Lichen sclerosus

21:55 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Lichen sclerosus?

It is an inflammatory skin condition that is not usually common and produces whitish plaques or spots in the genital and anal areas, which over time thin the skin and alters its pigmentation, cracking it and causing peeling and scars. Although lichen sclerosus can affect people of any age and gender, its incidence is higher in women over 50 years old. In children, it is sometimes confused with signs of sexual abuse, so it is important to see a dermatologist to identify the cause of the lesions. So far, the origin of this condition has not been identified, but it is known that immune and hormonal abnormalities play a role in its appearance. This condition is not contagious or transmissible through sexual intercourse, but if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly, it can cause complications such as:
  • Painful intercourse.
  • Urinary problems.
  • Constipation.
  • Trouble retracting the foreskin.
  • Certain predisposition to develop cancer in the affected areas.

Symptoms

Normally, the lesions appear on the vulva, foreskin, and anal area, but sometimes they can also affect the chest and upper limbs, the main symptoms being: 
  • Whitish or reddish spots.
  • Blisters that burst from sores that can bleed.
  • Painful intercourse.
  • Intense itching
  • Burning.
  • Pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

Once your dermatologist analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and take a biopsy of some of the lesions to examine them in the laboratory and confirm if it is lichen sclerosus. This condition has a high rate of recurrence, so even after treatment and the lesions have disappeared, they may come back. For this reason, the treatment is long-term and you will have to go to a regular follow-up appointment to monitor possible new outbreaks. The therapy consists of the prescription of corticosteroid cream to control itching, and burning, and help repair the affected skin. In cases of men whose foreskin is severely affected, circumcision is recommended to avoid complications. There are a series of recommendations that you can follow as a prevention mechanism or if you are undergoing treatment to help heal:
  • Maintain proper hygiene with mild and hypoallergenic soaps.
  • Gently dry skin without scrubbing.
  • Apply ice or cold compresses to soothe pain and burning.
  • Take an antihistamine before bed to minimize itching attacks.
  • Use lubricating creams or ointments in the areas of incidence or that are already injured.
At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes:

  • health.ny.gov
  • immunology.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Hinojal TI, Zamorano AB, Martínez MMÁ. Revisión del tratamiento actual del liquen escleroso vulvar. Arch Inv Mat Inf. 2020;11(2):82-90. doi:10.35366/101555.
  • Violini V, Romanello A, Samper A. Liquen escleroatrófico extragenital: serie de casos. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2019;47(1):60-64.
  • Enríquez-Merino J, Ramos-Garibay A, López-López AM. Tratamiento quirúrgico del liquen escleroso en genitales masculinos. Rev Cent Dermatol Pascua. 2019;28(1):25-29.
  • Benvenuti MJ, Vignale R, Civila E. Liquen escleroso posquemadura solar. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2003;31(6):377-379.

						
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