What is Lichen Sclerosus (LS) and what are treatment options?
Lichen Sclerosus (LS), is an incurable skin condition that causes major discomfort. LS has a preference for the skin/tissues of the valva and anal region. Athough it can occur in anyone, post menopausal females are the highest at risk. There are alternative treatments being studied to improve the condition in ways the standard treatment does not. Clinical studies and trials have shown evidence that PRP, Radiofrequency and CO2 fractional lasers are effective treatments. There is still a lack of medical understanding about the causes of LS.
VSPOT solution to Lichen Sclerosus:
VSPOT medical providers offer treatments for a variety of female conditions that are minimally invasive with little to no downtime. Lichen sclerosus treatments are tailored to each case following a consultation and thorough assessment of symptoms. Treatment methods are combined to maximize results using localized PRP injections with Radiofrequency or CO2 fractional laser dependent on the needs of the patient. With patience and monitoring, clients regain sexual function and see a decrease in symptoms over the course of treatment. Scheduling a consultation with a VSPOT medical provider is complementary to evaluate their symptoms and treatment options.
VSPOT Technology and Pain-free Treatments
Radio Frequency is reported to be beneficial in all cases of LS, though some patients received better results than others. Radio frequency treatments promote healing by stimulating fibroblast (A healing factor of the skin) while the standard treatment does not have regenerative properties. It is a safe procedure with minimal or no discomfort that provides great relief of symptoms. It repairs the structures of the skin to regain sexual function and helps to remove painful lesions on the skin. Unlike steroids, when radiofrequency is performed properly, there are no adverse reactions or side effects to report. The Ultrafemme 360 stimulates the skin at a therapeutic temperature for optimal treatment and safety. Treatments are modified depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Radio frequency can help reverse the negative side effects from steroid use.
PRP is platelet rich plasma sourced from your own blood and is composed of your body’s own regenerating cells. It was traditionally used in sports injuries to repair torn ligaments, tendons, or tissue after severe injuries and is now adapted to treat many conditions as it is your own healing mechanism that can be localized to induce restoration of any part of the body. It is a very promising treatment for LS. It promotes skin cell regeneration of the affected areas to improve the overall health of the skin without any side effects. Case studies have shown it can restore sexual funtion and elasticity of skin. In one case study, PRP alone restored a patient’s vulvar skin to ideal function and removed all visible signs or lichen lesions. PRP requires monthly sessions and follow-up to individualize the therapy dependent on the patient.
Tips for lichen sclerosus:
Here are some tips to manage your symptoms
- Do not scratch, rub, or itch as this could increase discomfort
- Wear breathable or cotton underwear. Avoid synthetic underwear
- Wear loose fitting clothing. Avoid tight fitting clothing (especially tights)
- Avoid the use of scented soaps, detergents, or bubble baths
- Never apply harsh soaps
- Use your fingertips for washing the vulva and pat dry
What causes Lichens Sclerosus / Is it common?
There are no confirmed causes for LS. In most cases, patients with LS have at least one or more autoimmune disorders or diseases. It has been linked to overactive hormone activity or damage/trauma of the skin in the affected areas. It’s not a common diagnosis, still, experts are working hard to discover what causes the condition. It is not contagious or can be contracted during sex.
What are the symptoms of Lichens Sclerosus?
LS creates thin, pearlescent, and patches of skin that are susceptible to inflammation, damage, and tearing which leads to scarring. Symptoms include:
- Blotchy, wrinkled patches on your skin
- Smooth white patches on your skin
- Mild to severe redness and/or itching (dermatitis)
- Pain during intercourse
- Discomfort or pain when using the bathroom or during menstrual cycles
- Tearing or bleeding
- Mild to severe blistering or sores
Complications of LS include painful sex, urinary retention, and constipation due to an inability to retract the skin of the vagina, foreskin, and/or anal area. People with lichen are also at an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma (a form of skin cancer).
What are common treatments?
Potent steroid ointments or creams are the standard course of treatment and can be used as treatment or preventative. They are very effective in managing LS but do not work for everyone; especially in patients resistant to steroids. Though successful in managing symptoms, long term use of topical steroids is not free of side effects.
Long term use can cause:
- Burning/stinging sensation
- Thinning of the skin
- Stretch marks
- Increased chances of skin tears and bruising from friction
- Spider veins
- Localized hair growth
- Perioral dermatitis (infection around the mouth)
- Acne-like rashes
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