Lichen sclerosus (LS) is also known as lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (LSetA) and is a disease of unknown origin that results in white patches on the skin that can cause scarring on the genital or perianal areas.
The condition occurs mostly among post-menopausal women and is not common in children and men. When Lichen sclerosis is found in men it is called balanitis xerotica obliterans. The condition is not contagious.
When found in men the condition may cause a whitish thickening of the foreskin that cannot be retracted easily (phimosis) along with painful erections. Lichen sclerosis tends to occur more frequently among uncircumcised men than circumcised men.
The skin may tear easily and bright red or purple bruises are common along with bleeding, itching, and blisters. Swelling of the skin, overgrowth of the skin, loss of skin tissue, and inflammation are also common symptoms. There may be a shrinkage of the skin of the vulva and vagina that is accompanied by a chronic inflammation in the deeper tissues.
While there is no cure for Lichen sclerosis improved hygiene and minimizing scratching of the infected area are an important part of treatment. Ultrapotent corticosteroids such as betamethasone dipropionate, clobetasol dipropionate, diflorasone diacetate, and halobetasol propionate may be prescribed to stop itching within days or a couple of weeks.
Prolonged use of ultrapotent corticosteroids may enable the skin to regain its texture and strength. Recent studies in females indicate that the injection of PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) and stems cells into the affected site may reduce symptoms and improve lesions.