Many women with Lichen Sclerosus can have sex, and indeed regular sex is often recommended as without it, the introitus may close up. The use of dilators, vibrators and finger insertion is also encouraged for the same reason.
However, women with severe Lichen Sclerosus in the genitals may not be able to have sex. The disease can cause scars that narrow the vagina, while scarring of the clitoris can result in the inability to orgasm. Intercourse can be painful, because of the broken or ulcerated skin and can cause the patches to bleed. Many women will also be post-menopausal, so this can be doubly upsetting.
However, it is stressed, that although Lichen Sclerosis is a disabling disorder, it is very responsive to treatment, and intimacy can in many cases be successfully restored.
Doctors don't know the exact cause of Lichen Sclerosus, but it is classified as an auto-immune disease. It is thought that people may inherit the likelihood of getting the disease. Sometimes, Lichen Sclerosus appears on skin that has been damaged or scarred from some other previous injury.
Although no treatment is likely to reverse the symptoms of LS completely, the disease can usually be well controlled and the symptoms reduced with steroid application.
Women with Lichen Sclerosus usually develop small white spots and sometimes bruising on their vulva. Itchiness develops which can be severe. This itchiness tends to be worse at night and may disturb sleep. It has been described as "A Torment".
There may also be itchy spots on the skin around the anus.
Over time, the spots can spread and merge together to form large white plaques.
The skin of the vulva or anus may eventually turn very pale and shiny, and become fragile, thin and crinkly or scarred and thickened. Some patches of skin may become inflamed and raw, and may eventually split. Sore or cracked vulval skin is more prone to vaginal infections.
Without treatment, the skin of the vulva may scar and shrink over the following months or years. and can lead ultimately to the fusion of the labia.
Further complications can result in pain on passing urine, difficulty with childbirth and bowel movements.
There is a small increased risk of vulval cancer (estimated at 5%) and the value of regular self-examination cannot be over stressed. You can see how to do this here.
Lichen Sclerosus does not cause skin cancer, and the incidence of developing it is low, but it is advisable to have any changes checked by your doctor every 6 to 12 months.
The diagnosis can usually be made from the appearance of the condition. However, Lichen Sclerosus can resemble vitiligo (loss of skin colour) or Lichen Planus (which is more purple), so for a certain diagnosis a biopsy can be carried out and a small specimen of skin examined under the microscope. A blood test may also be carried out to check for thyroid disease and anaemia, as these may be more common in women with Lichen Sclerosus.
When your intimate areas are already sensitive, thin or sore, naturally you wish to avoid any product that will provoke stinging, that will interfere with your topical steroid treatment or further compromise your intimate comfort. The purity of Yes products means that you can use them safely and confidently.
Yes is the natural choice of intimate product for women and men who experience Lichen Sclerosus. Yes lubricants and intimate moisturisers are based on unique organic formulations, and are guaranteed to be pure and free from any known skin irritants. Yes protects, lubricates and rehydrates intimate tissues, and at their core the products use ingredients that have proven pedigree as skin foods. Yes products are safe for use with vaginal dilators.
The accepted treatment of Lichen Sclerosus is a topical steroid. While Yes lubricants and moisturisers have immense value as a complimentary addition to the LS "Tool Kit", they should not be regarded as a replacement for steroid creams.