Lichen sclerosus is a rare autoimmune inflammatory disease, also known as Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus.
It is a skin and mucosae condition that affects particularly the tissue of the genital area in men and women. However, lichen sclerosus in men, also known as male genital lichen sclerosus, will often affect the foreskin and tip of the penis. It can affect men and boys of any age.
The most common symptoms of lichen sclerosus in men are:
- Itchy foreskin
- Painful erections
- Cracked foreskin
- Narrowing of the meatus (urethral opening)
The cause of lichen sclerosus in men is not fully known, however, it is not sexually transmitted and it rarely occurs in men who have been circumcised at a young age. The affected skin can feel sore, itchy and burn after sexual intercourse.
It is believed that, for uncircumcised men, circumcision can be a solution for lichen sclerosis. Topical steroid ointments and and immunosuppressive medications are some of the options available to those who are already circumcised. In more serious cases surgery to remove the problematic skin may be suggested.Unfortunately, due to the rarity of this condition in men, treatment methods haven't been studied sufficiently yet.