The symptoms of lichen sclerosus include itching, white spots on the skin, easy bruising and discomfort, according to Mayo Clinic. Lichen sclerosus usually affects the skin around the anus, the foreskin of the penis or the skin of the vulva.
Lichen sclerosus causes the skin to take on a patchy, white appearance. The skin of the affected area is also thinner than normal, as reported by Mayo Clinic. As of January 2015, doctors do not know what causes lichen sclerosus, but some theorize it is caused by an overactive immune system or a decrease in sex hormones in the affected area. In severe cases, lichen sclerosus causes ulcerated lesions or blisters to form. Some people with this condition also experience pain during sexual intercourse.
Many cases of lichen sclerosus improve without treatment. If the lichen sclerosus is severe, or it is around the anus or genitals, there are treatments available to relieve itching and reduce scarring. Applying cortisone ointment or cream to the affected area helps relieve some symptoms. Immune-modulating medications help regulate the activity of the immune system. In men with lichen sclerosus of the foreskin, removing the foreskin may be necessary if the problem does not respond to other treatments, according to Mayo Clinic.