What is it?

Lichen sclerosus is a condition that causes patchy, discolored, thin skin. Anal and genital areas are usually affected.

Lichen sclerosus can affect anyone, but postmenopausal women are at a higher risk. Sexual contact cannot spread the disease since it is not contagious.

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Signs & symptoms

There is a possibility of mild lichen sclerosus without any symptoms. Symptoms usually affect the genital and anal areas of the skin. It may also affect the back, shoulders, upper arms, and breasts. The following symptoms may be present:

Patches of discolored skin that are smooth

Patches of blotchy, wrinkled skin


Feelings of soreness or burning

A tendency to bruise easily

Skin fragility

Changes in the urethra (tube for urine flow)

Open sores, blisters, or bleeding

Painful sex


By looking at the affected skin, your health care provider may diagnose lichen sclerosus. To rule out cancer, you may need a biopsy. If steroid creams don't work, you may need a biopsy. During a biopsy, a small piece of affected tissue is removed for examination under a microscope.

Referrals may be made to specialists in skin conditions (dermatologists), female reproductive systems (gynecologists), pain medicine, and urology.


The severity of your symptoms and the location of your lichen sclerosus determine your treatment. Itching can be eased, your skin can look better and scarring can be reduced with treatment. It is not uncommon for symptoms to return even after successful treatment.

Lichen sclerosus is commonly treated with steroid ointment clobetasol

If lichen sclerosus narrows the opening for urine flow, your health care provider may recommend circumcision.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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