When Should You See a Doctor About Lichen Sclerosus?

The annoying vulva itch is the issue most women with lichen sclerosus complain about the most.  The itching is often so bad at night that some women have trouble sleeping.  This causes REM deprivation which cause other symptoms similar to menopause. Since lichen sclerosus is a progressive disease, the sooner you begin treatment, the better.  But when should you see your doctor about lichen sclerosus? 

What Is Lichen Sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is a chronic skin condition characterized by itching of the external genitalia, which includes the labia minora, labia majora, clitoral hood, and the vestibule.  The disorder also causes the skin to become thin, white, and wrinkly over time.  The increased fragility of the skin makes it susceptible to small tears from scratching, intercourse or exercising.  Lichen sclerosus occurs very often in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women.  

When Should You See A Doctor About Lichen Sclerosus?

If you notice any changes to the skin of the vulva or experience itching, pain, or burning around the vulva, it’s time to see your doctor about lichen sclerosus. Your doctor will be able to diagnose lichen sclerosus based on the symptoms described and a physical examination.  

When lichen sclerosus is not treated early, it can lead to the narrowing of the vaginal opening,  scarring of the clitoral hood, and regression of the labia minora, among other issues.   Early recognition and prompt treatment increase the likelihood of successful treatment. 

Lichen sclerosus is often not easily recognized in the early stages, so it is essential to consult with a gynecologist with solid knowledge of the disease, for an accurate diagnosis. Skin biopsy is not necessary to make the diagnosis.

Lichen Sclerosus

Treatment For Lichen Sclerosus

There is no cure for lichen sclerosus, but doctors can manage it effectively using customized treatment protocols using  corticosteroids. In the past the primary treatments were testosterone and progesterone. Now the primary therapy is corticosteriods.

With the right treatment, it’s possible to get lichen sclerosus symptoms under control and go on to enjoy a happy, pain-free itch-free life. Unfortunately, the most common is use of supra-potent corticosteriods in an episodic fashion.  It was established by Emeritus Mayo Clinic physician, board-certified gynecologist Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Are you struggling with vaginal issues that doctors have been unable to diagnose?  Contact the experts in vaginal care at Fowler GYN International (FGI), Phoenix, AZ for a consultation.  You can reach them at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/ , or by calling (480) 420-4001. 

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