosus fusing

Severe lichen sclerosus can result in fusing tissues. This can be very painful and uncomfortable with the delicate skin that binds to itself and can restrict movement in this area. Rough action can break the bind, which will result in sensations of burning and extreme discomfort.

Some women will have skin fusing around their clitoris. This will irritate sex and can make it more difficult to achieve orgasm for women. Fused skin will result in a series of unusual skin formations in your genitals. Be careful touching this area and avoid rough contact.

Lichen sclerosus treatment

There is no known cure for lichen sclerosus. A medical doctor can recommend ointments and creams to treat lichen sclerosus, and these products will decrease any symptoms. These products are usually made of steroids and are applied topically to the affected area. Ongoing treatment of lichen sclerosus will be required as needed.

If you are low in estrogen levels, like post-menopause women, your vaginal tissues will be extremely delicate. It would be best to talk to your health care provider before applying steroid cream to these areas; they can further impact your skin.

Some women will include antihistamine products overnight when the itchiness is the most severe. These products can increase your comfort and improve your quality of sleep. Your body will need adequate rest to heal.

Lichen sclerosus biopsy

A biopsy of lichen sclerosus should always be obtained to confirm a diagnosis. A positive diagnosis will allow your care provider to offer treatment plans that suit your needs.

A biopsy is a minor surgery. Physicians slice a small piece of affected tissue and send it to a lab for testing. It may sound scary, but the procedure is quick. Most people return home the same day after having a biopsy. If you suspect you have lichen sclerosus, follow up with your health care provider to discuss the next steps.

What happens if lichen sclerosus is untreated?

Untreated lichen sclerosus can result in deformations of the vagina. This can include a narrowing of the vagina opening and irregular fusion patterns on the surrounding tissues. Very advanced cases of lichen sclerosus will require surgery to cut away fusions.

Possible Irritants

There are no specific triggers that will induce a flare-up of lichen sclerosus. However, certain perfumed products can aggravate the delicate skin surrounding your genitals and may increase your susceptibility to lichen sclerosus.

In the event you have a history of lichen sclerosus, specialists advise staying away from scented soaps. If you still get regular periods, avoid using any scented feminine product. Even bubble bath products can be too abrasive: avoid using these items at all times.

Avoid over washing your genitals because it promotes dryness. Dry skin is delicate and is more susceptible to damage or injury. If you need to refresh several times daily, choose gentle, unscented products. Limit aggressive rubbing and applying friction while cleaning and drying your genitals.

Lichen sclerosus causes visible white smooth patches on the skin. Lichen sclerosus will present on the skin close to the genitals and the anus. It can also show up on the penis. Complete a thorough examination of the penis by pushing away any foreskin.

You will require a medical diagnosis to confirm lichen sclerosus. You can expect to complete a biopsy for this diagnosis. A professional lab will need to conduct tests on your biopsy sample, which can take several weeks. Talk to your health care provider for more details on this procedure.

Severe cases of lichen sclerosus can result in skin fusions. If these fusions tear, they can cause burning and discomfort. Extreme cases of lichen sclerosus will require surgical intervention.

Apply ointments and creams as needed. You can expect ongoing treatments until your skin has healed, these products will reduce the risk of skin fusions. Lichen sclerosus can not be passed to your sexual partner. Communicate your diagnosis to your partner to decrease the risk of pain during sex.