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Lichen Sclerosus – Causes and Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that affects mostly the anal and genital areas. Rarely, the skin condition is seen on upper arms, breasts and upper body. White, patchy spots appear on the skin and the skin becomes crinkled and thinned. The skin hence tears easily and bleeding occurs giving it a purple or bright red coloration.

The disease condition usually affects women after the menopause state. Men and children are less commonly affected. Untreated lichen sclerosus can also lead to many complications.

Causes of Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus has no definite causes. But the condition is known to cause as a result of some factors such as:

  • Prior skin infections on a certain site may increase the risk of lichen sclerosus condition
  • Hyperactive immune system
  • Lack of sex hormones on the affected skin can also lead to the condition
  • Some studies reveal that a bacterium, spirochete may cause change in the immune system that leads to the condition

Even though lichen sclerosus affects the skin around anal and genital areas, it is non-contagious and cannot transmit through sexual contact.

In women – Vulva region is affected, postmenopausal women are at high risk.
In men and boys – Foreskin is affected, uncircumcised males are at high risk.
In children – The risk develops in puberty stage.

Symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus
Symptoms of lichen sclerosus vary from mild to severe. Any part of the body can be affected and sometimes symptoms do not occur. The common symptoms of lichen sclerosus include:

  • Severe itching called as pruritus
  • Severe pain and discomfort if the itching is around the anal and genital areas
  • Wrinkled, smooth and white patches appear on the skin
  • Painful intercourse
  • Ulcerated, blistering and bleeding lesions develop in severe cases
  • Affected area tears and bruises easily
  • Tenderness of the affected skin area

When to Seek a Medical Professional
Consult a medical professional if you seem to experience symptoms of lichen sclerosus. Early diagnosis and treatment helps in preventing further complications and reduces the discomfort. Also, see to that you go for regular check-ups every 6 – 12 months.

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