If you have noticed thin, white patchy skin on your vulva and it causes you irritation and itching, you may have lichen sclerosus.
What is Lichen Sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus is a dermatologic condition that can cause the skin to become thin, white, patchy, and itchy. Lichen sclerosus commonly affects the external genitalia, a condition known as vulvar lichen sclerosus.
How many common is it?
The exact prevalence of vulvar lichen sclerosus is not known. However, it commonly presents during postmenopause.
What are the symptoms?
When lichen sclerosus affects the genitalia, patients may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Thinning, white, irritated, patchy skin on the vulva
- Blisters or cuts
- Painful intercourse
A combination of treatment options can be used to alleviate the symptoms of vulvar lichen sclerosus.
Some treatment options include:
- Steroid cream, to reduce inflammation and itching
- Devices, such as dilators, to ease the discomfort and pain associated with intercourse
- Immune modulators
- Compounded creams
- Hormonal treatment
- Co2 laser
What to expect on your visit
During your visit, you can expect your care team to listen to and address all of your concerns in a safe and trusted space.
A consultation for lichen sclerosus may include:
- A history and physical examination
- Biopsy of the affected area
Lichen sclerosus can be caused by many factors. Generally, the incidence of lichen sclerosus peaks twice in a woman’s life: once during adolescence and once in menopause.
CO2 laser therapy is an effective treatment option for lichen sclerosus for patients who have failed traditional treatment. It is not considered a first-line therapy treatment option. We’ve previously conducted a clinical trial at HerMD demonstrating improvement in treatment outcomes for patients treated with fractional CO2 laser therapy.
Lichen sclerosus causes a clitoral phimosis (i.e. scarring of the skin over the clitoris), which sometimes makes it harder to access tissue. As a result, clitoral stimulation and subsequent pleasure usually cannot be achieved.
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