Vulvar lichen planus is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin and mucous membranes of the vulva. It causes an itchy, painful rash and lesions to develop on the vulva, including the labia, clitoris, vaginal opening and perineum.
What is Vulvar Lichen Planus?
Vulvar lichen planus occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells of the vulva, causing inflammation and damage. This leads to the development of shiny, white, lacy patches on the vulva. The affected skin may become very thin and easily damaged. Small purplish bumps or open sores may also form. These lesions can be extremely painful and can make urination, sexual intercourse and other activities very uncomfortable.
Vulvar lichen planus is considered a chronic condition. The symptoms may come and go over time and can range from mild itching to severe, debilitating pain. While the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to be related to the autoimmune disorder lichen planus that affects the skin and mouth. Vulvar lichen planus primarily affects middle-aged women. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications.
What is Homeopathy Treatment for Vulvar Lichen Planus?
If you or a loved one is suffering from vulvar lichen planus, Welling Homeopathy presents a CUREplus treatment method specifically formulated for lichen planus. This treatment methodology has been fine-tuned over the last 20 years to effectively heal lichen planus, generally within 18 to 20 months.
Welling Homeopathy offers you:
Experienced Homeopathic Specialists: Our doctors have a specialized skill set required to diagnose and treat lichen planus completely. Treatment requires a deep understanding of the disease, which our specialists have developed over many years.
Developed after Exhaustive Research: This treatment process has been developed after extensive in-house research, resulting in an optimum curative method for lichen planus. Our clinics consult more than 8400 patients globally with lichen planus each year.
Special Formulation Welling Homeopathy: Our custom-made homeopathy medicines for treating Lichen planus have aided approximately 53,250 patients till date.
Painless and Effective Recovery: Our treatment method involves no steroidal applications, creams, or oils. Instead, we offer just natural homeopathy medicines, tailored to your needs, ensuring a faster recovery.
Duration of Cure: Although individual treatment durations may vary, we generally see a complete cure within 12 to 18 months.
Our specially formulated homeopathy treatment for vulvar lichen planus is not just the fastest, but also the safest way to get cured of lichen planus symptoms permanently.
How the Procedure Works?
The first step in the treatment process is scheduling a detailed evaluation with our specialists to understand your unique condition and determine the course of homeopathic treatment for vulvar lichen planus. This involves:
- Detailed personal history – To tailor the treatment regimen better to your condition.
- Symptomatic analysis – To understand the course of disease and its implication.
- Treatment initiation – Implementation of the evolved protocol for treatment to offer you long-term relief and a gradual permanent cure.
- Our specialists will then customize Homeopathy medicines for Vulvar Lichen Planus, based on the detailed analysis and review of your past treatments for Lichen Planus and medicines you have taken.
Who are we?
Welling Homeopathy is a global leader in providing specialized homeopathic treatment. With the best homeopathy doctors recognized by awards, a traditional homeopathic legacy of 81 years, and having served patients in over 108 countries, we are committed to offering a pain-free recovery.
Trust in us to provide you with the means to recover faster and live a pain-free, happier, and healthier life. For a detailed consultation, you can book an appointment or consult and order online.
Contact us at +91 8080 850 950 today to begin your personalized Homeopathy treatment for Vulvar Lichen Planus.
What causes vulvar lichen planus?
The exact cause of vulvar lichen planus is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune condition. This means the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the vulva area.
While the underlying trigger is unclear, there are some factors that may potentially contribute to the development of vulvar lichen planus:
Infection – Vulvar lichen planus may be triggered by a viral infection, such as hepatitis C or herpes simplex virus. The immune system responds to the infection, but then continues to attack tissues after the infection clears.
Medications – Certain medications have been associated with lichen planus, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antimalarials, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure.
Stress – High levels of psychological stress may potentially activate the immune system and increase susceptibility to autoimmune reactions like lichen planus. However, stress is unlikely to be the sole cause.
The immune system activity that leads to vulvar lichen planus is not fully understood. More research is needed to determine the complex interplay between genetics, infections, medications, and other factors that may influence development of the condition. However, an overactive immune response directed at the vulva appears central in the progression of vulvar lichen planus.
