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Lichen Planus - Symptoms and Treatment

Lichen planus is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin, the mouth (oral), or both. It occurs most often on the inside of the cheeks, but can affect the gums, tongue, lips and other parts of the mouth. Occasionally oral lichen planus involves the throat or the esophagus. About 1 in 100 people develop lichen planus. More than two thirds of cases occur in people aged 30-60 years. However, it can occur at any age. The cause of LP is not known. While there are many theories to explain LP, most dermatologists believe it can be classified as an autoimmune disease. This means that white blood cells which usually fight germs begin to attack the normal parts of the skin, mucous membranes, hair, and nails. There are cases of lichen planus-type rashes which occur as allergic reactions to medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, and arthritis. Identifying and stopping the drug helps clear up the condition within a few weeks. Some people with LP can also have hepatitis C, and the dermatologist may check for it. Lichen planus isn't an infectious disease and isn't contagious. But people with persistent mouth sores (lesions) are at increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma a form of skin cancer. It's also important to stop any tobacco use because tobacco raises the risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

Lichen planus is rash that can be very itchy and stubborn. It usually involves the wrists, ankles, genitals and mouth but can affect any part of the body. It can also affect the scalp and cause permanent hair loss. Generally believed to be an allergic or autoimmune disorder (one in which the person produces antibodies against his own tissues). This abnormal immune response may be caused due to a viral infection. Lichen planus is a curious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes resulting in inflammation, itching, and distinctive skin lesions. It is characterized by small, purplish bumps or patches of skin having fine, gray lines on the surface. It's not so harmful and may resolve with treatment, but can persist for months to years. Oral lichen planus usually clears within 18 months.

Causes of Lichen Planus

Common Causes of Lichen Planus :

  • The cause is unknown.
  • Some medicines can cause lichen planus.
  • Hepatitis C virus may also cause the lichen planus. This virus can cause liver disease.
  • Some allergic reaction pattern, particularly following exposure to dyes and color film developers may be a cause lichen planus
  • Lichen planus is not caused by stress, but sometimes stress makes it worse.
  • Lichen planus generally occurs at or after middle age. It is less common in children.

Symptoms of Lichen Planus

Some common Symptoms of Lichen Planus :

  • Purple or reddish bumps on the skin.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Painful sores inside the mouth.
  • Hair loss.
  • Hyperpigmentation in the affected skin.
  • Painful sores in the mouth and genitals

Treatment of Lichen Planus

  • Topical corticosteroids (such as triamcinolone acetonide cream) or oral corticosteroids (such as prednisone) may be used to reduce inflammation and suppress immune responses.
  • Becotide spray is occasionally used for those areas of the mouth where it is difficult to reach with other remedies.
  • Ultraviolet light therapy may be beneficial in some cases.
  • Topical steroids such as clobetasol proprionate and betamethasone proprionate ointments are very effective treatment of lichen planus.
  • The immune modulating drugs that inhibit calcineurin, tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream, may also be useful for oral and genital lichen planus.
  • Occlusive dressings may be placed over topical medications to protect the skin from scratching.
  • Antihistamines.








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