What is Lichens Sclerosis?

By Dr. Aimee Anagnostos, PT, DPT on 1/16/2023


Painful patches of thin, white, delicate skin along the genital region? These are the symptoms of lichens sclerosis.

What is it?

Lichens sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It is not contagious, nor is it a sign of poor personal hygiene. The onset of these symptoms can present in small, pink/ white, bumps that gradually worsen if left untreated and can manifest into skin thinning, dryness, scarring, tightening. The direct cause is unknown but there are links to immune dysfunction, hormonal, environmental,and genetic factors.

  • One can be genetically predisposed to Lichens sclerosis and a trigger for gene expression can be injury or trauma to the affected area

  • It is also suggested that this is an autoimmune dysfunction in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue leading to such skin lesions

  • There is also a link to low estrogen and presence of Lichens sclerosis but it is unknown how strong the correlation may be

How is it treated?

Your doctor can prescribe topical corticosteroids, topical Calcineurin inhibitors, retinoids (derived from vitamin A).

Outside of pharmacological approaches, conservative care such as pelvic physical therapy may absolutely be appropriate! Pelvic therapists promote proper blood flow, increase tissue elasticity, decrease scar tissue, improve muscular strength and endurance, and aid in return to function. All these modalities can be used toward treating Lichens Sclerosis.

Due to the nature of the skin condition, people may experience scar tissue and tightness that limit the stretch of surrounding tissues.The condition can affect intimacy, bowel movements, and can even make wearing clothing very difficult. Our pelvic therapists understand the toll and difficulties from this lifelong disease. Our initial goal for you would be to decrease the already heightened central nervous system which is bombarded with pain, discomfort, and muscular guarding.

What to expect:

A thorough musculoskeletal exam is warranted. Here at Pelvic Health Physical Therapy, we examine your posture, walking pattern, spine, hips, and other involved structures to view the patient from a holistic standpoint. An external exam of the affected areas would help the provider evaluate tissue integrity, odor, presence of fibrotic tissue and scarring. An internal exam may be performed, given patient consent, with lubricant to assess pelvic and tone of pelvic floor muscles. Finally, given the objective and subjective information, a personalized treatment plan will be provided to guide your plan of care.

Please reach out to us here at the Pelvic Health Center in Madison, NJ to set up an evaluation & assessment! Feel free to call us 908-443-9880 or email us at

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