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Pediatric Lichen Sclerosis (LS)

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Summary

Pediatric Lichen Sclerosis (LS) is a skin condition that affects the vulva and/ or peri-anal area. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of cases occur in young girls. 

Causes

The cause is unknown, but genetics, hormonal changes, or an overactive immune system may play a role. The condition is not contagious.

Symptoms

Some girls with lichen sclerosis have no symptoms. Others may experience mild to severe symptoms including:

  • Itching
  • Skin that appears fragile pale, and/or white
  • Bruised skin with blood blisters
  • Small tears in the skin
  • Scar tissue covering the vulvar area
  • Bleeding or tearing of the skin during bowel movements

Tests and Diagnosis

To diagnose lichen sclerosis, you daughter’s doctor may perform:

  • A visual exam to look for skin changes
  • A vaginal and/or urine culture to rule out infection

Treatment

If your daughter is diagnosed with lichen sclerosis, even without symptoms, she should be treated to prevent scarring of the vulva, which can lead to problems with urination.

Her doctor may recommend:

  • Prescription steroid creams or ointments to relieve itching and inflammation
  • Avoiding irritants like tight-fitting clothes and harsh soaps/detergents
  • Close observation for 6 months to a year

Regular check-ups are important so symptoms can be treated early.

FAQ's

How did my daughter develop lichen sclerosis?

The cause is unknown, but genetics, hormonal changes, or an overactive immune system may play a role.

How will my daughter’s doctor treat her for lichen sclerosis?

Her doctor may prescribe topical medications to relieve itching and inflammation. The doctor will also recommend she avoid irritants like tight clothing and harsh soaps.

Will lichen sclerosis recur?

It can recur, so it’s important that your daughter gets regular check-ups for timely treatment and reduced scarring. Lichen sclerosis often resolves by puberty, and there is a good chance she will not need treatment beyond that stage.

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