Lichen planus is an inflammatory condition that can affect your skin and mucous membranes. On the skin, lichen planus usually appears as purplish, often itchy, flat-topped bumps. In your mouth, vagina and other areas covered by a mucous membrane, lichen planus forms lacy white patches, sometimes with painful sores. Lichen planus occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks cells of the skin or mucous membranes. The reason for this abnormal immune response is unknown.
The cause of lichen planus is unknown, though strong evidence suggests that inflammation, controlled by the immune system, gives rise to the lesions. However, certain diseases, medical conditions or other factors may act as triggers of lichen planus in some people.
The possible triggers of lichen planus include:
- Hepatitis C infection
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Flu vaccine
- Certain pigments, chemicals and metals
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others)
- Certain medications for heart disease, high blood pressure or arthritis
The symptoms of lichen planus vary depending on the areas affected. Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Purplish, flat-topped bumps, most often on the inner forearm, wrist or ankle, but sometimes on the external genitals Itching
- Blisters that may break to form scabs or crusts
- White spots or patches in the mouth - inside the cheeks or on the gums, lips or tongue
- Painful oral or vaginal ulcers
- Hair loss and scalp discoloration
- Nail damage or loss
Lichen planus can be difficult to manage on the vulva and in the vagina, causing severe pain and sometimes leaving scars. Sexual dysfunction can become a long-term complication. There is some evidence that lichen planus may increase your risk of a skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma, though the risk is small.
Homoeopathy helps one to manage lichen planus without use of steroids. Homeopathy comes to the rescue of patients here since homeopathic treatment is safe, gentle and without any side effects. The medication targets the root of the ailment and thus the healing occurs at the level of the altered immunity.
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