Lichen sclerosus and lichen planus both affect your vulva, causing discomfort, itching, and painful intercourse. The doctors at The Ob-Gyn Center encourage you to come in for treatment at the first sign of skin changes around the vaginal opening because lichen sclerosus and lichen planus don’t improve on their own. On the contrary, your symptoms will progressively worsen. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Las Vegas, Nevada, or use the online booking feature.
Lichen sclerosus and lichen planus are both inflammatory skin conditions that affect the vulva, which is the area around the vaginal opening. Both conditions progressively worsen without treatment, but they cause different skin lesions:
This condition causes patchy areas of white plaques that typically affect the vulva but can extend to the anus. In the affected areas, your skin becomes thin and fragile, easily tearing and bleeding. Although the cause of lichen sclerosus remains unknown, it may be an autoimmune condition or caused by a hormonal imbalance.
Lichen planus causes purplish bumps on the skin of your vulva. If it spreads to mucous membranes in your vagina, it forms red, painful ulcers. Lichen planus is known to be an autoimmune reaction that arises from many possible triggers including hepatitis C, NSAIDs, and other medications.
Beyond skin lesions, both conditions may cause additional symptoms, such as painful intercourse, pain in the affected areas, and itching that’s sometimes severe.
If the conditions worsen, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus can cause acute pain and scarring that may cover the vaginal opening. However, it’s important to know that they’re not contagious and the condition doesn’t spread to your partner during sexual intercourse.
The first line of treatment for both skin conditions is topical steroid creams to reduce itching, improve the skin’s appearance, and lower the risk of scarring. Topical estrogen may promote healing of lichen planus, while topical calcineurin inhibitors may be prescribed for lichen sclerosus if it doesn’t respond to steroid creams.
The team at The Ob-Gyn Center have extensive experience using the MonaLisa Touch to effectively treat lichen sclerosus and lichen planus. Using a specially designed applicator that’s shaped to treat both sides of the vulva, the fractional CO2 laser sends tiny beams of energy into the vulvar tissues.
Heat from the laser triggers new production of tissues such as collagen and blood vessels. After several treatments, the skin’s color and overall health improve, while itching and pain are diminished or eliminated.*
If you notice white patchy skin, purplish bumps, or you develop vulvar itching and pain, call The Ob-Gyn Center or book an appointment online.
*Individual results may vary.