Skip to main content
Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus causes itchy white patches on the vagina, penis or bottom (anus).

Symptoms of lichen sclerosus include itchy white patches around the genitals or anus that may bleed if scratched.

There's no cure for lichen sclerosus, but you can ease symptoms with prescription steroid cream.

It’s not clear what causes lichen sclerosus. It's not contagious or caused by poor hygiene.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of lichen sclerosus include itchy white patches around the genitals or anus that may bleed if scratched.

Check if you have lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus affects people of all ages, including children. But it's much more common in women over 50.

It causes patches on the skin that are usually:

The patches can appear anywhere, but most often are on the:

Read more on the NHS website.

There's no cure for lichen sclerosus, but you can ease symptoms with prescription steroid cream.

Medical treatments

Lichen sclerosus cannot be cured, but prescription steroid cream usually helps relieve the symptoms.

You may need to use the cream regularly for a few months to get your symptoms under control.

If your symptoms keep coming back, you may have to keep using it every now and again.

You can get more cream from a GP if you need it.

Self-care

To help stop your skin becoming irritated or damaged:


Do

  • wash with emollient soap substitutes instead of regular soap – ask a doctor or pharmacist about suitable products
  • gently dab your genitals dry after peeing
  • regularly apply a barrier cream or ointment, such as petroleum jelly, to affected areas
  • wear cotton or silk underwear
  • use vaginal lubricant if sex is uncomfortable

Don't

  • do not scratch or rub the affected skin
  • do not wear tight or restrictive clothes – women may find it helps to wear stockings rather than tights
  • do not wash your underwear with detergent – just use water

Read more on the NHS website.

It’s not clear what causes lichen sclerosus. It's not contagious or caused by poor hygiene.

Read more on the NHS website.