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What treatments are available for lichen sclerosis?

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Quick Answer

Strong cortisone ointment or cream is the first line of defense for lichen sclerosus. Tacrolimus ointment, ultraviolet light treatments and retinoid drugs are used to treat lichen sclerosus that does not respond to cortisone, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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What treatments are available for lichen sclerosis?
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Full Answer

Lichen sclerosus is a condition that causes small white spots to develop on the skin. The small spots usually grow into bigger patches of thin skin with a crinkled appearance. Lichen sclerosus usually affects the skin around the genitals and anus, but it can also be found on the breasts, upper arms and upper body, reports the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

If lichen sclerosus appears on the upper body or upper arms, it usually goes away on its own without medical intervention. Lichen sclerosus around the genitals must be treated to prevent scarring that can interfere with sexual intercourse and urination, states the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Long-term use of cortisone creams or ointments sometimes causes stretch marks at the site of application, redness of the skin, genital yeast infections or thinning of the skin, so it is important for patients to see a doctor regularly while using cortisone to treat lichen sclerosus.

Lichen sclerosus is uncommon in men, but it sometimes develops around the foreskin of the penis. In this case, circumcision is done to remove the affected foreskin. Surgery is not as beneficial for women because lichen sclerosus patches removed from the female genital area often return, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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