Although the exact causes of lichen sclerosus are unknown, as of 2015, some possible causes include immune system problems and sex hormone imbalances, according to Mayo Clinic. Genetic predisposition to the development of lichen sclerosus has been suggested as a possible origin of the condition.
Doctors take skin biopsies to determine if a patient has lichen sclerosus, states the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The disease has been known to appear on areas that have sustained injury in the past, and women are more likely to develop lichen sclerosus, especially during menopause, claims Mayo Clinic. Lichen sclerosus is not a widespread condition, and it is most often noted on the skin around the genitals. Symptoms can be mild or severe and include itchiness on the afflicted area and white patches that eventually become discolored or wrinkled. More severe symptoms include patches that become open cuts and bruising.
Treatment of lichen sclerosus varies and depends on the severity of the disease and the type of patient, asserts the NIAMS. Generally, the condition does not require treatment if the white patches go away on their own. For patches near the genitals, treatment is recommended and often includes cortisone creams. Circumcision is a viable treatment method for men with genital lichen sclerosus.