Lichen Planus Treatment
Some of the most distressing and uncomfortable skin conditions can appear seemingly out of nowhere. If you’ve experienced an eruption of flat welts on your forearms, extremely brittle thinning nails (or nail loss), and lesions on the lining of your mouth, lichen planus could potentially be the cause.
IDI offers effective management solutions to patients suffering from lichen planus or a host of skin ailments. To discover the best treatment options for you, please contact our team for a comprehensive consultation.
What is Lichen Planus?
Although the symptoms can be highly troubling, lichen planus is not a dangerous medical condition. It is a fairly common disorder that causes the outbreak of itchy, inflamed, dark bumps all over the body, but it’s generally concentrated on the hands and arms. The welts can also appear on the mucus membranes inside the mouth and on the genitals.
Additional symptoms include:
- Blisters that form scabs
- White patches inside the mouth and on the tongue
- Thin, brittle nails and nail loss
- Hair loss
- Dark patches on the scalp
Lichen planus can have different triggers. It can occur due to a sudden immune overreaction. It can also flare up as a response to some medications and vaccines. However, it is also seen in patients with hepatitis C (HCV). While outbreaks can happen to anyone without warning, it is most often seen in adults middle-aged and older.
The condition often clears up on its own after a few weeks, but aggressive symptoms might require medical attention. Although it is not an inherently urgent disorder – apart from the physical discomfort and unsightly lesions – the symptoms can cause additional medical concerns. Outbreaks of welts in the esophagus can make swallowing difficult and painful. Untreated welts within the ear canal can damage hearing.
Lichen Planus Diagnosis
Your doctor will perform an in-depth consultation and review of your medical history. You will also have a physical examination and likely also undergo lab tests, including:
- Allergy tests
- Hepatitis C screening
The extent of the treatment will depend upon the severity of outbreaks as well as the likely triggers. Lichen planus associated with hepatitis C will require treatment of the underlying condition to effectively address symptoms. If you have eruptions inside the mouth, ear canal, or genitals, you may require long-term treatment strategies to minimize outbreaks and relieve existing inflammation. Eruptions within the ear canal will require monitoring to assure hearing isn’t put at risk.
If you’re experiencing a severe case, it is likely that you will be given a prescription for medications that regulate your immune response if an autoimmune disorder is diagnosed.
Treatments for mild or moderate outbreaks on the skin (cutaneous) might include:
- Topical corticosteroid treatment:This is the most common treatment for cutaneous lichen planus. It reduces inflammation and manages an overactive immune response.
- Phototherapy:This involves the introduction of ultraviolet B light to the outbreak site. It accelerates the production of vitamin D, mitigates inflammation, and slows the growth of new cells.
- Retinoids:Oral retinoids have been known to stabilize outbreaks, and they have achieved positive outcomes in patients for whom other therapies were not effective.
At IDI, we are proud to help patients overcome a wide spectrum of skin challenges. If you suspect you could be suffering from lichen planus or another skin disorder, please contact our helpful team to schedule an appointment today.