Lichen Sclerosis is a skin disease. It can affect men, women or children, but it's more common in postmenopausal women. This disease makes normal skin turn thin, white in color and itchy. Lichen Sclerosis primarily affects the genital area, but other parts of the body can be affected, too.
The first symptoms of this disease are usually small, white spots that have a shiny texture. Over time, the spots grow larger and the skin becomes thin and crinkled. At this point, the skin begins to tear easily and then bleeding and purple discoloration occur.
More severe symptoms
As the disease progresses severe scarring causes complications especially in the genital area. On women, the inner lips of the vulva can actually shrink or disappear. The disease can cause the clitoris to get covered with scar tissue and the opening of the vagina narrows.
Lichen sclerosis typically occurs in men who are uncircumcised. The disease makes the foreskin of the penis scar, tighten and shrink over the head of the penis.
General symptoms of Lichen Sclerosis
Cause of the disease
The cause of Lichen Sclerosis is unknown. Many doctors think that an overactive immune system may be the cause. Certain people may have a genetic tendency towards this disease, and abnormal hormone levels could be involved.
Other scientists think that infectious bacteria may cause Lichen Sclerosis. They think that getting this infection affects your immune system making you more susceptible to the disease.
Menopausal women with other auto-immune disease are more likely to get Lichen Sclerosis, thus it seem likely that this disease is auto-immune related.
Unfortunately, Lichen Sclerosis is incurable, but there are treatments that can help ease some of the symptoms and repair the damaged skin.
Who treats Lichen Sclerosis?
The best doctor to see for treatment depends upon what skin areas have been affected by the disease. These doctors can help provide an early and accurate diagnosis.
Lichen Sclerosis is a painful skin disease that affects men, women and children. It's a difficult disease to diagnosis and many doctors are unfamiliar with its symptoms. Fortunately, there are treatments to help ease the pain and discomfort of this rare disease.