Lichen planus

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Human Skin with Lichen Planus Human Skin with Lichen Planus illustration Lichen planus stock illustrations

Lichen planus is a medical skin condition that leads to swelling and irritation in the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. Lichen planus usually appears on the skin as purplish, itchy, flat bumps, which develop over several weeks. These bumps also occur in your mouth, vagina, and other areas covered by a mucous membrane. Lichen planus makes lacy white patches, sometimes with painful sores.

Most people generally manage lichen planus with mild cases at home, without any medical care. If this condition causes pain and significant itchiness, one needs to take the help of medical care.

However, lichen planus isn't contagious.

Symptoms of Lichen planus 
The signs and symptoms of lichen planus can vary and depend on affected areas. The common signs and symptoms of lichen planus include:

  • Purplish, flat bumps
  • Itching
  • Blisters that break to form scabs or crusts
  • Lacy white patches in the mouth or on the lips or tongue
  • Painful sores in the mouth or vagina
  • Hair loss
  • Change in scalp color
  • Nail damage or loss

When you consult a doctor
You may consult a doctor if you find small bumps or rash-like conditions on your skin without any apparent reason, such as allergic reaction or contact with poison ivy. Also, visit a doctor if you experience any sign or symptom associated with lichen planus of the mouth, genitals, scalp, or nails.

Causes of Lichen planus
Lichen planus develops when your immune system attacks healthy tissues of the skin or mucous membranes. Although it's unclear why this abnormal immune response happens. The condition isn't contagious.

The following factors can trigger lichen planus:

  • Hepatitis C infection
  • Flu vaccine
  • Certain pigments, chemicals, and metals
  • Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others)
  • Certain medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, or arthritis

Risk Factors
It can develop anyone. But middle-aged adults may get affected most often. Middle-aged women are likely to develop oral lichen planus most often.

Complications
Lichen planus may be hard to manage if it occurs in the vulva or vagina. It causes severe pain and sometimes leaves scars also. Sexual dysfunction also becomes a long-term complication. When you develop oral sores, you will be unable to eat. Affected areas also become darker even after the rash clears up, especially with dark-skinned people.

People with oral lichen planus may increase the risk of oral cancer. If left untreated, lichen planus of the ear canal can lead to hearing loss.

Diet with Lichen Planus
If you're suffering from this condition, you must focus on a healthy diet, and you should also avoid some foods.

  • Eat vitamin B-rich food, such as green vegetables, sesame seeds, pulses, and whole grains.
  • Including vitamin A-rich food like yellow-orange fruits, vegetables, cereals, fortified foods can help.
  • Cod liver oil supplements containing Vitamin A and D are also beneficial.
  • Add Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for your skin, such as flaxseed, olive oil, walnuts, corn.
  • Green tea is a fantastic antioxidant, which can help in an autoimmune disorder like Lichen Planus.
  • Folic acid-rich foods like green vegetables protect from dry skin.
  • Add low skimmed yogurt to your diet.
  • Eat soft and bland mouth in case of oral lichen planus.
  • Turmeric, garlic, onions, basil, thyme, oregano, fenugreek helps in improving immunity.
  • Drink adequate water to maintain good hydration.
  • Avoid excess salt, sugar, refined foods, artificial foods, preservatives.
  • Don't include yeast, sour and acidic foods, vinegar, tamarind, refined flours in your diet.
  • Avoid foods that can lead to an allergy. Common foods are known to cause allergies are soy products, peanuts, hazelnuts, eggs.
  • Also, avoid spinach, raw and cooked
  • Don't eat dried fruits and canned pineapple
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