Lichen Planus - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
It is a chronic inflammatory disease in which small, pink or purple spots appear and usually affecting the skin, the mouth, or sometimes both , the arms or legs. Lichen planus is a curious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes resulting in inflammation, itching, and distinctive skin lesions. It is characterized by small, purplish bumps or patches of skin having fine, gray lines on the surface.
It's not so harmful and may resolve with treatment, but can persist for months to years. Oral lichen planus usually clears within 18 months.
Causes of lichen planus:
The main causes of lichen planus are as:-
- The exact cause of lichen planus is unknown. However, you can't "catch" lichen planus from someone else or "give" it to someone else.
- The main causes of oral lichen planus include non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), iodides, tetracycline, hydrochlorothiazide, dental fillings containing mercury in the form of amalgam and rough fillings.
- Lichen planus is not caused by stress, but sometimes stress makes it worse.
- Hepatitis C virus may also cause the lichen planus. This virus can cause liver disease.
- Some medicines can cause lichen planus.
- To some extent, a weak immune reaction is also responsible of causing lichen planus.
- Lichen planus generally occurs at or after middle age. It is less common in children.
- Some allergic reaction pattern, particularly following exposure to dyes and color film developers may be a cause lichen planus
- Chemicals associated with development of lichen planus include gold , antibiotics, arsenic, chloroquine, quinacrine, quinidine, antimony, phenothiazines, diuretics such as chlorothiazide, and many others.
Symptoms of lichen planus:
The possible symptoms of lichen planus are as:-
- You may have the feeling of dry mouth.
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- The occurance of small pink or brown bumps are common during lichen planus.
- You may have the feeling of penile itching.
- Itching in the location of a lesion may occur.
- The nail abnormalities are also the main symptom of lichen planus.
- There will be painful mouth lesions.
- Symptoms of lichen planus may include: flat, purplish, pimple-like bumps mostly on the wrists, lower back, shins, and sometimes the genitals
- There may be scaly patches over the affected area.
- The mouth rash and ulcer may be seen in lichen planus.
- There will be blue areas inside cheeks and on the tongue.
- Hair loss may also occur.
Treatments of lichen planus:
The effective treatments for lichen's planus are:-
- Potent and ultrapotent topical steroids: Topical steroids such as clobetasol proprionate and betamethasone proprionate ointments are very effective treatment of lichen planus.
- Systemic steroids: Systemic steroids such as prednisone may be prescribed for a few weeks or longer. This will lessen the itch and often clear up the lichen planus completely.
- Bioplex is a non steroidal powder which you make up as a mouthwash in a quarter of a cup of warm water. Use it four times a day.
- Becotide spray is occasionally used for those areas of the mouth where it is difficult to reach with other remedies.
- The immune modulating drugs that inhibit calcineurin, tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream, may also be useful for oral and genital lichen planus.
- Topical corticosteroids (such as triamcinolone acetonide cream) or oral corticosteroids (such as prednisone) may be used to reduce inflammation and suppress immune responses.
- Topical retinoic acid cream and other ointments or creams may reduce itching and inflammation and may aid healing.
- Ultraviolet light therapy may also be beneficial in some cases of lichen planus.