Lichen sclerosus (atropicus) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin around the vulva and anus. In this guide, you will find information about the causes, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment and how you can significantly alleviate the symptoms or significantly improve or even stop the progression of the disease with a new form of treatment.
First of all, for those women who have already all informations about the disease and primarly look for something medically proven, I would like to introduce a new way of treating the symptoms of lichen sclerosus: FMS-Dilators of Borsilicate. With FMS dilators, affected women can very gently and effectively counteract the consequences in the form of constrictions of the vaginal entrance and adhesions or shrinkage of the labia, and even make them more flexible again after they occur. The effect of FMS dilators differs significantly from conventional dilators because they flexibilize hardenings through gentle massage. They are certified as a medical device and therefore fulfill the legal requirements of medicine with regard to clinical studies, proven effectiveness and safety of use. Here you can find information on their use for skin diseases such as lichen sclerosus.
Causes and development of lichen sclerosus
Lichen sclerosus is one of the diseases whose causes and development have still not been definitively determined in medicine. The disease is one of the autoimmune diseases, whereby there appear to be both hormonal and genetic influences.
Women and girls are primarily affected, rarely men and boys. As a rule, the disease progresses in relapses, whereby there can be several years between relapses.
Determining the diagnosis
The diagnosis is determined by examining the affected regions and the symptoms. Taken together, a reliable diagnosis can be made. However, it presupposes that an experienced doctor or gynecologist has been consulted. There seem to be numerous patients who have undergone a veritable "marathon" and many examinations by doctors and gynecologists before a definitive diagnosis was made.
Medicine is not infallible when it comes to diagnosing lichen sclerosus. A Swiss doctor has developed the "Lichen sclerosus score", which is very helpful in determining the diagnosis. Finally, there is also the option of a biopsy, which is rarely used. It is used to rule out other diseases. It is often the patients themselves who become experts over time and reliably identify findings on their own bodies.
Symptoms in women and girls
The disease generally begins with burning and itching in the genital area. The resulting eczema is initially brownish-red in color. Over time, this results in whitish, often shiny patches, typically in a figure-of-eight shape around the vulva and anus. The disease is limited exclusively to the outer anogenital region, i.e. the outer anal area and the vulva; the vagina itself is never affected. The skin is thinner with some thickened areas that are also white (atropicus). Occasionally there are hemorrhages.
Hardening and tearing also occur, which lead to sores and eventually to whitish scarring. These skin changes are accompanied by severe, persistent itching. The skin is sensitive, cracked and sore. Any pain that occurs is exacerbated by sexual intercourse, often for several days. Urination can also be difficult and painful.
Patients rarely report the occurrence of all symptoms at the same time, i.e. the symptoms vary from woman to woman.
Patients with lichen ruber planus or lichen planus often show the same symptoms, but also in the mouth. In the later course of the disease, very painful areas can occur on the gums, in the vaginal entrance (vestibule) and also in the vagina in addition to constriction due to hardening (lichen planus erosivus).
Dilators are used as an aid to treatment. FMS dilators are special glass dilators with a new shape for an extremely gentle and efficient type of treatment. FMS dilators are used for many other medical conditions in medicine and gynecology.
Symptoms in men and boys
In men, the foreskin of the penis is particularly affected, and its hardening leads to a constriction called phimosis. This causes inflammation, as the foreskin can no longer be pushed back for hygiene purposes, or only to a very limited extent.
Other symptoms of male patients are very similar to those of women: there is itching and the skin turns white, and scarring may also occur. Pain can also occur during sexual intercourse and urination. The glans itself and the urethral opening can also be affected, especially in the absence of treatment.
Children can also be affected by lichen sclerosus, although itching and external symptoms are usually less pronounced. However, children often experience severe constipation as a concomitant symptom.
Therapies for lichen sclerosus
As a rule, the symptoms and accompanying signs of this disease are treated on the affected skin regions with cortisone or cortisone-containing ointment, initially daily as shock therapy, later less frequently to maintain the success of the therapy. Occasionally, a cortisone-containing medication is also administered as an injection by the treating doctor or, in the case of women, in gynecology. Ointments without cortisone (e.g. Deumavan, Noreiz, Dermatol) are gentler in the long term, but unfortunately also less effective acutely.
A fundamental cure is not assumed, at least not in conventional medicine, but the symptoms can be greatly alleviated. There are also new therapies with laser procedures, e.g. the Mona Lisa Touch Laser. In clinics, it is possible for gynecology to work together with radiology and gastroenterology.
If only the foreskin is affected in men, circumcision, i.e. surgical removal of the foreskin, can lead to a lasting cure. In male patients or children, cortisone and care with fatty ointments such as Dermatol are also the indicated form of treatment.
Self-management and everyday life with lichen
The following measures will help you to integrate lichen sclerosus into your everyday life:
Appropriate handling of skin changes
Treat the affected areas regularly with moisturizing ointments or special care products such as Dermatol, Deumavan, Linola, Noreiz etc.
Avoid conventional soaps in the intimate area, it is better to use nourishing washing lotions
Wear airy clothing, briefs made from natural products such as cotton or silk, refrain from wearing thongs
Pay attention to soft bowel movements, especially if the anus is also affected (e.g. using psyllium husks).
As lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune disease, you should follow the typical nutritional principles for stabilizing the immune system:
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. There is evidence that avoiding lactose and milk protein, gluten and histamine can improve symptoms, but this has not been proven by studies.
Pay attention to your mental hygiene and work-life balance: learning relaxation methods and meditation will also help you.
Self-help group and sexual counseling
Exchange ideas with other sufferers in self-help groups. Be careful with internet forums run by "sufferers"! Only a phone call can clarify whether this person really exists
Sexual counseling and therapy: Get help if you are afraid of resuming sexual activity after an episode and prolonged abstinence, or to develop alternative forms of sexuality.
Treating lichen sclerosus yourself
You can treat lichen sclerosus yourself: As a basis, it is important to take good care of your vulva or foreskin with oily creams to improve the elasticity of the skin and to relieve itching.
It is very important to gently stretch the vaginal introitus (vaginal entrance) in women and the foreskin in men - preferably daily, as this can prevent constriction or adhesions.
We have designed FMS dilators to avoid a vulva constricted by scarring and perhaps even an operation:
They are extremely smooth and gentle and their particular effectiveness is not based on stretching, but on moving and flexibilizing the affected skin areas through a gentle massage effect. They are also available in 27 sizes, so you can tailor the sizes exactly to your needs.