Lichen planus (LIE-kun PLAY-nus) is an inflammatory condition that can affect your skin and mucous membranes. On the skin, lichen planus usually appears as purplish, often itchy, flat-topped bumps. When mucous membranes are affected — such as tissues inside the mouth or vagina — lichen planus appears as lacy white patches or sores that can be painful.
Lichen planus can’t be passed from one person to another. The disorder occurs when the immune system mounts an attack against cells of the skin or mucous membranes. The reason for this abnormal immune response is unknown.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of lichen planus vary depending on what parts of the body are affected. The disorder rarely worsens after the first few months, but the symptoms may persist for months or several years.
If you have lichen planus affecting your skin, you may experience the following signs or symptoms:
Purplish, flat-topped bumps may appear anywhere on the body, but they are most often located on the inner forearm and near the wrists or ankles. Other common locations include the lower back, neck and legs.
- Bumps may appear in lines along creases in the skin, in clusters, or along the site of a scratch or other injury.
- Bumps may appear to be covered with fine, lacy white lines.
- The affected skin is often itchy.
- Rarely, the bumps become crusty, scabby or blistery.
- The lesions rarely scar unless they are scratched deeply.
- When the lesions eventually disappear, the skin may have a dark brownish discoloration that may eventually fade away.
When the condition affects the mouth (oral lichen planus), symptoms may include the following:
- Patches of lacy white lines or white dots appear most often on the inside of cheeks. The gums, lips and tongue also may be affected.
- Sores or ulcers may also appear in the mouth. These tend to cause pain or a burning sensation.
Lichen planus affecting the genitals is less common in men.
- Men. The purplish skin lesions and itching most often affect the tip of the penis (glans).
- Women. Lichen planus can cause purplish skin lesions and itching on the external genitalia (vulva) or painful, burning sores on the mucous membrane lining the vagina. Scarring is possible, but uncommon, after the skin and mucous membranes heal.
Lichen planus affecting the scalp is relatively rare. The name given for this condition is lichen planopilaris. The lesions may result in:
- Partial or severe hair loss
- Scarring or discoloration of the scalp after it has healed
Although lichen planus rarely affects the nails, it can cause the following problems with one or more nails of the fingers or toes:
- Ridges running the length of the nail
- Thinning or splitting of the nail
- Partial or severe nail loss
Anyone can develop lichen planus, but the condition most often affects middle-aged adults. The cause of lichen planus is unknown. The lesions that appear are the result of inflammation controlled by specific white blood cells called T lymphocytes. Normally, these cells are active at the site of disease or injury. Factors that may act as triggers of lichen planus include:
- Hepatitis C infection
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Certain types of flu vaccines
- Allergy causing agents (allergens)
- Tattoo pigments
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others)
- Certain medications for heart disease, high blood pressure or arthritis Y
Homoeopathy for LP
Many consider Lichen Planus as a challenging and an incurable condition. Instead or improving the defective immune response (autoimmune) conventional medicines (steroids) suppress it. Long term relief is seldom experienced as the lesions will tend to reappear on stopping the medication. There are numerous remedies in homeopathy which help Lichen PlanusWith proper homoeopathic medicine after some period changes in your immune response and reduction in spread of the lesion can be achieved. The appearance of new lesion can be completely stopped; however disappearance of hyper-pigmented areas (black spots) may take longer. On completion of the treatment you will have minimized the chance of a reoccurrence.