Lichen Sclerosus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Lichen sclerosus is a problem of the skin. It generally has an effect on the anal and genital areas. At times, lichen sclerosus becomes visible on the upper arms, breasts, and other upper body areas.

This disease is more common in women, in particular after menopause rather than in men and children.


Lichen sclerosus is not transmittable. Until now, the cause of this disease is unknown. According to few doctors, the cause behind this disease can be hormonal problems and too active immune system. At times, lichen sclerosus comes into view on skin that has been scarred or damaged from some previous injury. A few people may perhaps have a hereditary predisposition towards this disease. Some scientists consider that spirochete; an infectious bacterium may possibly bring the alterations in the immune system that causes this disease.


Initially, undersized white spots become visible on the skin. The spots are generally smooth and shiny. Later on, the marks develop into bigger patches. The patchy skin grows to be wrinkled and skinny. In that case, the skin splits easily, in addition to purple or bright red marks are common. At times, the skin turns out to be blemished. If the ailment is a mild case, it may show no symptoms at all. Few other signs include blisters, bleeding, pain or discomfort, and itching.

Lichen sclerosus of the vulva might cause severe burning that hampers with daily activities and sleep. Scratching or rubbing to ease the itching can produce painful bruising and sores, as a result women should keep away from riding bicycles, tampons, tight clothing, sexual intercourse, and other general activities that require friction or pressure. Bleeding, pain, or burning is experienced during urination, in particular during intercourse. When this disease occurs in the region of anus, the uneasiness can cause constipation (in children).


Individuals suffering from lichen sclerosus of non-genital skin generally do not require treatment since the signs generally fade away with time and are very mild.

On the other hand, lichen sclerosus of the genital skin must be treated, since it can cause scarring that may possibly contract openings in the genital part and hamper with either sexual intercourse or urination or both. There is also a possibility of developing cancer.

Treatment includes applying ointments or cortisone cream on the affected area. The ointments include Tacrolimus ointment, Retinoids, and ultraviolet light treatments.