Other Names for this Disease
- Lichen sclerosis
- Lichen sclerosis et atrophicus
- Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus
Your QuestionMy doctor told me I have lichen sclerosis. What is this condition?
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Symptoms vary depending on the area affected. Patients experience different degrees of discomfort. When lichen sclerosus occurs on parts of the body other than the genital area, most often there are no symptoms, other than itching. If the disease is severe, bleeding, tearing, and blistering caused by rubbing or bumping the skin can cause pain.
Although no other treatments produce the striking and prompt benefit of strong glucocorticoids, other treatments have been successful in some patients. Tacrolimus (Protopic) ointment has been reported to benefit some patients, but more research is needed to confirm this. Tacrolimus is a steroid-free ointment; it is not a corticosteroid. Tacrolimus has no apparent side effects other than local irritation in some patients.
Sometimes, people do not respond to the ultrapotent topical corticosteroid. Other factors, such as low estrogen levels, an infection, irritation, or allergy to the medication, can keep symptoms from clearing up. Your doctor may need to treat these as well. If you feel that you are not improving as you would expect, talk to your doctor. 
- What Is Lichen Sclerosus?. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) . 2009; http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Lichen_Sclerosus/default.asp. Accessed 1/8/2013.
- Edwards L. Diseases and Disorders of the Anogenitalia of Females. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine, 6th edition. Philadelphia, PA: 2003;
- Meffert J. Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus Clinical Presentation. Medscape Reference. 2011; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1123316-clinical#a0218. Accessed 8/31/2012.