How common is vulvar lichen planus?
Vulvar lichen planus is estimated to affect around 1-2% of women overall. It is more commonly diagnosed in midlife and older women, with the average age at diagnosis being the mid-50s. However, vulvar lichen planus can also occur in younger women and rarely affects girls before puberty.
Some key facts about the prevalence of vulvar lichen planus:
A study of over 500 women with biopsy-confirmed lichen planus found that 2.6% had involvement of the vulvar region.
Research from the UK estimated the prevalence of vulval lichen planus to be around 1.7% amongst women attending gynecology clinics.
An analysis of multiple studies concluded the overall prevalence in the general population is likely around 1-2%.
The highest incidence seems to occur between the ages of 30-60.
One study found a mean age at diagnosis of 57 years old. Most patients were postmenopausal.
While uncommon in children, there have been some reported pediatric cases, usually in adolescence.
So in summary, vulvar lichen planus is relatively uncommon, affecting roughly 1-2% of women, but is seen more frequently in middle-aged and older women. It can occasionally occur in younger adults and children as well. Prevalence does seem to increase with age up until menopause.
What are the symptoms of vulvar lichen planus?
Vulvar lichen planus symptoms typically affect the vulva and vagina. The most common symptoms include:
Itchy, burning pain in the vulva – This is often the first symptom noticed. The itching and burning can range from mild to severe, and may be constant or come and go.
White lesions on the vulva and vagina – These lesions have a lace-like pattern and appear as white patches on the labia, vaginal opening, and inside the vagina. The lesions may look like paper cuts.
Painful sex – Friction from sex can further irritate and inflame the lesions and make intercourse very painful.
Bleeding during sex – The thin skin affected by the lesions is vulnerable to tearing and bleeding, especially during intercourse. Even with lubrication, the friction causes irritation.
The location of the itching and lesions helps distinguish vulvar lichen planus from other vulvovaginal conditions like yeast infections or genital herpes, which have different symptoms. The lesions also have a distinct appearance. Getting an accurate diagnosis from your doctor is important to determine the right treatment.
What does vulvar lichen planus look like?
Vulvar lichen planus results in visible changes to the appearance of the vulva. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include:
Red, violet, or white lesions on the vulva: Lichen planus causes flat-topped bumps and patches that can range in color from bright red to dark violet. The lesions may have a lace-like, white, net-like pattern on top. They are often described as looking like wax dripped onto the skin. The lesions can occur anywhere on the vulva, including the labia, vaginal opening, clitoris, and perineum.
Thin white lines on the vagina: Known as Wickham’s striae, these thin, jagged white lines may appear on the vaginal walls. They occur because of chronic inflammation that destroys the superficial layers of the vaginal lining.
Raw, irritated skin: Lichen planus can cause the vulvar skin to become very inflamed and raw. There may be a burning sensation and pain. The irritated skin around lesions often looks shiny and smooth.
The appearance of vulvar lichen planus lesions can vary greatly from person to person. Some people only have a few small lesions, while others have widespread patches covering much of the genital area. The lesions may come and go over time. Paying attention to any unusual changes in the appearance of the vulva is important for identifying lichen planus.
How is vulvar lichen planus diagnosed?
Vulvar lichen planus is often diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam of the vulva and a biopsy of any lesions.
During a pelvic exam, a doctor will closely inspect the vulva for signs of lichen planus. They may use a colposcope, which is a special magnifying instrument, to get a better view of the skin’s surface and look for the characteristic shiny white patches, red inflamed areas, or scarring.
If lesions or unusual areas are seen, a biopsy may be recommended. This involves numbing the area with a local anesthetic and using a small instrument to remove a tiny sample of tissue from the affected skin. The skin sample is then sent to a laboratory where it is examined under a microscope.
Under the microscope, skin affected by lichen planus will show thickening of the top layer of skin and an underlying band of white blood cells infiltrating the deeper layer of skin. The appearance is quite distinct and allows confirmation of the diagnosis by an experienced dermatopathologist.
