Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus: an Uncommon But Serious Issue
When women experience pain and itching on their genitals, a rare skin condition is the furthest thing from their minds. But postmenopausal women should be aware of the signs and risks of an uncommon skin condition whose initial symptoms can be easily confused with many more common vaginal and vulvar health issues.
Vulvar lichen sclerosus is an uncommon, chronic skin condition that creates white patches of thinning skin that can easily bruise, tear and scar. It is typically seen in postmenopausal women over age 50 and is most likely to affect the vulva and anus. Even with treatment, it can last for years and cause permanent scarring and other complications.
Some people have no symptoms, while others may experience itchiness, burning, discomfort, blistering and in severe cases scarring that can affect bodily functions. However, despite causing discomfort or pain during sex, vulvar lichen sclerosus isn't contagious and cannot be spread through sexual intercourse.
Signs and symptoms of vulvar lichen sclerosus affect the genital and anal areas including the vulva, labia, clitoris, perineal area and the perirectal area. Women may also see patches on the skin of the upper body, upper arms and breasts.