What are the symptoms of lichen sclerosus?

If you have a mild case of lichen sclerosus, you may not experience any symptoms. If do not have any symptoms, your health care provider will have to diagnose lichen sclerosus during your gynecologic exam. Symptomatic lichen sclerosus may cause an itching feeling, pain during urination, or pain during intercourse. You may also experience bleeding and blisters in the perineal area.

Common symptoms of lichen sclerosus

You may experience lichen sclerosus symptoms daily or just once in a while. These symptoms can vary in intensity among individuals and include:

  • Difficult or painful urination, or burning with urination (dysuria)
  • Itching feeling
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Rash
  • Skin discoloration
  • Slow-healing wounds or bruises

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

Women who initially respond to treatment may have a recurrence of burning, pain and irritation. In some cases, lichen sclerosus is associated with bacterial infections such as those caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. This persistent condition may also be related to chronic pain of the vulva called vulvodynia. In very rare cases, lichen sclerosus can lead to skin cancer of the perineum (area between the anus and genitals). Seek prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Bleeding
  • Blisters
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Persistently open lesions
  • Thickened skin that fails to respond to treatment

What is lichen sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is a benign and progressive skin disease that most often affects the genital area. This chronic skin condition cannot be cured but can be controlled. Lichen sclerosus is marked by itching and pain in the genital area. The skin near the opening of the vagina, called the perineum, becomes thin and inflamed. This skin disorder is common in women after menopause. Lichen sclero... Read more about lichen sclerosusintroduction


What causes lichen sclerosus?

It is not known what causes lichen sclerosus. Some health care providers believe that lichen sclerosus is caused by an overactive immune system or a hormonal imbalance. Genetic or inherited factors may play a role in its development. Lichen sclerosus is not contagious. Lichen sclerosus may appear on skin that is damaged or scarred from a previous injury. In women, lichen sclerosus occurs most commonly after menopause.... Read more about lichen sclerosuscauses


How is lichen sclerosus treated?

Lichen sclerosus is a chronic disease for which there is no cure. However, with proper treatment and follow-up, lichen sclerosus can be effectively controlled.... Read more about lichen sclerosustreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

Top Features in Skin, Hair and Nails

15 Ways To Get Better Medicine

People who are actively involved in their medical care stay healthier, recover quicker when they're ill, and live longer, healthier lives.