What is Lichen Sclerosus?
Lichen Sclerosus is a long-term inflammatory skin problem that mostly affects the genital and anal areas of the body. It can sometimes affect other parts of the body. Lichen Sclerosus is a very uncomfortable disease that is often misdiagnosed as thrush or a yeast infection and patients may suffer with the disease for years before it is correctly diagnosed.
The disease initially starts with small white spots appearing on the affected skin and these sports progress into bigger patches of inflamed, thin and wrinkled skin. The skin tears easily and bright purply-red bruises are common. The skin can also become scarred and causes itching genitals and bum, bleeding, blisters and pain in the Vulvo-vaginal and anal areas.
In severe cases, women with Lichen Sclerosus may experience pain when urinating or sitting for extended periods of time. She may also not be able to have sex as a result of scarring that narrows the vagina. In these instances, sex can be very painful and cause the skin patches to bleed.
What Causes Lichen Sclerosus?
It is not known what causes Lichen Sclerosus but it may be linked to an overly active immune system. Sometimes, the disease appears on skin that has previously been damaged or scarred by another injury. Lichen Sclerosus is not contagious, however, it is thought that some people may inherit the likelihood of getting the disease.
How to treat Lichen Sclerosus?
Until recently, the gold standard treatment for Lichen Sclerosus has been the use of strong cortisone creams and ointments to reduce the symptomatic itching, burning and inflammation. However, these creams and ointments do not cure the disease. The patient may continue for years with these creams and ointments as the disease continues to flare up.
Dr Dehaeck is one of a handful of specialists in the world who treats Lichen Sclerosus with a revolutionary stem-cell procedure that takes fat from the patient’s own body and injects it under the skin in the affected areas. The stem-cell procedure is minimally invasive and can be done under local anaesthetic. The procedure takes about an hour and may need to be repeated occasionally.
Within 6-8 weeks, there is much relief to the patient as the skin visibly improves, becomes more elastic and itching no longer occurs. All patients treated by Dr Dehaeck have, to date, seen and felt significant improvements in their condition.