What is Lichen Sclerosis?
Lichen sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition whichcan affect the area surrounding the vagina and vulva. The condition appears most usually either just before or after the menopause.
Little is as yet understood as to the cause, but some people think it may be linked tothe autoimmune system, although this has not been proved.
Lichen sclerosis is neither an infection nor an inherited condition. It is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person through sexual intercourse.
What does it Look Like?
The appearance is of small white areas, which can increase in size and join together to form larger patches. These areas can in turn become cracked, severely itchy and painful. The affected area is then fragile and can become thickened over time, causing stiffness to the area.
The Effects of Lichen Sclerosis
The result of these symptoms can be scarring and shrinkage. This can makethe entrance to the vagina narrower and stiffer, causing pain during intercourse. The vulva can become misshapen and lose stimulus during intimacy. Urination can also cause a worsening of symptoms.
The Lifestyle Impact
The lifestyle impact of lichen sclerosis is profound. Around 35% of affected women find exercise painful, 84% have difficulty with sexual intercourse and 50% find urination painful.
In an extremely small numberof untreated women, lichen sclerosis can develop into cancer of the vulva or vagina, although this is thankfully very rare.
Is There A Cure?
Unfortunately, no cure has been found for lichen sclerosis, although there are steps you can take to minimise the symptoms and progression of the condition.
The traditional treatment for the symptoms of Lichen Sclerosis is the application of steroid cream, which over time can assist in getting the symptoms under control. In extreme cases where the skin sticks together to form adhesions, a small procedure to separate the skin may be needed. If you suspect thrush or a urinary track infection, you should seek treatment swiftly, to avoid aggravating your symptoms.
The daily use of petroleum based gels can also be effective and if sexual intercourse is painful, askyour gynaecologist for advise about the best lubricants to use. In severe cases, where the vaginal walls are narrowed by the condition, the use of vaginal dilators may be appropriate.
Mona Lisa Touch Laser Therapy
This is a new treatment which patients have called ‘life changing’. Mona Lisa Touch is a simple, fast and safe laser treatment, which takes less than five minutes to administer over three individual sessions. Gentle laser energy is delivered to the vaginal wall tissue or vulva, which stimulates a healing response and enhances moisture levels in the affected area. A typical course of treatment is three short, gentle procedures over 18 weeks, each one less than 5 minutes in duration. Many women report symptom relief after their first treatment and even greater improvement after treatments 2 and three.
How does the Laser Work?
The laser has the effect of coaxing the tissues to generate collagen, rejuvenating the surface of the skin and the layer below, leading to more natural lubrication and elasticity, which Lichen Sclerosis effectively inhibits.
Where can I Have this Treatment?
To find out more about this exciting new development in symptom relief, please call The Women’s Wellness Centre on 0207 751 4488 or perhaps visit our website, www.vaginaldrynesslondon.com