Lichen Planus - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Lichen planus is an inflammatory, non-infectious, itchy rash that occurs on the arms and legs. It presents as small, bumpy, pink, or purple rashes. According to many experts, it is an autoimmune disease. However, it may occur due to viral infection, stress, allergens, and genetic tendency. But, it is not contagious. It does not spread through touch. It happens because it occurs due to the defect in your immune system, rather than an attack of a parasite. It causes irritation and inflammation of the skin, mucus membrane, nails, and hair. Mostly it can be managed at home without any medical treatment. However, if it causes significant pain or itching, you may need medical treatment. 


Symptoms 


Lichen planus may show the following signs and symptoms.


  • Purple colored bumps mostly on the inner forearm, wrist or ankle, and sometimes the genitals.

  • Hair loss

  • Change in scalp color

  • Nail damage or loss

  • Itching

  • Blisters that break to form scabs or crusts

  • Lacy white patches in the mouth or on the lips or tongue

  • Painful sores in the mouth or vagina


Causes 


Lichen planus is an autoimmune disease, which means it occurs due to the hyperactivity of your immune system. However, it may be triggered due to;


  • Certain medication used for heart diseases, arthritis, and blood pressure

  • Exposure to certain chemicals and pigments

  • Flu vaccine 

  • Hepatitis C infection

  • Over the counter pain reliever like naproxen and ibuprofen


Risk factors


Lichen planus can occur in any age group. But most commonly, it attacks middle-aged people. 


Complications 


Lichen planus occurs on the vulva and vagina becomes difficult to manage. It also hinders sexual activity due to pain. In the long term, lichen planus may cause the complication of sexual dysfunction. The oral lesions of lichen planus make it difficult to eat food. In dark-skinned people, it may also leave a scar. 


Lichen planus of the ear, if left untreated, can lead to hearing loss and that of the oral cavity increases the risk of oral cancer. 


Treatment 


Generally, one does not need any medical treatment for lichen planus. But if it shows bothersome signs and symptoms and makes it difficult for you to cope with, the healthcare providers may prescribe medications like;


Retinoids- like vitamin A that can be applied topically or taken orally

Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids given to be applied topically, taken orally, or given as an injection.


Antihistamines reduce inflammation by blocking the release of histamine ( an inflammatory mediator). It may be particularly helpful if your rash is triggered by an allergen.


Pain-relieving nonsteroidal creams that are applied topically. They can help suppress your immune system and help clear up the rash.


Using light therapy- ultraviolet ras to get rid of lichen planus


Conclusion 


Lichen planus is an inflammatory, non-infectious, itchy rash that occurs on the arms and legs. It presents as small, bumpy, pink, or purple rashes. According to many experts, it is an autoimmune disease. However, it may occur due to viral infection, stress, allergens, and genetic tendency. But, it is not contagious. It does not spread through touch. Mostly it can be managed at home without any medical treatment. However, if it causes significant pain or itching, you may need medical treatment. 

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