What is Lichen Planus?
Dr. Nagesh T.S
Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru Jan 3, 2018
It is a skin rash that is triggered by the immune system. It is due to inflammation of the skin mucous membranes. It usually appears as, itchy, flat-topped bumps, developing over several weeks. In the mouth, vagina and other areas covered by a mucous membrane, lichen planus forms lacy white patches, sometimes with painful sores.
Lichen planus has been sometimes found to be associated with hepatitis C virus infection, but not always.
The causes are still unknown. Patients with extensive lichen planus seem to be more likely to have a hepatitis C virus infection of the liver.
Some drugs produce an eruption which appears identical to lichen planus. Lichen planus can be part of Grinspan's syndrome - a syndrome characterized by hypertension, diabetes, and oral lichen planus. It is caused by some chemicals used in color photographic development and lichen planus. It can be caused by Flu vaccine.
• The rash appears abruptly and usually lasts for several months.
• There are clumps or patterns of shiny, raised, red/pink/purple, flat-topped papules (bumps).
• Papules are approximately 3-5 millimeters in diameter.
• Sometimes there are white streaks on the papules, called Wickham's striae.
• Intense itching, especially at night.
• Nail damage or loss
• Painful oral or vaginal ulcers
• It can be diagnosed by simply looking at the rash. A skin biopsy may be done to help confirm the diagnosis because, under the microscope, lichen planus is distinctive in appearance.
• Hepatitis C test
Lichen planus is a self-limited disease that usually resolves within 8-12 months. Mild cases can be treated. More sensitive cases need more intensive therapy.
Most lichen planus is relatively mild and curable. There are some medications that treat the symptoms and some may even be able to target a possible underlying cause. There are several medications such as retinoid, corticosteroids, antihistamines, and light therapy.