What to do About Lichen Sclerosus

What to do About Lichen Sclerosus

Pain, itching, burning, and other symptoms of a vulvar disease should never be ignored. In some cases, it may be a mild case of bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection, both of which are common and easily cured. In other cases, you could have an underlying chronic condition such as lichen sclerosus, which can be managed with ongoing care.

At the OB/GYN practice of Gae Rodke, MD, FACOG, on the Upper West Side of New York City, Dr. Rodke can diagnose vulvar disease and prescribe appropriate treatment if you have lichen sclerosus.

Lichen sclerosus basics

Lichen sclerosus is a fairly rare skin disorder that causes skin to become white, thin, and fragile. Since it’s prone to abrading or tearing easily, this can lead to discomfort and infection. 

Symptoms of lichen sclerosus include:

Women over 30 are more likely than others to get lichen disorders. There are several different kinds of lichen conditions.

Types of lichen disorders

There are three primary types of lichen disorders:

1. Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus typically presents in women over 30, and is characterized by intense vulvar itching. In around 5% of cases, vaginal lichen sclerosus can develop into squamous cell carcinoma; this is generally accompanied by symptoms of inflamed red bumps, crusted areas, and open ulcers.

2. Lichen planus

Lichen planus is thought to be caused by an inflammatory autoimmune disorder. It can cause small, flat, purple bumps that itch, and which may appear not only on the vulva but also on the arms, legs, and other areas of your body.

3. Lichen simplex chronicus

Lichen simplex chronicus is considered to be a dermatological condition. It causes severe itching, and your vulvar skin may thicken and become leathery as a result of constant scratching and irritation or infection.

Treatment for lichen sclerosus

For men, circumcision often resolves the problem completely, if the disorder is confined wholly to the foreskin. Lichen disorders can’t be cured in women, but the symptoms can be managed. You can follow an at-home care routine to keep the area moisturized and clean. Your doctor may prescribe topical ointments or creams, including corticosteroids

Do you have vulvar symptoms? We can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Gae Rodke, MD, FACOG, today.

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