What is Lichen Sclerosus?
Our board-certified Austin, TX dermatologists offer compassionate care to individuals with skin conditions that can cause a disruption in life. Lichen sclerosus, a skin condition, that if not addressed, can lead to long-term problems, mostly seen in women and includes small white, shiny spots on the skin that can grow and become larger and widespread. These small growths commonly appear in post-menopausal women and can appear on the arms or upper body, but also can affect the genital area, which is why the condition is known as a vulvar disorder. If not treated, these spots can turn into bigger plaques, can tear the skin, and cause itching, bleeding, and inflamed blisters. This condition is not contagious and while it can go away on its own in some cases, treatment is usually required and recommended.
What Causes Lichen Sclerosus?
During your appointment with our dermatology center, we will ask for a medical history and do a complete examination to determine your diagnosis and the extent of the condition. The cause is somewhat unknown but researchers believe it may be the result of hormonal imbalances or an overactive immune system. For these reasons, this condition is uncommon among children and men.
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"Dr. Snyder is very nice and professional. She answered my questions and ran my exam smoothly and quickly. Her bedside manner was great and she made sure to confirm and explain each thing she was doing when she made a biopsy.She also made sure I didn't have any questions at the end before leaving."- L.L. / ZocDoc / Aug 30, 2018
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How to Treat Lichen Sclerosus
In most cases, if the patches of red scales and spots appear on the upper body, such as the arms, treatment is usually not needed and the symptoms go away on their own. However, if the condition appears within the genital region, treatment should be sought even if the patches do not cause an issue. Without treatment, they can worsen and interfere with sexual intercourse, urination, or possibly turn into a skin cancer. Treatment usually includes a strong prescription ointment or cortisone cream, which helps stop any itching. Surgical removal can also be considered, but in many cases, once the lesions are removed, there is a chance they can come back. Our doctors will assess your diagnosis and provide a treatment plan that is effective, as well as helps prevent the condition from recurring.
While lichen sclerosus can be treated, if left alone, it could turn into skin cancer. While the condition itself doesn't lead to cancer, the affected skin is at risk. This is especially seen among women where the condition forms on the vulva, which could develop into vulvar cancer. Severe lichen sclerosus can create a number of painful symptoms for women, thus we recommend treatment as soon as symptoms appear.
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Lichen sclerosus is a skin disorder that generally requires treatment if it is labeled as a vulvar disorder, which affects the genital region in women. If you have patches of scaly skin, inflamed or red spots that sound like lichen sclerosus, we invite you to call our dermatology office to learn more and to schedule an assessment. Treatment can help clear up this condition and we are here to help you.