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What are the early symptoms of lichen sclerosis?

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Quick Answer

The appearance of white spots on the skin is one of the main symptoms that occurs in the early stages of lichen sclerosis, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. These white spots first appear smooth and shiny and later expand in size and become wrinkled and thin. Areas of the skin affected by these symptoms are more prone to bruising and tearing and will generally itch and feel painful.

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Full Answer

Lichen sclerosis can affect women after menopause, is uncommon in men and even more rare in children, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. While the exact cause of lichen sclerosis is unknown, some physicians believe that hormone issues and overactive immune systems may be determining factors that cause the disease.

Doctors can diagnose lichen sclerosis by visually inspecting the skin but may take a skin sample and order a biopsy if necessary. Skin samples are examined under a microscope to determine the exact nature of the white spots and to also rule out the possibility of the spots being another disease.

The patches or spots that form as a result of lichen sclerosis do not require treatment if they are on the upper body or arms because they are likely to heal on their own with the passage of time. Treatment in the form or surgery or circumcision may be required for men that have patches in or around their genital area, while surgery is much less effective for women with lichen sclerosis.

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