Lichen sclerosus

What is lichen sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is a rare, autoimmune inflammatory disease, also known as lichen sclerosus sclerosus. It is a disease that affects the skin and mucous membranes and occurs mostly in the male and female genital tissue areas.

Symptoms of lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is an inflammatory process that can affect both women and men equally, although men seem to be more affected with age.

In women, the disease manifests itself at the genital level, but can also affect the arms, legs, tongue and oral mucosa.

The most frequent symptoms in women are:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Dyspareunia
  • Dryness of the vaginal mucosa
  • Local irritation
  • White patches
  • Fissures
  • Shrinkage or deterioration of the labia minora

The disease affects areas of male and female genital tissue.

In males, lichen sclerosus affects the upper part of the penis, in fact, the pathology is better known as lichen sclerosus balanopreputialis.

The most frequent symptoms in males are:

  • Brownish-white shiny spots.
  • Scoriations
  • Microlesions
  • Itching
  • Phallodynia (pain, burning or itching of the penis)
  • Pain
  • Dyspareunia
  • Urethritis
  • Urethral stricture
  • Phimosis

The most frequent symptoms in boys are:

  • Girls: itching, burning in the vulva and perianal area.
  • Boys: general genital irritation

Diagnosis of lichen sclerosus

Diagnosis of lichen sclerosus is usually made by microscopic examination of a small sample of tissue affected by the disease.

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What are the causes of lichen sclerosus?

The causes of lichen sclerosus are unclear and possible causes include:

  • Immune system hyperactivity
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Family history
  • Skin health status or if it has been previously damaged

Treatments for lichen sclerosus

The most recommended treatments for women include the use of systemic and topical medications. For males, the most recommended treatment is circumcision (surgical removal of the foreskin) because male pathology is usually not recurrent.

Which specialist to contact?

It is advisable to consult the opinion of competent physicians for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease; the specialists capable of treating lichen sclerosus are the dermatologist, the gynecologist, the urologist and the andrologist.