Lichen sclerosus is a long-term problem of the skin. Mostly affecting the genital and anal areas, this vulvar disorder can occur at any age.The exact cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown. But we do know that this is not an infection that you caught from anyone, and you also cannot give it to others.
Early in the disease, small, white spots appear on the skin. These spots are usually shiny and smooth. Later, the spots grow into bigger patches, and the skin on the patches becomes thin and crinkles. Then the skin tears easily, and bright red or purple bruises are common. Other symptoms can include:
- Discomfort or pain
Our highly qualified doctors can perform a physical examination to diagnose lichen sclerosus; however, we will usually perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. This biopsy is a minor surgical procedure to remove a small piece of tissue that is then examined.
Treatment generally includes using a strong cortisone cream or ointment on the skin. The goal of the treatment is to eliminate itching and protect the skin from damage. Occasionally, complete resolution of the abnormal vulvar appearance may occur. More commonly, skin changes of the lichen sclerosus will not completely resolve. This does not mean that the treatments are not helping. Various medications are used to improve the skin condition.
Lichen sclerosus does not cause skin cancer, but skin that is scarred by lichen sclerosus is more likely to develop skin cancer. Proper treatment of this condition is very important, and we provide the best medical treatment for lichen sclerosus.
At UAMS, we understand that many women have concerns about your gynecological health. Knowing that these matters can be awkward, we want to make it easy for you to ask for help. We protect your privacy while providing treatment by caring and compassionate specialists in a comfortable environment. Please contact us for more information on our vulvar disorder services.