A chronic skin disease, of unknown origin, and is thought to be associated with autoimmune disease such as thyroid disorders or vitiligo, with possible genetic implications for the predisposed. Affects more women, than men, and mainly affects the skin in the genital region.
May be known by a variety of other names such as Csillag’s Disease, White Spot Disease, Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO), and others equally hard to pronounce. In 1989 the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD) called for the use of one name and Lichen sclerosus (LS) was chosen, and has become the official medical name.
The main symptom is usually itching, with white patches appearing on the genital skin of the vulva, and sometimes anus. These patches look wrinkled and shiny, and may be sore and burn. The skin may crack, or split, and scratching may cause more damage. The vagina is usually not involved. If left untreated, scarring and atrophy (shrinkage) may occur. Alternatively, there may be no symptoms at all.
May be diagnosed visually by a doctor who is familiar with the condition, but a biopsy, under local anaesthetic, is usually performed to confirm diagnosis. Treatment is a strong, steroid ointment which can safely be applied to the skin in the genital area. May increase your risk factor of contracting vulvar cancer, and sufferers are advised to have regular checks.
Australian & New Zealand Vulvavaginal Society (ANZVS)
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