Lichen Planus Treatment in Annapolis, MD
Lichen planus is an inflammatory condition which can impact the skin, hair, nails, mouth and genitals. In the majority of cases, lichen planus manifests on the skin in the form of a purple-colored rash that can be itchy and develop gradually—over the course of several weeks—and last for several months to years.
Both men and women can suffer from lichen planus, and although it is more common among middle-aged adults, lichen planus can occur at any age. The condition is not contagious and does not pose a serious risk to your health; however, since it can persist for a considerable amount of time, medical treatment is available and is sometimes necessary to help control your symptoms and provide you relief.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Annapolis that specializes in lichen planus treatment, call (410) 567-0667 or contact Dr. Alan Stuart Weiss online.
Lichen Planus Causes
The cause of lichen planus is unknown, or rather, it is not completely understood. The condition begins due to a response initiated by your immune system which attacks your skin and mucous membrane cells by mistake. What initiates the inflammatory response is the part that remains unknown.
The following are thought to be potential triggers of lichen planus:
- Viral diseases like hepatitis C
- Certain medications like diuretics (used for the treatment of heart disease and high blood pressure)
- Exposure to certain chemicals, metals and dyes
While stress is not among lichen planus causes, stress is known to exacerbate your symptoms
Lichen Planus Symptoms
Depending on the area affected, your lichen planus symptoms may vary. The most common symptoms include:
- Skin: a purple rash or bumps with flat tops that is itchy that most commonly appears on the wrist, forearms and ankles but can appear anywhere on the body
- Mouth: lacy white patches in the mouth, appearing on the cheeks, gums or tongue, which can be painful or burn
- Female genitals: bright red patches or vaginal ulcers which are painful and make sex often difficult to enjoy
- Nails: ridging of the nail, splitting or thinning and nail loss
- Scalp: thinning hair or patches of hair loss accompanied by discoloration of the scalp
Treatment for Lichen Planus
If you experience a skin rash or mouth, skin or genital lesions, it is important to always seek the care of a medical professional. Often, a diagnosis can be made through a physical examination and a review of your medical history. To confirm a lichen planus diagnosis, your healthcare provider may recommend a biopsy of your skin cells, an allergy test or a test for an underlying condition which may be driving your lichen planus such as hepatitis C.
While there is no cure for lichen planus, the condition can be managed through various oral and topical medications including:
- Corticosteroids—in pill or cream form, or via injection—to reduce inflammation and redness
- Antihistamines to alleviate itching
- Ultraviolet light therapy (PUVA) for severe lichen planus on the skin
- Immune modulating medications to attempt to suppress the immune response driving lichen planus symptoms
- Addressing underlying triggers by switching medications, avoiding allergens or treating hepatitis C
At-home measures can also be taken to alleviate itching and discomfort like soaking in colloidal oatmeal and applying cold compresses to affected skin. For oral lichen planus, good hygiene is important and avoiding tobacco and alcohol can help to reduce the pain of any mouth lesions.
Outlook for Lichen Planus Sufferers
Lichen planus typically clears up within 1-2 years; however, the duration of your lichen planus may vary. It can recur; in fact, 1 in 5 affected people will have a lichen planus recurrence at some point in the future.
Seeking treatment from a healthcare professional can help clear up your rash and prevent any permanent hair loss and skin discoloration or scarring. To meet with a healthcare provider in Annapolis that can provide treatment for lichen planus, call (410) 567-0667 or contact Dr. Alan Stuart Weiss online.
Annapolis Integrative Medicine Clinic
Address1819 Bay Ridge Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403
09:30AM - 06:30PM
Tue: 10:00AM - 06:00PM
Wed: 10:00AM - 06:00PM
Thu: 10:00AM - 06:00PM
Fri: 10:00AM - 05:00PM