Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus: Understanding Your Condition

Like many women’s health conditions, vulvar lichen sclerosus is often shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding. It’s something that might help you contextualize and address itching and discomfort in your vulvar area that you’ve probably never heard of unless you’ve gone down a rabbit hole of Googling.

This article is designed to shed light on living with this skin condition, from identifying the symptoms and understanding the causes to exploring effective management strategies. Whether you're looking to educate yourself or find solutions to manage symptoms, our goal is to empower you with knowledge and support so that we can take proactive steps to address lichen sclerosus together.

What Is Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus?

Vulvar lichen sclerosus is a chronic skin condition that mainly affects the genital area of women, including the vulva and sometimes the anal areas. The condition is marked by white patches that may become thick and leathery from repeated scratching and irritation. 

While it most commonly appears in postmenopausal women, it can affect anyone, including a smaller number of men and younger women. Because lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune disease, managing it involves keeping an eye on the symptoms and working to prevent them from getting worse over time. 

If you're noticing changes in the sensitive skin of your genital area, understanding this condition is the first step toward managing your health. Not sure if this is a condition you should bring up to your doctor? Keep reading as we lay out the symptoms you should be looking out for.

What Are the Symptoms?

If you have vulvar lichen sclerosus, you might notice several symptoms that range from mild to severe. These include persistent itching, discomfort, and visible changes in the skin around your vulva and other genital areas. As we’ve already touched on, the most obvious signs are white spots or larger white patches that might develop into blisters and even painful fissures if the skin becomes too thin. 

Over time, this affected skin can scar, which might lead to complications like painful splitting — also known as fissures — and ulcers, which can further affect your quality of life. These symptoms can interfere with daily activities and cause you a lot of stress, even if it’s in small, seemingly minor ways like a persistent itch. 

Vulvar lichen sclerosus can also make sex uncomfortable, especially if you’re developing fissures or blisters. It’s important to both your physical and sexual health to monitor any changes and manage the condition proactively to maintain your overall comfort and health. 

What Causes Lichen Sclerosus?

Lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune disorder, which means the condition triggers your immune system to mistakenly attack healthy skin cells in the genital area. The exact cause isn't known, but it's thought to be linked to an overactive immune response. 

Because the affected area is often your genitals, it’s not uncommon to assume your symptoms are actually the side effects of an STI. However, while the symptoms of lichen sclerosus often affect genital skin, it’s not possible to get it from sexual intercourse. 

There’s no shame, of course, in getting an STI (as long as you’re being transparent with partners and seeking appropriate treatment), but it can be helpful to make that distinction.

While it’s not clear how lichen sclerosus develops, several factors may increase your risk of developing lichen sclerosus. These include having other autoimmune diseases like thyroid disease, vitiligo, or alopecia areata. 

Hormonal changes, particularly those related to menopause, can also make you more susceptible, as can a genetic predisposition to the condition. Knowing these risk factors is essential for early detection and managing the condition effectively to avoid complications. Being aware of what triggers your symptoms can help you and your healthcare provider create a more effective treatment plan tailored to your needs.

How Is Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of vulvar lichen sclerosus generally involves a thorough examination by a healthcare provider, often a dermatologist specializing in skin conditions affecting the genital area. A biopsy may be required to confirm the diagnosis, where a small sample of the affected skin is removed and analyzed under a microscope. 

This procedure helps distinguish lichen sclerosus from other conditions with similar presentations, such as lichen planus or psoriasis, ensuring appropriate treatment.

When Should You Seek Medical Advice?

Because there are a variety of things that can present with similar symptoms, it’s important to visit your doctor or dermatologist whenever you notice persistent symptoms like those associated with lichen sclerosus. This goes double if you’re at increased risk of things like vulvar or ovarian cancer due to conditions such as HPV, which may also predispose you to lichen sclerosus since it can impact your immune system. 

If you’ve already sought treatment for lichen sclerosus and your symptoms don’t seem to be improving, speak to your doctor. Early intervention by a health care provider can prevent complications, such as sclerosis, and reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer associated with chronic lichen sclerosus.

