Lichen Slcerosus

Arizona Specialized Gynecology

Vulvovaginal Disease Specialists located in Phoenix, AZ

Chronic itchy skin or white patches around your genitals may be a sign of lichen sclerosus, an autoimmune condition. If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms or vulvar pain, Joseph Brooks, MD, with Arizona Specialized Gynecology is a specialist in gynecological vulvovaginal diseases, such as lichen sclerosus. He diagnoses your condition and provides treatment, including topical steroid creams and O-Shot® therapy. Get the care you deserve today by calling the Phoenix office or booking a consultation online.

Lichen Sclerosus Q & A

What is lichen sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is a noncontagious autoimmune disease that causes chronic itchy skin disease, mainly affecting the skin around your genitals. In women, the condition affects the skin of your vulva and surrounding areas, not your vagina.

Lichen sclerosus affects women more than men, and it can occur in children. Since autoimmune diseases run in families, if your parent has lichen sclerosus, you have a greater risk of also having the disease.

Having lichen sclerosus also increases your chances of developing cancer. Cancer occurs in about 5% of people with lichen sclerosus.

What are the symptoms of lichen sclerosus?

The most common symptom is itching. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Soreness and burning
  • Pale, white skin
  • White patches around the vulva extending to the anus
  • Split skin that stings and is painful
  • Small purplish or red areas
  • Shrinkage or scarring of vulvar tissue
  • Vulvar pain or problems with sexual intercourse or urination

Some people may exhibit no symptoms at all and are diagnosed when their genital area is examined for another reason.

How is lichen sclerosus diagnosed?

Dr. Brooks is familiar with the disease and may be able to diagnose your condition by looking at your skin. He may confirm the diagnosis by taking a biopsy, which is a small tissue sample. The biopsy is performed at Arizona Specialized Gynecology’s office with a local anesthetic. Your tissue sample is then reviewed under a microscope to determine whether you have lichen sclerosus.

How is lichen sclerosus treated?

Although lichen sclerosus isn’t curable, Dr. Brooks recommends treatment to keep your symptoms under control and prevent further inflammation and scarring. Your treatment may include:

  • Topical steroid ointment, such as clobetasol
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) filled O-shot therapy

The O-Shot is a nonsurgical procedure that uses growth factors derived from your own plasma. The plasma is then specially treated and injected into your vulval area to help promote healing and rejuvenation.

In addition, you may wish to begin using moisturizers, such as an emollient ointment like Aquaphor or emu oil, to help to soothe your skin. You’ll want to see Dr. Brooks for regular checkups every three to six months.

If you’ve been struggling with painful itching skin, you can rely on Dr. Brooks for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Call today or schedule a consultation online.