Lichen Sclerosus Q & A
Lichen sclerosus is a relatively uncommon skin condition, mostly affecting the genital and anal areas. Lichen sclerosus initially creates small, white patches in the skin that are shiny or smooth, and thinner than normal skin. These patches can grow into bigger areas and are prone to:
This skin condition can affect other parts of the body outside the genital and anal regions, but most cases present in these areas.
Lichen sclerosus is generally found in women going through menopause, yet it can occur at any age. It’s cause is unknown. Many believe that the hormone imbalance brought on by menopause plays a role in the onset of the condition. There is some evidence to suggest that overactive immune systems may also play a part in lichen sclerosus.
What is the treatment for lichen sclerosus?
Traditionally, lichen sclerosus treatments consisted of topical steroid ointments applied directly to the affected area. In recent years, health care providers have begun using laser therapy to treat the condition — with incredible results.
For example, the MonaLisa Touch® laser, when applied directly to the affected area, creates micro lesions that trigger a rejuvenation and repair response in the tissue. Collagen production and blood flow to the area are also augmented, adding elasticity and hydration to the tissue. Laser-therapy treatment is noninvasive, so there is little chance of further damage to the delicate skin patches caused by lichen sclerosus. A recent study has proven the effectiveness of laser treatment for lichen schlerous.
If you are suffering from lichen sclerosus, talk to Dr. Eden about which treatment would be best for you and whether using the MonaLisa Touch laser is an option for treating your symptoms.
Is there any permanent damage with lichen sclerosus?
Mitigating the discomforts that accompany this skin condition is reason enough to seek prompt medical attention, and the earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better. Left untreated, the delicate skin affected by lichen sclerosus can scar permanently, which increases the chances of skin cancer. Untreated patches may grow and tear, which could lead to painful bleeding and infection.
Nine months ago I was diagnosed with lichen sclerosus, a condition I had never heard of, but which can cause painful sex, scarring, and an increased cancer risk. It was spotted by a physical therapist that I was visiting to try to deal with painful intercourse issues. Thankfully, she advised me to seek out a gynecologist that has a specialization in this condition because many doctors are completely ignorant about it. I was very fortunate that I found Dr. Eden, who has very successfully helped me to get this condition under control. She is a very intelligent, thoughtful, and sensitive doctor, and takes plenty of time to address all of my questions and concerns. She understands that women can be traumatized by years of painful sex, and is as gentle and unintrusive in her exams as possible. I am happy to say that following the course of therapy she has recommended has allowed me to resume normal sexual relations, which had become impossible due to the lichen sclerosus. It is a bit frustrating having to get insurance to reimburse me for appointment costs (they won’t cover the laser treatments), but I think it is worth the cost and effort to have a doctor that I have so much confidence in. Highly recommend. – LB