Lichen Sclerosus Treatment in Barrington, IL
Lichen sclerosus (LS), also known as white spot disease, is a rare, chronic condition of the skin causing patchy, thinner-than-normal white skin to form on your body. Though the condition most commonly affects the genital and anal areas, it can affect skin anywhere on your body. For instance, the upper body, breasts and upper arms are sometimes affected.
Though the illness is rare, the most commonly affected are postmenopausal people. Lichen sclerosus is not contagious and cannot be spread through sexual intercourse. However, lichen sclerosus can make sex extremely painful in individuals with narrowed vaginal openings due to the itching and scarring caused by the condition, which may affect the ability or desire to have sexual intercourse. In rarer cases, people with uncircumcised penises who are affected by lichen sclerosus may experience tightening and thinning of their foreskin, which may cause problems during an erection or when urinating.
Though lichen sclerosus is a life-long condition, treatment exists to improve the quality of life of those affected with it. To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Barrington that specializes in lichen sclerosus treatment, call (847) 393-4057 or contact Dr. David Van Dam online.
Lichen Sclerosus Causes
The exact cause of lichen sclerosus is not yet known. Scientists believe that an overactive immune system and hormonal imbalance may be at play. Though menopause appears to play a role in development of lichen sclerosus, the disease also occurs rarely in children and adults who do not experience menopause. Lichen sclerosus usually involves the external genitalia, specifically the vulva or foreskin. In children who experience the condition, symptoms may improve at puberty.
Lichen Sclerosus Symptoms
Mild cases of lichen sclerosus may not present noticeable symptoms at all. When they do present, lichen sclerosus symptoms may include:
- Itching (pruritus), which may be severe
- Discomfort or pain
- Smooth white spots on your skin
- Blotchy, wrinkled patches
- Easy bruising or tearing
- In severe cases, bleeding, blistering or ulcerated lesions
- Painful intercourse
Skin cancer may rarely develop in lichen sclerosus-affected areas of skin. Though the condition does not directly cause skin cancer, lichen sclerosus on or around the anus or genitals may predispose a patient to vulvar, penile, or anal cancer. As such, it may be beneficial to see your healthcare provider regularly after treatment for lichen sclerosus.
Lichen Sclerosus Treatment
Your healthcare provider can usually identify lichen sclerosus during a physical examination; a biopsy of the affected tissue may be conducted in which a small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
Lichen sclerosus treatment may include corticosteroid ointments or creams which are applied to the affected skin daily, and then after several weeks, twice a week to prevent recurrence. Your healthcare provider will likely monitor you for the side effects associated with prolonged use of corticosteroids, such as further skin thinning.
If corticosteroids prove ineffective, your healthcare provider may recommend other treatment approaches, such as immune-modulating medications, platelet-rich plasma injections and ultraviolent light treatment (for non-genital areas). Research has not yet explored the underpinnings of a lichen sclerosus diet, though an internet search may yield a number of sources claiming (though unsubstantiated) that certain diets, such as a gluten-free diet or a sugar-limiting diet, can help ease your symptoms. It is important to discuss diet with your healthcare provider who can best assess what nutritional options will work best to optimize your treatment plan.
Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Barrington that specializes in lichen sclerosus treatment. Call (847) 393-4057 or contact Dr. David Van Dam online.
Van Dam Dermatology & Laser Center
Address738 W. Northwest Highway
Barrington, IL 60010
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm