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Leaflet: Lichen Sclerosus in children – Star Clinic

Lichen Sclerosusin children


What is it?

Lichen Sclerosus (LS) in children is an inflammatory condition which mainly affects the skin in the genital areas (vulva and penis). It is not an infection and is not contagious. The condition in children is very different the type of LS seen in adults. The cause is not fully understood but may be a form of an autoimmune disease, when the immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. If is more common in girls than boys. It is characterised by skin developing shiny white patches in affected areas.

Symptoms may include itchiness, small bruised areas, pain passing urine or stools and bleeding from scratching. It left untreated it may lead to narrowing of the opening to the vagina.

What treatments can we use?

The most successful treatment for LS is usually steroid cream. We recommend for a flare-up using a potent steroid cream called Clobetasol (Dermovate). This will reduce inflammation so it will be less sore and itchy. Treatment will need to be given for several weeks for it to successfully treat your child’s symptoms. It is perfectly safe to use on the genital skin as long as you follow the guidance below.

For minor flares your doctor may recommend using a less potent steroid cream such as 0.025% betnovate RD or hydrocortisone 1%. They will discuss this with you when your child is seen in clinic.

If symptoms get worse on treatment it is worth seeing the GP to make sure there is not another cause such as infection or whether the strength of the steroid ointment needs to be changed.

What is the long term outlook?

Once a child has had LS they are prone to flares up so treatment may need to be repeated. Most children have complete resolution of their symptoms when they go through puberty.

What can I do to help?

Anything that will irritate the skin may make the condition worse.

Avoid soap/bubble baths. Can use emollient creams/bath oil instead such as Oilatum.

Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight fitting clothing.

How to contact us:

STAR Administrator

Ruth Oakley

Eastgate House

Unit 9, Eastgate Office Park

Eastgate Road

Bristol, BS5 6XX

Tel: 0117 3408063


Date of creation: January 2018
Date of review: January 2020
URN: 469