Lichen planus is inflammation with a mild and severe occurrence that affects the skin and other mucous membranes. When symptomatic, the site is itchy with flat top bumps and white patches in the mucosal membrane, often accompanied by soreness. In severe form, the itchy feeling can worsen and damage the epidermal surface. This severe form is known as Erosive Lichen Planus. Ever heard of Lichen Planus and not Erosive Lichen Planus? Here is all you need to know.
Erosive Lichen planus is a Lichen planus that affects the mucosal membrane. It is also therefore known as Mucosal Lichen planus. It involves the oral cavity and genital areas in severity and nature. This condition often leads to ulceration, scarring, and possible discharge. It affects mainly adults and women. It is a persistent and painful variant. For example, when it occurs in the vulva, it is known as a vulvovaginal gingival syndrome. The equivalence in men is known as Peno-gingival syndrome, a rare form. It is known to last longer than the average Lichen. This could be for a lifetime or between 15 to 20 years.
It appears as oral erosive lichen planus- it is larger than the regular oral Lichen, more painful, and irregular. It affects places such as the esophageal, gum, and either side of the inner cheek. The severity of this variant is ulceration and scarring, which makes eating difficult. This would invariably lead to weight loss in many affected. In addition, people who suffer from oral erosive Lichen tend to develop desquamative gingivitis- a disorder that leads to the ulceration of the gum.
If Erosive Lichen isn’t attended to on time, it can introduce other fungi, bacteria, or viral infections. In addition, infection like staphylococcus aureus, herpes simplex, cancer often accompanies erosive variants whenever it is left unchecked.
By the mere appearance of this particular condition, coupled with its symptoms, it is easy to identify an erosive form of lichen planus. However, doctor consultation for a biopsy test is necessary to precisely detect the condition of the affected areas and rate of spread. Lichen planus can be easily confused with lichen sclerosis bearing similar symptoms. The difference is in mucosal disease that doesn’t only act as a differentiating factor but leads to change in the architectural nature of the site affected. A histopathology test will further help to tell the association of the epidermis with the deformed mucosal layer.
Risk factors generally bear correlation with the incidence of infection and might not be a causal factor. The risk factor for mucosal Lichen planus is age and gender, as they affect all races and colors. Adults between the age of 40-70 years are more likely to be affected. A study also suggests that women are twice more likely to be affected than men, and children are rarely affected. Generally, anyone with a weakened immune system is at risk of contracting erosive lichen planus. People with unhealthy practices like smoking and alcohol consumption are more likely to experience this condition.
Erosive Lichen is classified as an autoimmune disease affecting the T-cells with destructive characteristics of idiopathic nature. The T-lymphocytes that usually protect the body begin to attack the cutaneous and mucosal layer of the affected areas. The epidermal cells affected are traditionally the buccal cell membrane.
Since the cause is yet to be unmasked, it is nearly impossible to tell what can completely prevent the appearance or formation of lichen planus. Practice personal hygiene, visit a doctor or a specialist like a dentist for regular checkups, and avoid food that could leave the mouth sore. Washing the genital area with fewer chemicals and moisturizing with non-irritating emollient or essential oils are some general measures that can help to prevent an incidence of Erosive Lichen.
If it is in its mild form, it usually disappears on its own. But if it’s severe, it is stubborn to treat. The first line of action in treatment is, therefore, how to reduce it to a calm state to improve the living condition of the patient. Erosive mucosal lichen planus has no cure but can be treated. When it heals, it leaves scars and darker forms of skin on the affected persons. A doctor is in the best position to outline the best healing procedure. Some of the treatment procedures include:
Most lichen Planus exist in mild form, in cases where the infection seems to be severe, early visit to the doctor would prevent a rampage on body cells and tissue.