Lichen planus is an inflammatory condition triggered by the immune system which can affect skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes ( mouth, vagina etc). The exact cause of the immune system causing the condition is not known but it can occur after viral infection, allergen exposure, after stress or it could be due to family history as well. Sometimes lichen planus occurs along with other autoimmune diseases as well.
On skin lichen planus appears as purplish, flat topped rashes which are often very itchy. In mucous membranes areas like mouth and vagina, rashes appear as lacy white patches which are often sore. The condition is usually not serious unless it is painful with much itching. Lichen planus is not contagious.
As such there are no risk factors of development of lichen planus as it can occur at any age and can affect anyone but women are twice more susceptible to develop lichen planus and middle aged people are more likely to develop it.
It can be seen more in cases with viral infection (hepatitis C) , those who have history of allergen exposure (arsenic, gold, iodide compounds), due to stress or with family history of lichen planus, certain diuretics.
Lichen planus occurs when the immune system attacks the body cell so if you have any autoimmune disorder then you can develop lichen planus as well.
Lichen planus becomes troublesome when it involves much pain and itching. Sexual dysfunction occurs if lichen planus affects vulva and vagina as the area becomes painful and sensitive. Sometimes lichen planus can leave scar as well.
Hyperpigmentation may occur in some cases once the scar disappears.
Lichen planus may increase the risk of development of squamous cell carcinoma which is a type of skin cancer.
Depending on the area affected the presentation of lichen planus may vary: