About lichen sclerosus

What is lichen sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus facts

  • Lichen sclerosus is a long-term problem of the skin that mostly affects the genital and perianal areas.
  • Lichen sclerosus is most commonly seen in post-menopausal women. It is uncommon in men and children.
  • Symptoms of lichen sclerosus include small white, shiny, smooth spots on the skin that grow into bigger plaques that become thin and crinkled. The skin may tear easily, and bright red or purple bruises are common. There may also be itching, bleeding, and blisters.
  • The cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown but may be the result of an overactive immune system and hormone problems.
  • Lichen sclerosus is not contagious.
  • Lesions from lichen sclerosys on the arms or upper body usually go away without treatment. If lesions appear on the genitals, treatment for women involves topical prescription-strength steroid cream or ointment.
  • Skin scarred by lichen sclerosus is somewhat more likely to develop skin cancer.

What is lichen sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is a long-term problem of the skin. It mostly affects the genital and perianal areas. Sometimes, lichen sclerosus appears on the upper body, breasts, and upper arms.

What are the symptoms for lichen sclerosus?

Easy tearing symptom was found in the lichen sclerosus condition

Sometimes, mild cases of lichen sclerosus cause no noticeable signs or symptoms.

When they do occur, lichen sclerosus symptoms may include:

  • Itching (pruritus), which can be severe
  • Discomfort or pain
  • Smooth White spots on your skin
  • Blotchy, wrinkled patches
  • Easy Bruising or tearing
  • In severe cases, bleeding, Blistering or ulcerated lesions
  • Painful intercourse

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms common to lichen sclerosus.

If you've already been diagnosed with lichen sclerosus, see your doctor every six to 12 months to be checked for any skin changes or treatment side effects.

What are the causes for lichen sclerosus?

The exact cause of lichen sclerosus isn't known. An overactive immune system or an imbalance of hormones may play a role. Previous skin damage at a particular site on your skin may increase the likelihood of lichen sclerosus at that location.

Lichen sclerosus isn't contagious and cannot be spread through sexual intercourse.

Lichen sclerosus often occurs in postmenopausal women, but also in men and children. In women, lichen sclerosus usually involves the vulva. In boys and men, uncircumcised males are most at risk, because the condition generally affects the foreskin.

In children, the signs and symptoms may improve at puberty.

What are the treatments for lichen sclerosus?

If you have patches on the arms or upper body, they usually don't need treatment. The lesions go away over time.

Lichen sclerosus of the genital skin should be treated. Even if it isn't painful or itchy, the affected areas can scar. This can cause problems with urination or sex. There is also a very small chance that skin cancer may develop in the affected skin.

Surgery is normally a good option for men. Circumcision (removing the foreskin on the penis) is the most widely used therapy for men with lichen sclerosus. The disease usually does not come back. Surgery is not a good option for women. When the lichen sclerosus lesions are removed from the genitals of women and girls, they usually come back.

Treatment also includes using very strong prescription-strength steroid cream or ointment on the skin. You put these creams on the spots every day for several months. This stops the itching. Then you use the cream or ointment two times a week for a long time to keep the disease from coming back. Treatment does not fix the scarring that may have already occurred.

You need regular followup by a doctor because using these creams and ointments for a long time can cause:

  • Thinning and redness of the skin
  • Stretch marks where the cream is applied
  • Genital yeast infections.

Sometimes, you don't get better when using the steroid creams. Some things that can keep symptoms from clearing up are:

  • Infection
  • Allergy to the medication.

When creams and ointments don't work, your doctor may suggest:

  • Retinoids, or vitamin A-like drugs
  • Tacrolimus ointment
  • Ultraviolet light treatments (not used on skin of the genitals).

If you need medicine, ask your doctor:

  • How does the medicine work?
  • What are its side effects?
  • Why is it the best treatment for my lichen sclerosus?

If a young girl gets lichen sclerosis, she usually does not require lifelong treatment. Lichen sclerosus sometimes goes away at puberty. Scarring and changes in skin color may remain.

What are the risk factors for lichen sclerosus?

The risk of lichen sclerosus is higher for postmenopausal women, although it can occur in men and children. Men who are uncircumcised have a higher risk because the condition often affects the foreskin.

Is there a cure/medications for lichen sclerosus?

A rare disorder called lichen sclerosus causes uneven, white skin that seems thinner than usual. The anal and genital regions are typically affected.

  • Lichen sclerosus can affect anyone, however, postmenopausal women are more susceptible.
  • Lichen sclerosus does not have a known aetiology. A hormone imbalance or an overactive immune system might be a reason.
  • The risk of lichen sclerosus at a specific area on your skin may be exacerbated by prior tissue injury at that site.
  • Lichen sclerosus is not sexually transmissible and is not contagious
  • Uncircumcised males are especially at risk among boys and men since the disorder typically affects the foreskin.


  • The medical practitioner will advise treatment if the lichen sclerosus is on or around the genitalia or anus, or if it has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Treatment reduces itching, improves the appearance of your skin, and prevents new scarring. It often occurs again. Lichen sclerosus rarely resolves on its own.
  • Corticosteroids: Lichen sclerosus patients commonly receive prescriptions for corticosteroid ointments or creams. Primarily it may be used for a longer duration till the symptoms subside. Then the doctor will recommend its usage rarely to prevent the recurrence.
  • The doctor will keep an eye out for any negative effects from chronic topical corticosteroid usage like more skin thinning.
  • Surgical treatment: Sometimes removal of the affected area is also recommended in the patients. Eg .circumcision is recommended in men, while the same is not recommended in women because of the recurrence.

Whitish patches on skin over genitalia common in menopausal women
Hormonal imbalance causing, white discoloration on uneven skin texture in genetalia and other are creases of the body
Corticosteroids,Tacrolimuys oinment

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