Lichen Sclerosus

ExitCare ImageLichen sclerosus is a skin problem. It can happen on any part of the body, but it commonly involves the anal or genital areas. Lichen sclerosus is not an infection or a fungus. Girls and women are more commonly affected than boys and men.

CAUSES

The cause is not known. It could be the result of an overactive immune system or a lack of certain hormones. Lichen sclerosus is not passed from one person to another (not contagious).

SYMPTOMS

Your skin may have:

  • Thin, wrinkled, white areas.

  • Thickened white areas.

  • Red and swollen patches.

  • Tears or cracks.

  • Bruising.

  • Blood blisters.

  • Severe itching.

You may also have pain, itching, or burning with urination. Constipation is also common in people with lichen sclerosus.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver will do a physical exam. Sometimes, a tissue sample (biopsy) may be sent for testing.

TREATMENT

Treatment may involve putting a thin layer of medicated cream (topical steroid) over the areas with lichen sclerosus. Use the cream only as directed by your caregiver.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • Keep the vaginal area as clean and dry as possible.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

You develop increasing pain, swelling, or redness.