British Skin Foundation - Lichen Sclerosus

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worse case scenario

Postby kjmpde1980 on Mon May 13, 2019 5:34 pm

I've read the info - i understand that this can occur due to autoimmune (thyroiditis) and menopause. So no hope of recovery.
I've got creams from the GP but my question is what is the worst it can get ? the issue means that sexual intercourse is painful especially as can reduce is size due to skin adhesions. I'm aware that skin cancer is increased but what are the warning signs? how different are they to the skin marks cause by lichen?
i'm already getting tears when passing a stool - what can be done ? (i get a great deal of fibre so constipation should not happen but the anus is so so dry).
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Re: worse case scenario

Postby Dr Jane Sterling on Wed May 15, 2019 8:49 pm

You are quite right that in LS it is the body’s immune system that is causing self-damage, and just like in thyroid disease, it is not known why this starts. You are also right in that the age at which LS most commonly first appears in females is after the menopause, but it can also start in childhood or early adult life. The menopause leads to a reduction in oestrogen hormone in the body and this can also lead to some discomfort in the vulva (the external skin) and vagina (the internal lining between the skin and the cervix). This aspect can be helped with some oestrogen applied to the area, but this should be prescribed by your doctor.

It is best to approach LS treatment as control, rather than cure, and many people need some on-going treatment to keep the skin from flaring. If the skin has been affected by intense LS, so that the opening to the vagina or the anus has been tightened by the ‘scarring’ effect of LS, as you are describing, this can bring added discomfort, but can still be helped by strong treatment creams or methods to very gently ‘stretch’ the opening. This would be best discussed with and monitored by a specialist.

You also mention your concerns about skin cancer in LS. Maintaining good long-term control of the inflammation is also important for this, as it is thought to reduce the risk of a skin cancer developing in the affected area. Skin cancer only ever develops in about 5 out of every 100 women with LS, so the odds are in your favour. However, it is a good idea to be on the alert. Examine your skin, if you can, every 2-3 months and if you notice a change such as a lump or a persistently sore spot, make sure your doctor checks the skin. Like most cancers, the earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the chance of a curative treatment.
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