Lichen sclerosus is a chronic condition that causes white, patchy, thin areas on your skin. It can occur anywhere on your body, but usually affects skin around the anus or on the vulva. Lichen sclerosus isn’t contagious, but it can cause additional bothersome symptoms including discomfort or pain, severe itching, skin that’s easily bruised or torn, blisters, bleeding, and pain during intercourse.
Although lichen sclerosus is rare, it can affect anyone and is much more likely among in women after menopause. Children who develop it may experience improvements during puberty. Trauma to the penis has been linked with lichen sclerosus in men.
The precise cause of lichen sclerosus remains unknown, but an overactive immune system, autoimmune disorders, or hormone imbalances may contribute. These hormonal shifts are one reason menopausal women are more prone to the condition. Your risk may also increase if you have previously damaged skin areas.
Lichen sclerosus may improve on its own, especially if it doesn’t affect your genital region. If it does affect your anus or genitals, however, or you experience severe or long-lasting symptoms elsewhere, treatment can help reduce itching and improve your skin’s appearance, guarding against scars.
Prescription cortisone (steroid) creams and ointments are commonly used to treat lichen sclerosus. You’ll likely use them daily at first, then less often for maintenance depending on your doctor’s guidance. Light and laser therapies can also help, particularly if cortisone treatments haven’t been effective.
MonaLisa Touch uses medical lasers to restore even the most delicate skin tissue in a safe, noninvasive procedure. Through a series of up to 4-6 sessions spaced about 4 weeks apart, it can help minimize the need for steroids and reduce menopause symptoms exacerbated by lichen sclerosis. Applying cool gel packs periodically for 20 minutes at a time every few hours for 24-48 hours after laser therapy can help minimize any skin sensitivity.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!