Lichen Simplex Chronicus: Is It Really Another Yeast Infection?

Lichen Simplex Chronicus(LSC) is a vulvar condition that is quite common and often misdiagnosed. With LSC, the vulva, or the skin around the vagina, becomes inflamed leading to intense, persistent itching and burning. Dr. Katherine Williams with the Southern Institute for Women’s Sexual Health specializes in treating vulvovaginal disorders and has helped many women resolve this stressful condition.

LSC can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, including: 
Heat Exposure
Sweat Retention
Menstrual Product Irritation
Excessive Use of Cleansers
Yeast Infections
Lichen Sclerosus
Parasitic Infection
Abnormal Tissue Growth

These factors can lead to irritation of the vulva, which can only be soothed with vigorous scratching. This begins the itch-scratch-itch cycle that results in thick, leathery skin, often on the same side as the patient’s dominant hand. And because it is often misdiagnosed as a simple yeast infection, the untreated condition persists, worsening the symptoms.

“By the time I see a patient with Lichen Simplex Chronicus they are often so desperate for relief that they have scratched to the point of breaking the skin. The concern then is a secondary infection that would need to be treated as well,” says Dr Williams.

Topical steroids and anti-itch remedies are most effective in treating this complex disorder; however, in severe cases, oral or injected steroids might be used. Often a sedative is prescribed at bedtime to promote a deep sleep to stop the uncontrollable scratching during the night. Patients are also instructed to avoid irritants to promote resolution and to avoid recurrence. Lichen Simplex Chronicus is an extremely stressful condition that can be effectively treated with proper diagnosis. Dr. Williams’ expertise in vulvar dermatologic conditions allows her patients to quickly and effectively find comfort and a cure. 

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