Lichen Sclerosus is a skin condition that is characterized by itchy, sticky skin mainly in the genital area. It typically affects post-menopausal women, but it can also trouble younger women as well. Unfortunately, many physicians are not familiar with the condition, how to recognize it ort how to trea it, and as a result, lichen sclerosus particularly in the subtle to mild stages is often overlooked (click here).
Facts about lichen sclerosus
Some women have a genetic predisposition to Lichen Sclerosus, but most have never heard about the disorder. Women may notice subtle whitening on their vulva, but this does not show up in all the cases. As it advances many women develop tissue cracks and paper-like cuts commonly in the inter-labial areas, periclitoral area or at the base of the vagina. This makes the latter area is prone to tearing with intercourse.
In addition to itching which is the predominate symptom, lichen sclerosus can cause burning pain when the tissues crack or fissure. In advanced cases, the vulva skin may shrink causing irritation to the clitoris and evening narrowing the opening of the vagina. These changes to the genital area can result in difficulty with intercourse over time. Also, if the condition is not properly suppressed, about 5% of women go on to develop vulvar squamous cell cancer of the vulva.
Researchers are not sure what causes lichen sclerosus, but they believe it may be an autoimmune related disorder. There is no cure for the condition, but it can be managed and controlled. Is is in the same class as other more common dermatoses including ezcema, psoriasis, and seborrhea.
How to Treat Lichen Sclerosus
Traditional treatment for lichen sclerosus was progesterone cream then testosterone cream and now replaced by more effective topical corticosteroid ointments. These are particularly effective if used in the proper potencies and duration. Too many physicians just use a superpotent corticosteriod for brief periods of time then nothing to be followed by relapse.
The experts in vaginal disorders at Fowler GYN International (FGI) point out the need for for proper potency use to get the condition under suppression and then low dose maintenance therapy to keep it suppressed. Maintenance therapy is particularly important as it will help prevent the reoccurrence of symptoms, and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
If you are interested in understanding more about how to treat Lichen Sclerosus, contact Dr. R. Stuart Fowler at FGI. You can set up an appointment by calling 480-420-4001, or go online to http://www.fowlergyninternational.com/contact-us.