Lichen Sclerosus Treatment Tips

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Lichen sclerosus is a rare condition that creates patchy, white skin that's thinner than normal. It usually persists for years, and can cause permanent scarring. Lichen sclerosus may affect skin on any part of your body, but most often involves skin of the vulva, foreskin of the skin around the anus. LS may be associated with an increased risk of developing vulval or penile cancer. The cause of iichen sclerosus active immune system and hormone problems. It is also thought that people inherit the likelihood of getting the disease. Sometimes, lichen sclerosus appears on skin that has been damaged or scarred from some other previous injury. The symptoms of LS are thinning skin, white patches of skin, itching and/or burning and sores or lesions resulting from scratching.

The most common sufferers of LS are post-menopausal women, although the disease can strike women of any age -- including young girls. In women, lichen sclerosus results in a white thickening of the skin of the vulva. It can be localised to one small area or involving the perineum, labia majora, labia minora, fourchette and clitoris. Sometimes the clitoris disappears, the labia (lips) can shrink and the entrance to the tightens. It too becomes firm and white and narrowing of the urethral opening makes passing urine difficult. In men, this genital involvement has traditionally been known as balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO). LS, both genital and extragenital, has no known racial predilection.

Strong topical steroid creams or ointments (especially clobetasol propionate) are very helpful for lichen sclerosus. Moisturising creams help soothe the skin and sometimes anaesthetic creams or gels are beneficial. Healthy skin needs vitamins C and E, and zinc, so the diet should be abundant in these. Circumcision (removal of the foreskin) may be needed in some affected men or boys. Surgery to remove the entire vulva (vulvectomy) is reserved for the most severe cases. Wash gently in a shower or bath with plain water alone or with a non-soap cleanser. Try to avoid rubbing and scratching. Antibiotics are needed when infection is present and anti-fungal treatments are required for thrush. Other options are cryotherapy, and laser therapy.

Lichen Sclerosus Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Moisturising creams help soothe the skin.

2. Vitamins C and E, and zinc, so the diet should be abundant in these

3. Topical hydrocortisone should not be used over a long period of time.

4. Topical steroid creams or ointments (clobetasol propionate) are very helpful for lichen sclerosus.

5. Circumcision (removal of the foreskin) may be needed in some affected men or boys.

Juliet Cohen writes articles for Women Health. She also writes articles for Makeup and Hairstyles.

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