How Can You Manage Symptoms?

Because lichen sclerosus is an autoimmune condition, it unfortunately isn’t as easy to manage as other conditions that may be alleviated simply by taking a pill. Effective management of vulvar lichen sclerosus often includes regular use of topical corticosteroids, such as clobetasol or tacrolimus, to reduce inflammation and prevent further damage to the skin. 

In addition to pharmaceutical treatments, self-care practices, such as choosing soft, breathable clothing and gentle skincare products, can significantly alleviate symptoms. We’re here to help with this part of treatment. Let’s talk about how.

How Can Medicine Mama Help?

Our VMAGIC® Lichen Sclerosus Care line is crafted specifically to cater to the unique needs of those experiencing symptoms of lichen sclerosus. Our carefully formulated products are designed to soothe and protect the delicate areas affected by this condition in combination with medical intervention. 

What goes into this care set? We’ll break it down for you.

VMAGIC® Vulva Balm

The VMAGIC® Vulva Balm is a cornerstone product for anyone dealing with the discomforts of lichen sclerosus. Specifically formulated to address the sensitive nature of genital skin, this vaginal moisturizer provides a soothing touch to areas like the labia minora and clitoris. 

Its rich, emollient texture is derived from organic extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil, which are known for their deep moisturizing and healing properties. It includes a proprietary blend of honey and propolis, ingredients celebrated for their natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. This combination not only calms irritation but also helps protect the skin from further damage.

Forming a protective barrier prevents irritants from aggravating the delicate skin of the vulval area. This product is essential for maintaining skin integrity and supporting the skin's natural healing processes. With its gentle, natural formula, the VMAGIC® Vulva Balm is an excellent choice for daily use, offering both relief and protection to help you maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

VMAGIC® Vulva Wash

The VMAGIC® Vulva Wash is designed with your utmost comfort in mind, providing a gentle yet effective cleansing solution for the genital area affected by lichen sclerosus. This wash is perfect for daily use, helping to maintain the natural pH balance of the vulval area while soothing the affected skin. 

It features a blend of natural ingredients like sage leaf extract and chamomile, which are known for their calming properties, which help soothe irritation and manage flare-ups of symptoms.

This product ensures your most sensitive skin is treated with care, avoiding the introduction of irritants that can worsen symptoms such as itching and dryness. The wash's hydrating properties also support a healthy skin environment, which is crucial for preventing complications and maintaining overall vulval health. 

VMAGIC® Lips Stick

VMAGIC® Lips Stick is a uniquely formulated product ideal for those needing immediate and convenient relief from the discomforts of lichen sclerosus. This portable stick version of the vulva balm offers the benefits of the VMAGIC® line in a compact, easy-to-apply format, perfect for addressing dryness and irritation on the go. 

The Lips Stick contains nourishing organic oils and a proprietary honey and propolis blend that work together to soothe and protect your sensitive skin. The stick's design allows for precise application to the labia minora, clitoris, and surrounding areas, providing a moisturizing barrier that helps combat dryness, scaling, and itching throughout the day. 

It’s ideal for use after using the restroom, showering, or anytime you feel discomfort. The VMAGIC® Lips Stick is a practical addition to your daily skincare regimen and a discreet companion for your purse or travel bag, ensuring you can manage symptoms effectively, no matter where you are. 

Empowering You on Your Path to Relief

Vulvar lichen sclerosus is a significant condition that demands attention and care. Armed with a thorough understanding of the symptoms, causes, and treatment options, you can manage your condition effectively.

We’re here to support you through targeted products that offer relief and protection for your most sensitive areas — not just to improve conditions like lichen sclerosus but to help you practice self-care and self-love in every area of your life and body.


Vulvar Dermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic

Managing common vulvar skin conditions | Harvard Health Publishing

Vulvar conditions | Better Health Channel

Vaginal Health | American Sexual Health Association

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