Sometimes a biopsy may be recommended even if there are no visible lesions, as the changes can be microscopic. Biopsy provides the most definitive diagnosis.
What treatments are available for vulvar lichen planus?
There are several treatment options that can help relieve the symptoms of vulvar lichen planus and reduce inflammation. Common treatments include:
Corticosteroid Ointments and Creams
Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments are often the first line of treatment for vulvar lichen planus. These help reduce inflammation, itching, and burning. Low potency corticosteroids like hydrocortisone are usually tried first. If these aren’t effective, higher potency corticosteroids may be prescribed, but should only be used for short periods due to potential side effects.
Oral or injected immunosuppressant medications may be used in cases of severe vulvar lichen planus that don’t respond adequately to topical steroids. These work by suppressing the immune system’s faulty response. Tacrolimus or ciclosporin are sometimes prescribed.
Over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief from vulvar discomfort. Lidocaine ointments are also sometimes used. Antihistamines may help reduce itching. Stronger prescription pain medication may occasionally be warranted in severe cases.
Along with medication, lifestyle changes like wearing loose clothes, avoiding potential irritants, and applying cool compresses can also help soothe vulvar lichen planus. If symptoms don’t improve or the condition worsens, stronger treatments or combinations of therapies may be required. Some cases of vulvar lichen planus resolve on their own, but the condition also tends to recur periodically. Ongoing management and follow-up care with a gynecologist is recommended.
Does swimming or bathing aggravate vulvar lichen planus?
Swimming and bathing can sometimes worsen the symptoms of vulvar lichen planus. The combination of water exposure and friction from bathing suits can cause irritation, burning, and inflammation. However, with some precautions, most women with vulvar lichen planus can still enjoy swimming and bathing without a flare-up.
Avoid heavily chlorinated pools when possible. The chemicals used in pool sanitization can be harsh on sensitive vulvar skin affected by lichen planus. Opt for swimming in lakes or the ocean if you have access.
When bathing or showering, use plain water without soap or body wash. Soaps, even gentle cleansers, can strip away natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier. This leads to dryness and irritation. Gently patting skin dry instead of rubbing vigorously also prevents friction.
With these tips, swimming and bathing do not need to be off limits for women with vulvar lichen planus. Take care to minimize chemical and friction exposures to the area, and most women find they can still enjoy swimming and bathing without aggravating their condition.
What complications are associated with vulvar lichen planus?
Vulvar lichen planus can lead to several complications if left untreated. Some of the most common complications include:
Scarring and fused labia
The chronic inflammation caused by vulvar lichen planus can cause scarring of the vulvar tissues, leading to fused labia. The labia minora (inner lips) may become partially or completely fused together. This can impact urination and sexual intercourse. Severe scarring may require corrective surgery.
Increased risk of vulvar cancer
Studies show there is an increased risk of developing vulvar cancer in women with vulvar lichen planus compared to the general population. It is estimated that about 4% of women with this condition may develop vulvar cancer. Regular monitoring is recommended to detect any precancerous changes early.
Living with vulvar lichen planus can take a psychological toll. The constant itching, burning pain, and sensitive vulvar skin can impact a woman’s self-esteem, body image, intimacy, and quality of life. Some women may experience anxiety, depression or withdrawal from relationships. Counseling and support groups can help manage the psychological impact.
What is the prognosis for vulvar lichen planus?
Vulvar lichen planus is considered a chronic condition that often lasts for years. Many women go through periods of remission where symptoms improve or resolve completely, followed by flare ups where symptoms return. It is not unusual for symptoms to persist for multiple years with only partial improvement.
Since vulvar lichen planus can rarely progress to squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva, close monitoring by a gynecologist is important. Women should receive regular pelvic exams to watch for suspicious lesions or changes that may indicate cancer. Biopsies of any concerning areas can detect cancer early if it develops.
With close monitoring and treatment, the overall prognosis for vulvar lichen planus is good. Many women find their symptoms can be well controlled with treatment, even if the condition cannot be permanently cured. Working closely with a knowledgeable gynecologist who specializes in vulvovaginal conditions can help optimize care and outcomes.